Russell Bedford: Network development in Canada

March 2018

Having just returned from another network development trip in North America, Russell Bedford CEO, Stephen Hamlet’s experience of how business works in Canada was nothing but positive following a remarkable visit to Russell Bedford’s Montreal firm, FBL.


FBL is a full-service practice offering accounting and bookkeeping, auditing, corporate restructuring, tax compliance and consulting and management consulting services; the firm currently has eight offices across Québec. The company has 250 employees and 15 partners and two of the firm’s employees hold important positions within Russell Bedford, one as a representative on the tax committee and another who sits on the North American Board. Since 2013, FBL has achieved the highest growth rate in its field.

Meeting the team

On visiting FBL’s offices, Stephen was encouraged to witness a promising team of young and rising professionals who are extremely eager to take advantage of the global capabilities available to them via the Russell Bedford network.

During his visit, Stephen delivered presentations on the benefits of Russell Bedford membership, and shared examples of how individual partners and managers can make use of their membership and provide more value for their clients. The team also saw a special viewing of Russell Bedford’s latest corporate video.


Stephen enjoyed some interesting Q&A sessions where he learned about how FBL won business from Big 4 firms as a result of their Russell Bedford membership and global status. He also heard about how being associated with a leading global network of accountants and business consultants adds a lot of weight when competing for work locally. One employee said: “Our membership of Russell Bedford can be that extra selling point when talking to new clients; it’s often the hook that can give you the edge over a firm that only has a Canadian presence.”

Attracting talent

Global network membership is not only an asset when attracting new business; it can also be an appealing selling point for attracting and retaining talent. This was evident during Stephen’s visit where he had the chance to meet and talk to one FBL’s most recent recruits, a previous employee of a Big 4 firm, about what attracted them to FBL.

Russell Bedford’s secondment programme provides fantastic opportunities for member firm’s employees to travel while they work and learn. The programme allows employees the flexibility to work abroad for up to six months at a time – a highly attractive prospect for new graduates to gain experience in another jurisdiction, expand their linguistic skills and gain from the invaluable experience of living in another country.


The huge hospitality Stephen received from the whole team at FBL is a testament to the importance of culture and team spirit within the firm. Getting to know the team outside of the professional setting is just as important as the business meetings and Stephen was treated to some authentic Canadian hospitality and culture while attending a local ice hockey game followed by dinner and drinks in true Canadian style. A fantastic send off!


Marcel Bergeron, partner and principle RBI contact of FBL, said: “C’est magnifique! Russell Bedford has added great value to our growing practice and we have several examples as to where the network has been instrumental in achieving fantastic results for our clients and helped us obtain new clients. It was our pleasure to have Stephen Hamlet, the CEO, visit our office in Montreal and to share his vision for the future of not only the international network but of our profession at large.”

Russell Bedford is currently seeking more firms in Canada where the network looks to enhance representation in cities including Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

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