You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for recommendations for the top accounting firms in Vancouver. We’re CPAs ourselves. We know the industry. We’ve trained accountants at many of these firms as part of our CPA training courses that we’ve offered, or in accounting conferences. We’ve worked and collaborated with many others at many different companies.
As business owners, whenever we see a top 10 list we always wonder what are the criteria for being in the top 10. Is it the biggest, the best, the most progressive? Before choosing an accounting firm, think about what you value the most. I’ve tried to break down my list of top accounting companies into different categories as that might help – but then I ended up with more than 10. Sorry.
Biggest accounting firms in Vancouver
The biggest accounting firms in Vancouver are as follows:
- KPMG: with 12 locations in BC, and 1200+ accountants, KPMG is the largest accounting firm in Vancouver
- Deloitte: although Deloitte only has two locations and 500 or so accountants in BC, it has the second largest number of employees of any accounting firm in BC. Deloitte has a strong technology division and we’ve worked with their auditors on two continents.
- MNP: out of the top 5, this firm has the largest number of locations at 23. We’ve worked with MNP briefly on a technology selection project, and they follow a strong process in our opinion. Of the top 5, they have the second highest number of accountants in BC.
- BDO: an international network of accounting firms, the fifth largest in the world, and the 4th largest in Vancouver
- PwC: rounding out the top 5, PwC is approximately half the size of the largest firm.
Big 4 firms
Traditionally, the ‘Big 4’ accounting companies in Canada are Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst and Young, and PwC. You’ll notice that Ernst and Young doesn’t rank in the top 5 in Vancouver, however.
Mid size accounting firms in Vancouver
If you’re looking for a ‘big firm’ feel, but want to know that the senior leadership knows and cares about serving clients in Vancouver then a mid-size firm might be for you. These firms typically employ 50 to 250 employees including their financial accountant team. Here are the mid-tier accounting companies for Vancouver:
- Manning Elliot – we have known one of the partners there for years and have collaborated well in the past around advanced tax planning matters. They also offer review engagements and audits for public companies. Offices in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Surrey and Burnaby BC
- Grant Thornton – although technically they’d be in the large-firm category, I think their presence in Vancouver is mid-sized. I’m including them here because we’ve always had a great experience collaborating with them, particularly on cross border tax compliance.
- Smythe Company LLP
- D&H Group
Startup Accounting Firms and Small-Business Accounting Firms
If you’ve got a small business or a startup, you’re likely to be best served by a boutique accounting firm. This kind of firm typically employs 10-50 staff, and the best firms are focused almost exclusively on one or two industry niches. That way they can offer a depth of industry expertise and responsiveness that a big firm can’t match, while still providing a wide range of services. Here are our recommendations for the top boutique firms in Vancouver:
- Entreflow – specialised in tech-forward startups and high-growth companies, Entreflow is a local Vancouver accounting firm that offers CFO Services, Accounting Services, HR and Recruitment Services for startups and mid-sized companies in tech, manufacturing and services. Entreflow is a Chartered Professional accountants firm.
- Puffin – founded by a former Entreflow employee (go Marina!) Puffin has focused on construction industry bookkeeping, and automating the process as much as possible.
- Malaspina – a boutique firm offering accounting and advisory services to the Mining industry, particularly for early stage development companies.
- The Fifteen Group – a consulting firm focused on restaurant and hospitality businesses, offering specialized accounting/bookkeeping services as part of a full suite of services covering everything from brand design, to menu, to operations.
Tips for finding accountants for your business
What you value. Think about what you value before beginning your search:
- Fee structure (flat fee, hourly)
- Breadth of service vs. depth of service. There’s a balance here. Lots of experts with narrow focus is great but requires more coordination. Can you cover enough of your needs with a few people?
- Industry expertise – how much do you have to explain?
- Scale – do they work with large companies? Small businesses? Startups? Don’t try to buy a speed boat from a firm that builds supertankers, or one that builds canoes.
Spend time on the search. Talk to several firms. Find one that you connect with well, and find a way to try them out before committing to what might be a very long term relationship.
Future services needs. Think about what services your business might need now and in the next few years. You will certainly need business taxes and personal tax returns for the founders, but accounting tax isn’t the only value your CPA firm can provide. Look for a firm that can legitimately offer advice to your type and scale of business.
Tech stack. Look for a firm with experience using your operational and accounting softwares.
Good luck finding the right firm for you.