Having started with us over 20 years ago, Gordon Jessup is a partner and the leader of Fuller Landau’s flourishing Tax practice. He wears a number of hats in addition to partner, including head of our IT Steering Committee and Charity Committee, member of our Hamilton growth team and Food & Beverage niche group, and mentor to several team members.
With a quick wit and an easy smile, Gord’s corporate and personal tax expertise have proved invaluable to many of our clients, who search out his advice before making major business decisions.
We sat down with Gord to learn more about his approach to business, as well as his life outside of work.
Q: You’ve been with Fuller Landau since 1996, and a partner since 2003. How has Fuller Landau changed, since you started?
The industry, as a whole, has changed – especially because of technology. But throughout all this time, our clients and our team have always been a steady priority.
When I first joined Fuller Landau, we were a small firm but our goal was to grow and evolve to the point where we could offer our clients the full range of services that they need and value. Today, we are so much more than just an accounting firm, and I’m proud of what we have become.
Without a doubt, our greatest asset is our people, and we have a responsibility to them. Years ago, we started an annual team survey to get feedback on what works well, and what can be improved. We’ve implemented many suggestions along the way – like our monthly internal newsletter, FL Focus, to keep our team up-to-date on what’s happening at the firm, and more recently, the creation of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee. These changes may seem small or even insignificant at the time, but they’ve helped us continue to feel like a family, even though we’re not such a small firm anymore.
Q: Over the years, you have gained considerable experience with international tax and business. Was it always your goal to specialize as an expert in international tax matters?
I’d say it happened through circumstance. When I first started with Fuller Landau, there were only two of us in the tax department, and we didn’t have the range of expertise in-house that we have now. So, if a client needed help with an international or cross-border tax issue, we consulted with affiliated firms, through our network, to find the solution. In other words, we became international tax experts because our clients needed us to become international tax experts.
Today, more and more of our clients are expanding overseas or are foreign-owned entities that are establishing operations in Canada. We have a strong team of tax advisors at Fuller Landau that is fully equipped to help with all tax planning and compliance requirements for Canadian, cross-border, and international businesses.
Q: Given your expertise in working with international tax matters, do you have to travel often for business?
Thanks to teleconferencing technology and digital communication, I actually don’t have to travel for work as much as you would expect. Most of my interactions with my international clients are conducted remotely, which is much more convenient and cost-effective for everyone involved.
However, I do make a point of travelling to attend events held by the Leading Edge Alliance (LEA). It’s an international accounting and consulting association that holds regular conferences to help us stay current with the latest international business news and trends. The conferences are a great opportunity for me to share best practices and build relationships with the other member firms from around the world. We receive a number of referrals from these member firms, and when we refer international clients of our own, I know they are in good hands.
Q: You are a member of Fuller Landau’s Hamilton Growth Team. What exactly does that mean?
In July of 2016, we opened a second office by bringing on board a small practice out of Hamilton. I assisted with the integration of the team and helped them get set up with our systems and procedures so we can offer a consistent client experience through both locations. The Hamilton area is a great market and our Growth Team is working hard to further our reach within that community.
Q: And what is the IT Steering Committee?
The IT Steering Committee works with our internal IT department to ensure that we are on the forefront of technology, within our industry, and using it to best serve our clients and our team. I am in no way a ‘techie’, but I do have a keen interest in how firms use technology to improve processes and efficiencies, and enable staff to work remotely.
My time at the LEA conferences has allowed me to learn what other top firms around the world are doing, so I can bring that knowledge back to Fuller Landau.
Q: What motivates you to do so much for the firm?
First and foremost, I love what I do. I love being able to offer effective solutions for our clients, my partners, and our team. It’s rewarding to be able to provide something of value.
But as a partner, I am also a business owner. Growing the business and giving our next generation of leaders an opportunity to step up and contribute is important to me. I want to leave a strong firm for them when it is time for me to step aside.
Q: Do you pursue any hobbies, outside of the office?
From the many pictures and the two putters in my office, it’s easy to assume that everyone in the firm knows I am an avid golfer. I am at Wyndance most weekend mornings in the summer.
I also love to cook and get hands-on in the kitchen. I like to use a recipe as a starting point, and experiment with different ingredients to make it my own. My expertise is limited, though. While I’m confident in my skills as a chef, I cannot compete with my wife when it comes to baking. She is just too good.
Finally, I love travelling with my family, especially exploring Canada. We have visited 8 provinces so far. My son Nicholas is lobbying for us to visit Saskatchewan this summer, while my daughter Elizabeth is arguing hard to return to our favorite place in the world, Prince Edward Island.