Philip S. Ross

Philip S. Ross




Class of 1984

Philip S. Ross could be called one of the Fathers of Accounting in North America. When Scotsman Philip Ross settled in Montreal in 1858, accounting was so new to Canada that only two other accountants were listed in the Montreal directory. For years, accounting work was so light that Ross supplemented his income by working as a ship's chandler.

In 1879, Ross and his friend James Court gathered 11 other accountants in Montreal's Mechanic's Hall. The group determined to bring order to the profession by forming an association and seeking a charter that would allow them to restrict the use of the term "chartered accountant." On July 24, 1880, the group created the first accounting society in North America. Ross served as its president from 1883 to 1896.

His bookkeeping experience evolved into a form of public service – there weren’t any guidelines, no formal education for professional businessmen – just innovation into one of the great professions of the world. So when winter caused lack of custom for his Ships’ Chandlers Shop in lower Montreal, he sent out engraved invitations offering his services to “keep books.”

Not only did Ross contribute greatly to the field of accounting, he dedicated much of his life to serving his community. While living in Montreal, he established the Montreal Sailors' Institute to provide entertainment and assistance to sailors. So sincere was his dedication to the Institute that when it was facing financial failure, Ross paid off all of the group's debt out of his own pocket.

Philip S. Ross, noted for his reserve, sharp mind and determined spirit, established Canada’s first accounting firm. Known today as Deloitte, and formerly Touch-Ross, it is the result of a merger in 1958 of P.S. Ross & Sons and George A. Touche & Company, and then with Deloitte.



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