About: Firm History

Crowe BGK traces its roots back to 1950 when Bill Weinstein, Lester Fox, and Lawrence Bessner opened an accounting practice on Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal.

While Weinstein and Fox ran the practice, Bessner was heavily involved in the community including many years spent as a professor in accounting and tax at Loyola College (now Concordia University). The key success factors of the firm were the professionalism, service excellence and integrity that were deeply instilled in the three founders.

As their practice grew, the founders came to believe that the best hiring strategy was to seek out accounting students in university and to groom and train them from the ground up. This led to the hiring of Ronald Gallay and, soon after, of Frank Schapira who went on to become the first managing partner of the firm. He was instrumental in hiring Abbey Kreisman, a key seasoned practitioner, who ultimately became the firm’s second managing partner in 1989 and went on to hold the position for 15 years.

The addition of such key individuals to the firm prompted several name changes from Weinstein, Fox & Bessner to Weinstein Bessner Gallay, then Bessner Gallay Schapira Kreisman and more recently to Bessner Gallay Kreisman. In 2015 Bessner Gallay Kreisman became Crowe BGK as part of their independent affiliation with Crowe Horwath International.

Under the steady guidance of Abbey Kreisman, the firm took shape both in client growth and the variety of services offered and industries served. Abbey explored key merger opportunities that would strengthen and evolve the practice. The first took place in 1999 when the firm Benjamin Kaplan along with David Lesser brought their practices on board. Then came the addition of Derek Silverman and his practice in 2001. Abbey was instrumental in the 1989 hiring of Louis Ruta, who went on to become the firm’s third managing partner from 2004 to 2014.

Louis’s tenure saw significant change and growth at Crowe BGK:

  • the firm’s move to its current location on Sainte-Catherine Street West in Montreal,
  • three important mergers—the practice of Michael McCrann and Clifford Herer in 2005, creating an office in Ottawa, Ontario; Jack Altman and his practice in 2007; and in 2009 Cogan and Associates, also in Ottawa,
  • the creation of several specialised niche services to further support the growing needs of clients and the business community;
  • the successful transition to the next generation of partners, and
  • defining and shaping the mission, vision and values of the firm.

In 2014 Crowe BGK welcomed its fourth and current managing partner, Brian Kreisman. Brian, following in the footsteps of his father Abbey, joined the firm in 1990 as an accounting student and has spent his entire career at the firm.

With 23 partners and over 100 employees, Crowe BGK has seen steady growth and increasing success over its seven decades. It has become distinguished in the local accounting landscape by being forward thinking, by attracting younger people to ensure the continuity of the firm from generation to generation, and by striving to adhere to the founding partners’ core principles—professionalism, service excellence and integrity.

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