John Frederick Helliwell, F.C.A. (1871 – 1958)

Founder and Partner, Helliwell, MacLachlan & Co.

Born in 1871, John Frederick Helliwell began his financial career as an articling student with W.H. Cross as a Chartered Accountant (CA) student in Toronto in the 1890’s. Upon completing his CA, John partnered with the firm to launch a chartered accountancy practice in Vancouver. After 14 years of building the practice on his own, he took on two partners and eventually launched Helliwell, Maclachlan & Co. in 1911.

His clients included some of the largest and most prominent companies in Vancouver at the time, including Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company Limited, British Columbia Electric Railway Company, BC Telephone, BC Sugar, Canadian Western Lumber Ltd. (the largest sawmill in Canada in the 1920’s), and The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited (now Teck Resources).

John was also the sole founding petitioner from Vancouver in the 1902 establishment of the federally incorporated The Dominion Association of Chartered Accountants – now the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

In 1914, John and his wife went to England with their three children for a short stay but war was declared during their visit and they did not return until 1919. John served in Egypt and England as a Captain for the First World War.

The firm that John established at the beginning of the 20th century became the largest accounting firm in Vancouver at the time. Over the years, the firm acquired and merged with other practices in the region, ultimately becoming KPMG, which today continues to be John’s legacy as the oldest and largest professional services firm in the city and the province. Today KPMG operates out of 38 offices across Canada.