Anti-money laundering pioneers SmartSearch have moved into brand new offices following a rapid expansion.
SmartSearch’s world-leading Anti-Money Laundering (AML) verification platform is used by more than 3,000 businesses across the world.
Last month, the company was named one of Yorkshire's fastest growing businesses following a 150% increase in pre-tax profits in just a year.
As a result of its success, staff numbers were rising too, and the company’s cramped offices in Guiseley just couldn’t keep up as Martin Cheek, MD of SmartSearch explains.
“We have increased staff from 7 to 90 and were in a situation where new starters were being shoehorned in. The lack of space was starting to affect productivity and morale.”
An internal project team was set up to address the issue, and it was decided that they would move into Mayfield House, a new build scheme in Ilkley.
“We needed to ensure that the new office would be able to accommodate our future expansion, but it also needed to enhance our culture and values, and give something back to our loyal staff,” said Martin.
So after a lengthy consultation process where they met with nine fit-out companies, SmartSearch chose to work with Opus 4.
“It was imperative that we found a partner who would make both a professional and emotional investment in our business,” said James Dobson, Marketing Director at SmartSearch, “And Opus 4 were the only people who fully understood how much our staff mean to us, and how important it is for us to provide them with an office that they want to come and work in every day.”
SmartSearch took two floors of Mayfield House, room for its 90 staff to eventually grow to 250. Work began on the project a year ago while the fit-out started in January.
The first floor has a social hub for staff to work and play in a relaxed atmosphere and includes a quiet lounge and a games area with game consoles, a pool table and table football.
The kitchen is all built around a central island and there are a range of different styles of meetings rooms and break out areas including high back acoustic sofas and railway carriage ‘pods’. SmartSearch has also installed a fully equipped gym. Upstairs is the reception, the boardroom, meeting rooms and a training room with a punch bag!
The fit-out project took 11 weeks to complete; staff moved in on March 26 and it is clear they are all absolutely blown away by the new office.
George Grant has been working at SmartSearch for 15 months, he said “You hear things about what they’re going to do, and they have actually done it! It is incredible.
He continues: “It was already a great place to work; you feel welcome from the moment you walk in, to the moment you walk out, and the new office has just made it even better. The investment they have made in this place to look after us, it is just a different world. I never want to work anywhere else, to be honest.”
Sales Executive Deborah Baynham agrees. She has worked for SmartSearch for 18 months and says it is “by far the best company I have ever worked for”, putting much of this down to the fact the directors actually listen to what their staff want and need.
“They listen to everybody,” she said. “They asked us eight months ago, ‘what would you like to see in the new office when you get there?’ and everybody has got an individual gift on their table.”
Shani Woodham who is a Finance Assistant adds: “You can’t believe they value us this much to give us this office. It’s just a great place to work, every day.”
SmartSearch says they always wanted the new office to be more than just a building. Being able to give something tangible back to the staff was always part of the plan.
“When I first walked through the new office, it was very emotional,” said John Dobson, Chairman of SmartSearch “and I thought about how far our business has evolved.
He concludes: “The purpose of investing in this new office was to leave a legacy by creating a workplace that would attract talent and push our business forward even further and now I know we’ve succeeded in achieving that.”