The history of a small town accounting firm cannot be separated from that of the professional partners who founded it, operated and grew with it.
The founding partner of the firm was Ted Bobb, who, in September of 1967, began working towards his CGA designation with the local firm of Carl M. Spicer. The firm was located next door to the Royal Bank. During the early 1970s, the firm went through a number of name changes.
In September of 1972, upon receiving his CGA designation, Ted Bobb became a full partner in the firm that, for the next 25 years, included his surname in its business name. The turbulence of the late 1970s saw the firm change not only names but also partners, until the late spring of 1978 when it was relocated to 4th Avenue and became known as E.D. Bobb, Certified General Accountant.
Willy VanderGaag, who was born and raised in Smithers, graduated from Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School in 1979 and became a summer student employee with E.D. Bobb, CGA. That September, Willy was enrolled in the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), where he received a diploma in business administration in 1981. Upon returning to the beautiful Bulkley Valley, Willy became a full-time employee with the firm of E.D. Bobb, CA, which had moved in March to larger premises in the new building above the Macleod Store on 3rd Avenue. Willy subsequently received his CGA designation in March of 1986.
By 1987, Willy was desirous of becoming a partner in the firm and in July of 1987, the firm’s name changed to Bobb & VanderGaag, CGAs and continued to operate out of the premises on 3rd Avenue.
John Bakker, who was also born and raised in Smithers, graduated from Smithers Senior Secondary School in 1972 and enrolled in Simon Fraser University. In the spring of 1976, John obtained a BA in commerce and soon thereafter began articling with a firm in Prince George. After a few years on the CA program, John returned to Smithers to commence employment with the firm of E.D. Bobb, CGA.
John received his CGA designation in 1982 and in 1986, wanting to try industry, went to work for the All West Glass group of companies until 1995, when the pull of public practice brought him back to the firm, Bobb & VanderGaag, CGAs.
On January 2, 1997, Willy and John acquired Ted Bobb’s interest in the firm and he retired. The firm remained known as Bobb & VanderGaag, CGAs and continued to be housed in the same premises on 3rd Avenue.
In 2002, Willy and John secured their own ground floor premises in a well-appointed alpine themed building on Main Street across from where Wall’s Home Furnishing operated for decades. With the move to Main Street, the firm name became VanderGaag & Bakker, CGAs. VanderGaag & Bakker CPAs have always enjoyed having a very experienced staff to provide professional services to their clients.
Greg VanderGaag, son of Willy, graduated from Bulkley Valley Christian High School in June 2001 and began the Financial Management diploma program at British Columbia Institute of Technology in September 2001. Once graduating from BCIT, in May 2003, he began working at Windsor Building Supplies head office, in Surrey, BC, in their accounting department as an assistant to the controller.
Greg decided to make the switch to public practice in June of 2005 when he started working at Grant Thornton LLP, a large international accounting firm, at their Langley, BC location. While articling there he completed his BBA in October 2009 through correspondence with Thompson Rivers University and went on to earn his CA designation in December 2010.
An opportunity arose at VanderGaag & Bakker in August of 2013, at which time Greg moved him and his wife, Lynette, and their two kids to Smithers.
On January 1, 2016, Greg acquired John's interest in the firm which continues to operate as VanderGaag & Bakker, CPAs.
CPA, CGA, CFP