For the last few years, as the Big 4 national accounting firms sought out ever-bigger corporate clients, BDO Dunwoody and Grant Thornton have been the standard-bearers for small and mid-sized companies in Canada.
Now comes news that the two firms are talking about merging.
According to a press release today, "preliminary discussions between Grant Thornton LLP and BDO Dunwoody LLP have indicated potential opportunity for both organizations including their respective clients, employees and partners. Over the next several months, representatives from both organizations will engage in a due diligence process to further assess the merits of a combined organization."
A decision is expected some time in July.
Together with Quebec-based Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton (RCGT), Grant Thornton has 370 partners and 2900 employees in 99 offices across Canada. BDO has over 315 partners and 1900 employees in 95 offices.
Gilles Chaput, CEO of BDO Dunwoody, said, "A combined firm would have enhanced strength, capacity, depth, and market credibility to compete in marketplaces across Canada, while at the same time maintaining a strong position in the local communities throughout Canada."
Yes, we've seen all this before.
While a merger seems likely to reduce competition (and raise prices) at some levels, this should be a boon for independent accountants - who will have one fewer national brand with which to contend.