The Bench

Culture Guide

Welcome.

It's good to have you. Your character and talents have found a new home. There are a thousand other things you could have done, but you’re here with us. For that, thank you—it means a lot.

Culture is our sole technology for advancing what humans can do.

Culture is foundational to everything we do. It’s the sole thing that defines how we work together to achieve big, important things for the human race. This guide encapsulates our distinct culture. It captures what keeps us happy, healthy, and working well together to fulfill our purpose. Use it to do the best work of your life. Welcome. Let’s do big things.

What are we here for?

To bring financial mastery to a million people.

Bench solves a long-standing, universal pain point for business owners: bookkeeping. But our larger purpose expands beyond that. We’re here to help the most people in history understand what they want to do and where they want to go. To do that we have to make understanding finances simple, effortless, and affordable for everyone.

How do we do that?

By solving problems that have never been solved.

Bench is really just a group of people who have decided to work on things that haven’t been done before. That means there are problems we have to solve that haven’t been solved yet.

We don’t hire people and tell them what problems to solve. We look to one another to figure out what problems we should be working on that we haven’t thought of yet.

Be curious. Ask questions. Talk to anyone and everyone. Uncover the problems that you think matter. Bring people together to discuss them. Do the work, experiment, share early, share often, repeat, and do big things.

The five technologies we use.

At Bench, we’ve decided to play a game. That game is called “let’s bring financial mastery to a million people.” To help us fulfill our purpose and win that game, there are five primary technologies we use. These technologies aren’t complicated, but they’re essential to everything we do.

The five core technologies listed in this guide will help you to do your life’s work. They’re technologies that help us win the game we’ve decided to play, but that also create a culture where we can do what we want to do.

Use them to elevate your work and do great things.

Keep It Human

We retain a human approach in everything we do, at every level of the business. That includes how we interact with our clients, build product, and communicate with one another. Keeping it human means we practice empathy and understanding in every situation, in every direction.

Human beings are incredible, and also imperfect and messy. No one is a perfectly maintained business robot. There will be times where challenging conversations happen. That’s okay—in fact, it’s valuable. There will be times when you give or receive difficult feedback. Embrace it. And there will be times when clients or those around you are upset. These are all part of being human, and working at Bench. And when these things happen, practice empathy. Listen (like, really listen). Maintain compassion. Have open, real conversations. Celebrate the successes and breakthroughs that happen around you. Be curious, get excited, and generously share that infectious, incredible energy with others. Lift others up, and let them do the same for you. With every conversation you have, always keep it human.

Let this principle inform everything you read below.

Take a Stand

At Bench, our mission is to bring financial mastery to a million people. When you take a stand at Bench, you create a future for yourself within that mission that gets you fired up. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to fundamentally impact the lives of our clients? What is a future that is meaningful and inspiring to you? Create what that is. Take a stand for what you believe in, what you want to happen. Then, commit yourself to getting there. Embrace every setback, conversation, experience, and success as a means of making your stand happen. Take risks. Make your stand—what inspires you—known to others, and share that infectious energy with those around you. Make it happen through grit, scrappiness, and the support of those around you. Use it as a lens to inform your actions in the present. Let it act as a north star in times of uncertainty. And if you’re not sure what to stand for, talk to someone. No one can tell you what to stand for. But the people around can help you make that big picture a bit clearer.

Be Responsible

You have an incredible amount of freedom and autonomy at Bench. Being responsible at Bench is taking ownership of that freedom. Constraints at Bench exist—we are human, we are a company, we do not have unlimited money. But the possibilities for what you can achieve and create within those restraints is endless. At Bench, you will be supported by those around you. But it’s up to you to shape your Bench experience—to take ownership of what’s possible. Be proactive. Make your long term vision and ambitions known. Be responsible for your actions and words, and how those can impact the world around you. Be responsible for your own day-to-day commitments, but also the bigger picture: the promise we’ve made to our existing and future clients. And if something isn’t working for you, speak up. Take action—responsibility is accepting that you can face and remedy any situation. Be responsible, and empower yourself to build something great.

Default Open

We share information freely and openly, and we ensure that everyone can understand and use that information. No piece of data or information belongs to one person or team. If you don’t have access to something—ask for it. And if you get access to something but don’t understand it, ask questions. Get curious. Request the time you need from others to gain real clarity. Everyone at Bench has permission to openly share information and the reasoning behind their decisions. The same goes for senior leadership. You will never be punished for asking something at any level of the business. If there’s an uncomfortable question that no one’s asked—step forward.

But, one thing: default open does not equal absolute open. Some information can’t be shared. For example, client and employee information. If something can’t be answered, trust that it’s for the safety and well-being of someone else.

Get Scrappy

Scrappiness is our ability to make bold decisions quickly. Our ability to do incredible, creative things despite the constraints that exist. It is opting for action instead of getting blocked by bureaucratic processes or analysis paralysis. If you find something that needs doing, get scrappy—do the thing. Don’t wait for others to do it for you. Take action, and refuse to ever say “that’s not my job.” But do it responsibly (scrappiness does not equal recklessness, and it does not mean working yourself to the point of burnout). Bring others in to help identify blind spots. And if setbacks happen, don’t freak out. Failure provides insanely useful data and learnings. The worst thing you can do is not do something for fear of failure. Take risks. Swim outside your lane. Work beyond the org chart. Share your excitement and discovery with others. Get scrappy, and make incredible, company-wide things happen.

Let’s do big things.

The technologies and principles above exist to help you do your life’s work. Use them to nudge your accomplishments forward—and the human race with it.

Right now there are the fewest constraints on what’s possible in the history of the universe. Nothing has ever been as possible as it is in this very moment.

You are now at the forefront of what’s possible. So, if you’re ever unsure what to do next, remember why we’re here: to advance what humans can do.

Thank you for committing your true, talented self to that endeavour.

Now, let’s get to it.