Local accounting firm merges with Calgary-based group

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David Sali
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One of the city’s largest independent accounting firms is set to join forces with Canada’s fastest-growing national firm in a deal the local company says will “shake up” the Ottawa market.

Doug McLarty

Calgary-based MNP LLP, which employs more than 3,000 people in offices from Victoria to Montreal, announced late Tuesday it is merging with McLarty & Co., a local mid-market firm that currently has about 30 employees at its office on Richmond Road.

Under the merger, which takes effect Nov. 1, McLarty & Co. will take the MNP name. McLarty co-founders Doug McLarty and Lynn Honsberger will become partners in MNP. No other terms of the deal were announced.

Mr. McLarty said his firm has turned down overtures from other potential merger partners in the past. But with his company looking to expand its services and MNP seeking to gain a foothold in the Ottawa market, he said the two sides quickly came to terms after initial talks about a deal in June.

“We’ve been approached by everybody, and nothing kind of made sense to us,” he said. “But this one is a perfect fit for us. These guys are very entrepreneurial, they’re mid-market, they’re very independent and it’s just a perfect fit for us culture-wise, which is very important.”

Sean Wallace, MNP’s executive vice-president for Ontario and Quebec, said the national firm was looking to break into the Ottawa market and McLarty & Co. provided the right opportunity.

“One of the things that we hold very close to us is our culture and our values,” he said. “With Doug and Lynn, it was very clear very early that their vision and our vision were very aligned. Their culture and our culture were very aligned.”

MNP and McLarty also share a similar group of clients, Mr. McLarty said, and MNP will bring a level of expertise the local firm didn’t have before.

“We have some common niches in Ontario,” he said. “We have a fair amount of car dealerships, professionals, construction and real estate, health care professionals. All of those areas, they’re very strong in. It’s an added bonus for us because now we get more critical mass in those niche markets that are important to the firm and we have more resources devoted to and understanding those niche markets.”

MNP’s experience in areas such as forensics, evaluations, appraisals, insolvency, succession and transition planning and U.S. tax law will provide a wider range of services for customers, said Mr. McLarty, who will focus on business development.

“Even though we’re mid-market, we have some very large clients and they need all of these services at various times,” he said. “We had a client who called us six weeks ago and said, ‘I’m going to sell my business.’ At that point, they had the services of a national firm … and they said, ‘Would you like to have the opportunity to put a package together?’ So I brought in the MNP people from Toronto and the client liked them and we’re doing the work.”

The sixth-largest public accounting firm in Canada, MNP posted revenue gains of 13.3 per cent in 2013, tops in its field.

The company has also been recognized as one of the country’s 50 Best Employers by HR firm AON Hewitt for six consecutive years. Mr. McLarty’s said MNP’s reputation for caring about its employees and clients played a major part in the decision to merge.

“What you see is what you get,” he said. “They’re very team-oriented. Everybody across the country is motivated to help each other.”

Mr. Wallace said the firm expects to see “significant growth over the next two to four years” at the Ottawa office, which will continue to be located on Richmond Road.

Organizations: MNP LLP

Geographic location: Ottawa, Richmond Road, Calgary Victoria Montreal Ontario Quebec U.S. Toronto Canada

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  • Richard Quigley
    September 05, 2014 - 10:22

    Congratulations Doug and Lynn. I think this is a great fit for your firm.