Eighty-six Years of Excellence
For over eight decades, clients have relied on Windes & McClaughry for professional excellence, personalized client service, and valuable business solutions. Our present success, culture, and client service approach is shaped by the remarkable clients, leaders, and moments that color our past. As we look toward to a promising future, our history provides both a solid foundation and inspiration for continued growth and success.
Windes & McClaughry: Then and Now
In 1926, William Norment Windes established W.N. Windes, an accounting practice, on Pine Avenue in Long Beach. At the time Windes founded the firm, Long Beach was the fourth largest city in the state. A year after Windes established his tax practice, he was joined by Thomas B. Irvine, Attorney at Law. The firm flourished and survived the U.S. stock market crash of 1929, the Great Depression, and the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933 that devastated many businesses and individuals. Long Beach rebounded during the 1930s, largely due to the discovery of more oil and the expansion of the port. The firm’s clients mirrored the businesses active in the city and the region, including oil business, construction companies, and auto dealers. In 1938, the firm became Windes & Irvine.
In 1941, Paul McClaughry joined the firm. That same year, the United States entered World War II after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After World War II, both Long Beach and Windes & Irvine began to grow as the nation again turned its mind to business. Between 1940 and 1950, the population of Long Beach grew by 53%, a rate faster than Los Angeles County as a whole! During this time, Windes & Irvine was the largest of the local CPA firms. McClaughry became a partner in 1945. In 1951, Irvine withdrew to practice law and, in 1953, the firm changed its name to Windes & McClaughry.
Firm Makes Mark on Southern California
"From the 1940s to the mid-1960s, auditing and the accounting profession in the United States reached the height of its standing and reputation. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) set the guidelines for 'generally accepted accounting principles.' Nowhere else in the world did the organized accounting profession possess such a large degree of influence in setting the norms of the professional practice." (from American Accounting Association history.) Accountants began to take a prominent place in government service. Windes & McClaughry was also showing its strength during this time. In 1951, Paul McClaughry established the Long Beach Chapter of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CSCPA) to serve the growing number of Long Beach Certified Public Accountants. He served as the first president and, throughout the next several decades, five other Windes & McClaughry partners followed his lead.
Windes & McClaughry continued to grow in the 1960s. The economy was booming and accounting was a sought-after profession. By 1962, the firm had doubled in size.
Windes & McClaughry on the Cutting Edge of Technology
Windes & McClaughry was one of the first businesses to purchase an IBM 360 computer. In 1968, only a few large businesses, and no tax practices, in Long Beach had computers, putting Windes & McClaughry on the forefront of accounting firms in the city and region with these capabilities. Occupying an entire room measuring 2,200 square feet, the computer allowed Windes & McClaughry to become one of the first data processing centers in Long Beach. The firm also designed an accounting system for medical practices that made them more efficient and helped physicians allocate income and expenses, bolstering the strength of Windes & McClaughry’s professional services practice and expertise.
During this time, seven of the Big Eight accounting firms approached Windes & McClaughry to propose mergers. However, Windes & McClaughry wanted to control its own destiny and remain independent. In 1976, Windes & McClaughry incorporated as Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corporation.
As the firm grew in size and stature, the partners recognized the need to be part of a larger network that would provide a wider presence both nationally and globally. In 1983, Windes & McClaughry became an affiliate of the British accounting firm Dearden Farrow International, known today as Baker Tilly International (BTI). BTI, one of the world’s top ten accountancy and business service networks, gives Windes & McClaughry an international presence and access to the resources of other accounting firms across the nation and abroad.
In 1987, Windes & McClaughry merged with a benefits consulting firm, allowing the firm to offer employee benefit services to its clients. The firm expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, adding partners and clients, and reaching out geographically. It added clients in Orange County, the South Bay, and the Inland Empire, where development dramatically increased.
The 21st century has brought unprecedented growth to Windes & McClaughry. In 2005, the firm opened offices in Irvine and Torrance. Several dozen employees were added and ten new partners named since the year 2000.
Windes & McClaughry has met the 21st century with resolve and vision for the future. Standing firm on a strong, solid, and principled foundation, the firm looks ahead as it continues to establish itself as the regional accounting firm of choice in Southern California.