June 15, 2021 by Mike McIsaac

Five in five with: Mike McIsaac

1. What’s your background?
My parents immigrated to Regina, Saskatchewan from Scotland in 1965 with my three siblings. After several cold winters I was born in 1969, but we packed up and moved to Vancouver in 1974 because my dad couldn’t last another cold winter! I love sports. I played basketball for Simon Fraser University and one season in the professional leagues in Europe. After graduating with a BA in economics, I turned to accounting to find a real job. I articled with BDO Dunwoody, continued with several small firms and built my specialization in corporate taxation, valuation, corporate structure and negotiations. I am a bit of a deal junky, which makes me a natural fit for mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance.

2. What keeps you busy outside the office?
I have three active teenagers. In a normal year, we race them between hockey rinks or to soccer fields or back and forth to their friends’ homes. During COVID, we have been skiing, mountain biking, fishing and camping – which has been fantastic. I also play competitive squash, enjoy golf and I love going to attend auctions in my spare time.

3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
In university I read Tony Robbins’s book Awaken the Giant Within and I took away one key quote: “It is in the moments of your decisions that your destiny is shaped.” Life gives us endless opportunities to make decisions and this determines our path. We make good and bad decisions, we make conscious and unconscious decisions and sometimes we make no decision at all. All those choices take us exactly where we are today.

4. In what ways do you serve as the reason your clients succeed?
Clients rely on our specialized transaction expertise, which is the accumulation of 25-plus years of public practice. This is a combination of taxation, accounting, valuation, corporate structure, finance, strategy and negotiations. Most entrepreneurs only exit their business once, and they rely on our experience and technical competence to sell what is likely their most valuable asset: their business. We believe in continual education and improvement of our processes. This ensures we are prepared to deliver the best results for our clients every time.

5. What industry issues keep you up at night?
Transactions rely on available and reasonably priced capital (i.e., loans or equity) to meet sellers’ valuation expectations. Public market swings and fluctuations in the cost of debt have woken me up many nights. We are usually under the gun to close a transaction against a deadline, sometimes before major changes in tax legislation. Tax changes impose a threat to closing as they can have a significant impact on net proceeds for business transactions. We act as counselors to our clients, as the selling of a business is highly emotional and can make them irrational as we near the finish line. There have been many nights that deal issues frustrated my sleep efforts, as my mind wrestles with a client or a deal problem. It should really be chargeable time! While this may cause stress, it is an important part of the challenge and excitement of my work.

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Meet the Author

Mike McIsaac Mike McIsaac
Corporate Finance
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