Employer Spotlight: ACL


CPABC’s CareerConnect Employer Partner, ACL; delivers technology solutions to transform audit and risk management in order to give organizations unprecedented control over their businesses. ACL has a global presence with offices in London, Singapore, and Vancouver. Their 275+ employees live by their core values of Disruptive Innovation, Authenticity, and Customer Intensity. We had a chance to ask ACL’s Employee Experience Manager, Martha Carscadden, what it is like to work at ACL.

goCPAbc:  Describe the corporate culture at ACL in five words or less.

ACL: Authentic, innovative, disruptive, fun.


goCPAbc:  What types of clients does ACL work with?

ACL: ACL has customers in 140 countries around the world, so needless to say our customers are pretty varied! We work with 89% of the Fortune 500 companies, and thousands of government and government agencies. Within our customers’ organizations, we typically work with the internal audit departments, governance, risk management, and compliance professionals with a variety of focuses including IT, Compliance and Legal, Accounting and Finance, and risk management.


goCPAbc:  What kind of experience would a student acquire working at ACL that they may not get elsewhere?

ACL: ACL is first and foremost a tech company. We build technology that is disrupting the Strategic Risk and Performance Management industry and we’re doing it from right here in Vancouver. Students who join ACL get the full-blown international HQ experience – our CEO and her executive team are all here and sitting in a cube just like you. ACLers get the chance to have an influence of how the business operates and get exposure to how business works on a global scale. And, of course, you have the opportunity to work closely with our Product teams! All of our Product Designers and Software Engineers are here in Vancouver as well, so you have a chance to see and participate in what we build.


goCPAbc:  Describe the composition of the accounting and finance team (i.e. positions) at ACL.

ACL: Our accounting and finance team is 17 people strong. Roles include Financial Analysts, Senior, Intermediate, and Junior Accounts, and Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable Specialists. And ACL, CPAs extend beyond the account and finance team! We also have CPAs in Consulting roles, working with our clients on their audit and GRC adoption projects, in Product Management and Design roles, working with our R&D team to plan and build our products, and in Sales, working with future and current customers to grow our the business.


goCPAbc:  What, in your view, is the single coolest thing about working at ACL?

ACL: That is a really hard question, but it might have to be the ACL Torino. In early 2016, ACL’s leadership team gifted a custom-wrapped 1972 Gran Torino Sport to the company’s employees to use as our “company car”. It grew out from a dare between our CEO and VP of Sales to sourcing the only available Gran Torino in Canada from a barn in Moosejaw, SK, towing it to Vancouver, completely refurbishing it, and styling it in the quintessential ACL purple. Any ACL can sign it out. It’s gone to recruitment and charity events, to church, to pick up family from the airport, to cruise to the beach at lunch, and to hand deliver offers to candidates! There’s no big metaphor behind why ACL has a custom Gran Torino – we just do! And it’s cool!


goCPAbc:  How does ACL support continuing education and professional development?

ACL: We are very committed to supporting our team in their education and professional development. ACL provides support in the form of educational bursaries (up to 100% the cost of a course), time off for study, funding for attending conferences and seminars, and reimbursement of professional association dues.


goCPAbc:  What is something fun your company has done in the past 12 months? (e.g., volunteered as a team, had a fun Christmas party).

ACL: Just one thing fun? Because we do a lot of fun things! We’ve hosted holiday parties at craft breweries, celebrated Chinese New Year with whole roast pig for lunch, held a massive open house in our brand HQ offices for employees and their families that included a bouncy castle inside the office, treated ourselves to a wine and cheese tasting party just for the fun it, taken part in a tech industry ping pong tournament called TechPong for charity, and danced the night away at our Great Gatsby themed gala to celebrate our fiscal year kick-off. And those are just things we’ve done all together. ACL’s team also hold fun social events for their members, like archery tag, bowling nights, and karaoke parties. As you can see, we’re big on fun.


goCPAbc:  Give me five qualities you look for in a CPA student interested in working for ACL.

ACL: We’re looking for people who want to strike out on a different path. When we’re looking at a candidate, we want to see that they are leaders, innovators, authentically themselves, engaged in their practice and community, and risk takers who are willing to take chances.


goCPAbc:  What value does a CPA or CPA student bring to ACL?

ACL: Our business is built around the idea that professionals like CPAs do not get the recognition they deserve for the value that they bring to their organizations. We want to make them the most sought after contributors at their companies, and to do that, we need to make them sought after at ACL. That’s all to say that we believe CPAs and CPA students are hugely valuable assets to any organization and especially to ACL because they are both part of how we run our business and part of how we grow it.


goCPAbc: If you could give students a glimpse into their future, what’s one thing you would tell them about what’s great about being a professional accountant?

ACL: There are so many opportunities available to CPAs. At ACL, we proud to be able to offer some unique careers paths, but we know we aren’t the only organization out there with amazing prospects for CPAs, so think the greatest thing about being a professional account is the ability to create your destiny!