After outgrowing several other spaces here and abroad, bookkeeping software company Bench finds a permanent home


The Danish word “hygge,” defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being,” made that institution’s Word of the Year shortlist in 2016. It inspired a small library of new books on cooking and home decor as well as a database of articles exploring why the Western world became obsessed with cardamom buns and sheepskin rugs. (Were we sheltering ourselves from the dread of the next U.S. president? Expressing the personal fear and isolation that Brexit wrote large?)

Pull Up A Chair

Pull Up a Chair: Lounge areas have residential-style seating, lowered ceilings and houseplants

So it’s not surprising that Bench Accounting, a fast-growing five-year-old Vancouver startup recently ranked as one of the country’s best workplaces for new university grads, is demonstrating that fashionable impulse to snuggle up. Its new 55,000-square-foot office, occupying three floors of Telus Garden facing Robson Street, makes bold statements with concrete floors and exposed ducts and piping, tempered with domestic touches like fireplaces and quilted cushions.

Stowed Seating

Stowed Seating: Benches line a wall next to the communal area, for use during companywide meetings, and serve as a subtle piece of branding

“What if you had a living room that could fit your whole company?” asks Evan Birch, a Bench accountant who worked with Perkins+Will Canada Architects on the design. “We’re a very mobile workforce, a lot of people work from home, and we wanted to make that as low-friction as that transition can be, as comfortable as a workplace can be.”

Outdoors In

Outdoors In: Telus Garden was designed by Henriquez Partners Architects. The fifth floor features a row of bonsai trees along the windows

The bookkeeping software company, co-founded by Vancouverites Ian Crosby, Jordan Menashy and Adam Saint, as well as Russian expat Pavel Rodionov, has occupied four office spaces since moving to Vancouver from New York in 2013.

Now employing 250, Bench recently joined forces with e-commerce giant Shopify, which offers Bench services to U.S. merchants through its own app store. Those  accomplishments, likely as much as the sectional couch, are bringing the company a feeling of contentment. But in its comfy new digs, Bench has lots of room to grow. “It’s kind of like, you go from your college dorm to your first real apartment, to leasing a space,” Birch says. “And now it’s like, ‘We bought a house, guys!’”

Picture This

Picture This: Tables topped with whiteboard material allow staff to sketch out their thoughts during impromptu meetings