I suppose in some ways my Crowe MacKay journey started before I was born. Back in 1969 when Iain started the firm in Whitehorse one of the first partners was another young fellow, Brian Beecham.
Brian Beecham moved down to Vancouver when the firm expanded and was a partner in the Vancouver office until 1975 when he left the firm to move himself and his young family up to the Sunshine Coast where he joined an established accountant on the Coast and started practicing here.
Brian had two children who were friends of mine in high school.
Fast forward to 1992 and I was now in the CA Co-op program at SFU. I always thought that I might want to be back on the Sunshine Coast at some point and so chose to take a position with Chamber Phillips, a medium-sized firm whose clients were more like what was on the Sunshine Coast then at the big four. Peter Busch and Jack Arnold were partner there and Matthew So was a tax manager.
Chamber Phillips merged with MacKay & Partners in 1996 and we all moved to the office on Hornby Street, and so I spent a number of years working there (along with a fair bit of time at Panama Jacks).
I finished up the program and got my designation in 1997 and stayed with the firm, moving up to a manager position working with Jack Arnold. In 1997 I also moved back to the Sunshine Coast and commuted into Vancouver to work.
In about 1999 Jack was moving out to the Surrey office and the partners wanted me to go with him out there, and so after I convinced Hugh Livingstone to lease me a car, I agreed to go out to Surrey and continue to commute to work with Jack and some of the other students out there including Bill Gill.
In January of 2002 I left the firm and went into partnership with a CA who had an established practice on the Sunshine Coast, Brian Beecham, where my young family and i already lived. Brian knew me through his kids (albeit as a smartass teenager) but was able to call his old partner Iain MacKay to get the low-down on me.
When I joined Brian, there were four of us in one small office in Sechelt and over the next 17 years, we grew the practice to what became TCG Chartered Professional Accountants LLP with three locations on the Coast and about 25 people including my other partners, Rob, Lisa, and Kristine.
I always had clients in Vancouver and continued to come into the city periodically and used office space in the Crowe MacKay Vancouver location, prompting Peter Busch’s suspicions that I was only there to steal office supplies.
In contemplating the merger with Crowe MacKay LLP, one of the things I did was to talk to one of my larger clients who had some inside knowledge and gave me the low-down on the firm. That client is Iain MacKay, who I had been working with since he had retired from the firm.
In January of 2019, our firm merged with Crowe MacKay LLP, bringing me full circle to where it all began. It feels good to be back.
Partner, Sunshine Coast