Firm founder, Iain MacKay (pronounced MacKi) emigrated from Scotland to Vancouver, Canada in 1964. He graduated in 1969 as a Chartered Accountant and shortly thereafter formed a partnership with CAs Holley and Naylor creating Naylor Holley MacKay.
From the beginning, Al Holley and Iain MacKay had the vision to grow into a Northern and Western Canadian regional firm, and the systems and procedures were implemented to enable this to happen.
Iain and Al started small and humble. They shared one client between the two of them, with Al bringing in $750 per month and Iain $600. But through their determination and perseverance, they continued to stay focused on the goal of growing their practice.
In 1970, a small practice came up for sale and Iain and Al decided to buy it. There was only one problem: they needed a $40,000 down payment, (and after pooling their resources they were still $40,000 short). So, they prepared a brief business plan and went off to see the bank manager at one of the Big Five banks. Iain and Al were feeling particularly proud that their business acumen, intelligence, and great promise had shone through enough for the bank manager to lend that much money to two accounting students with no track record. A month or so later they learned the bank manager had been fired … regardless, the firm was up and running.
It takes more than just building a clientele to establish a firm and succeed in serving communities for 50 years; this is where Iain MacKay differentiated the firm in the market. His belief in investing in people and communities is rooted in him, and as a result, became the foundation of the firm. During his 10 years living in Whitehorse, YT he was instrumental in founding the Yukon Institute of Chartered Accountants and was the first President of that Institute. He also served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce. And if that didn’t keep him busy enough, he found time to do a stint in politics as a member of the opposition in the Yukon Legislative Assembly — an experience Iain described as “interesting but frustrating.” But it would seem when Iain gets frustrated he moves, so back to Vancouver he went.
Not able to stay uninvolved for long, he engaged with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants serving on the National Standard Setting Body; served as a councillor on the Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia; was a Scout Leader; the treasurer for Minor Hockey; and served as the BC Liberals’ treasurer and finance chair. As if this participation was not enough he gave his time serving on the Board of St. Geroge’s School, including two years as the chairperson, and also served on the Board of the BC Cancer Agency and BC Cancer Foundation.
There is no doubt that Iain MacKay’s career has been marked with many milestones and successes, but some of his most notable include receiving an FCA by both the institutes of British Columbia and the Yukon, as well as being awarded the Queen’s Jubilee medal for “commendable service.”
Iain’s philosophy is clear – he trusts in people to do the right thing. He has never been misled on any of the deals he has made with his partners. “It is a testament of the integrity of our partners. Surprises have only been on the upside.”
From a team of two, in one Vancouver office, to now a team of 400 in nine offices across five provinces and territories, Iain MacKay has created a legacy and culture that has impacted clients and communities across the country.
1970 - Al Holley and Iain MacKay create their own practice Holley, MacKay & Co, and open their second office in Whitehorse, YT, through purchasing two thirds of Brian Beecham’s practice; Brian becomes the firm’s fourth partner.
1971 - Iain MacKay moves to Whitehorse, and spends the next 10 years in the Yukon. John Naylor retires, leaving Al Holley on his own in Vancouver.
1973 - The firm opens an office in the then booming, Fort St. John, BC.
1975 - Elgin Gomme becomes a partner in the Whitehorse office.
1976 - David Peachy joins the Vancouver office with his fellow partners. Brian Beecham moves from Whitehorse to Vancouver to assist Al Holley.
1977 - Partnership Agreement, which has since served as the foundation of the firm, is written and signed, providing a vision to become a Western Canadian firm. Al Holley retires and David Peachy takes over the Vancouver office as the Managing Director. The firm goes on to become MacKay Peachy & Co. An office is opened in Yellowknife, NT.
1978 - Mark Pike (Whitehorse, YT) joins the firm as an articling student in the Whitehorse office Elgin Gomme moves from Whitehorse, NT to Edmonton, AB to open an office. Brian Beechman leaves the firm to start his own practice on the Sunshine Coast in Sechelt, BC.
1979 - David Peachy leaves the firm.
1980 - The firm becomes MacKay & Partners. The 80’s were a turbulent time in Canada, and as a result the Fort St. John office closes.
1984 - Firm founder, Iain MacKay, is the firm’s first recipient of the Fellow of Chartered Accountant (FCA) designation (granted by the Yukon Institute). 1985 The firm opens a Penticton office.
1986 - The Iqaluit office is opened. The firm’s name changes to MacKay Landau.
1987 - A firm is purchased in Kelowna, BC, adding a sixth location to the firm. This is a major milestone for the firm, putting it in a larger local firm bracket with 50 staff. Don Turri (Kelowna, BC) and Don Smith (Edmonton, AB) join the partnership.
1990 - The 90’s brought a focus on internal systems and culture within the firm, as it continued to span across Northern and Western Canada. Iain MacKay is awarded the FCA designation by the BC Institute.
1991 - Offices in Surrey and Red Deer are opened.
1993 - The firm established the need for a focus on internal systems and culture, therefore electing Don Smith as the CEO to implement the improvements voted on by the Partnership.
1998 - The Vancouver completed two mergers and acquisitions.
1999 - The Red Deer, AB office closes.
2001 - The firm name changes to MacKay LLP. Through a merger, the Calgary, AB office is opened.
2003 - The Surrey office grows with the merger of Lake & Associates.
2007 - Garry Cook (Calgary, AB) is awarded the FCA designation.
2008 - Hugh Livingstone is elected CEO.
2010 - Don Turri (Kelowna, BC) is awarded the FCA designation.
2011 - The firm welcomes Murray Bye as the CEO.
2013 - Don Smith (Edmonton, AB) is awarded the FCA designation.
2014 - The firm joins Crowe Horwath International’s global network and becomes Crowe MacKay LLP. The firm also expands and opens an office in Regina. Iain MacKay is awarded the ICABC Lifetime Achievement. Jack Arnold (Surrey, BC) and Glen Berger (Regina, SK) become recipients of FCA Designation.
2016 - Crowe MacKay welcomes new CEO Bruce Picton. John Laratta (Yellowknife, NT) and Mark Pike (Whitehorse, YT) are awarded the FCPA designation.
2019 - Crowe MacKay celebrates 50 years. The firm grows to include Richard Wilson and his practice on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast — and this is where we come full circle. Richard started his career with the firm as a student in the Vancouver office in 1996, before moving to the Sunshine Coast to join Brian Beechman’s firm in 2002. Over the next 17 years, Richard worked with Brain to build the firm across the Sunshine Coast. Ken Laloge (Kelowna, BC) is awarded the FCPA designation.
Over 50 Years in Business
We have proudly served Northern and Western Canada for over 50 years. Thank you to all our clients and the communities we serve for your business and making Crowe MacKay the mid-size firm of choice.
Former Edmonton Managing Director reflects on his time at Crowe MacKay LLP.
Stefan Ferris, Vancouver Partner, believes it is our people that make us well positioned.
It's interesting to reflect on how we got to our 50th-year in business. Read about our history as it is played out in "The First 35 Years."