Grant Thornton expands into Saskatchewan with firm acquisition

09 January 2019 2 min. read
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Toronto-based Grant Thornton LLP has acquired Grayling Business Consulting, a boutique accounting and consulting firm based in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The transaction gives Grant Thornton its first office in the province.

Conceived in the home of Marlyn Phillips-Leson CPA, CGA and Tim Leson in 2013, Prince Albert–based Grayling has grown quickly in the past number of years to a team of 10 permanent staff and 5 seasonal employees.

Speaking to local publication paNOW, founder/owner Marlyn Phillips-Leson commented: “We knew we would grow. There was room for another CPA firm that would serve the smaller and medium sized businesses, as well as still serving their needs as large businesses, or help people who were wanting to get into business. Our goal is to serve them without the jargon, and to grow with them.”

Prince Albert, with a population of 35,926, is Saskatchewan’s third largest city, and is situated near the centre of the province. Known as the ‘Gateway of the North,’ the city is the last major population centre along the path to the province’s northern natural resources, which drive the mining (uranium, copper, gold, zinc) and forestry industries. (Note: Saskatchewan’s oil & gas reserves are mostly clustered along the border with Alberta, while its famed potash deposits are in the south of the province.)

Grant Thornton expands into Saskatchewan with firm acquisition

Prince Albert is also a major regional center for retail and services for a total trade area of 140,000 people. The Conference Board of Canada expects Saskatchewan’s GDP growth to pick up to 1.6% in 2019, building on a weak 0.5% growth rate in 2018. According to last month’s Conference Board report, job creation has remained a tough prospect in the province despite the commodity-fueled recession ending two years ago. Newfoundland is expected to see the strongest growth in 2019 (5.2%) on the back of offshore oil projects.

Grant Thornton LLP, one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in Canada, has now acquired Grayling Business Consulting, giving the 4000-person strong firm its first foothold in the prairie province. The Grayling team will be located at a new office at 321 Marquis Rd. in Prince Albert.

"The needs of businesses in Prince Albert are evolving, and so this union with Grant Thornton is an effort towards keeping a positive results-driven momentum going," remarked Phillips-Leson. "We are thrilled by the notion of taking our clients to the next level of success."

Commenting on the transaction, Grant Thornton’s Western Canada head Norm Raynard noted, “Uniting with Grayling symbolizes our commitment to growth, and serving our communities as we engage with dynamic businesses in Saskatchewan and across the nation.”

The deal follows the firm’s December acquisition of GTA-based GrowthPoint Advisory Services, a sales & marketing-focused consulting firm.