Matt Petrow, CPA, CA

From Suits to Shorts - Transitioning to a Tech Start Up

September 15, 2021

CPAs can be found working in every industry, including in Saskatchewan’s rapidly growing tech sector. Matt Petrow, CPA, CA feels that his skills as a CPA have helped him find success as the Vice President, Finance and Human Resources, at Coconut Software.

“If you think of Coconut as a car – my job is to be the GPS and dashboard to help us reach our destination.”

Matt Petrow, CPA, CA manages the administration of the Saskatchewan-based tech start-up, Coconut Software (Coconut). Day-to-day, that often includes working with others across the organization to ensure they have the right people, resources, and processes in place to be successful.

Originally pursuing a career as a corporate lawyer, Matt became interested in accounting and finance while taking the introductory accounting classes at the University of Saskatchewan. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Finance, and then pursued a career as a professional accountant. Interestingly, his career has now come full circle; his current role involves managing the legal function at Coconut. Matt admits that he had never imagined that his CPA designation could lead him to a position where he would wear shorts to the office or lead a Human Resources department.

“The culture at Coconut is amazing, and the company is truly unique in how we support our people. I was also excited by the opportunity to help build a company from an early stage and join one of the newest, most vibrant industries in our province.”

Organizational culture is what draws many to work in the tech sector, and Coconut is no different. Matt tells us that his favorite part of working at Coconut is the people - it is a fun and passionate team, and he collaborates with great people every day. He adds that the variety of work that is involved in his role as Vice President, Finance and Human Resources makes it exciting to come to work every morning. “There are always new things to learn and challenging problems to solve.”

Matt uses the technical skills and soft skills like strategy, analysis, and communication that he learned in the CPA program on a daily basis, and he admits that the designation was necessary for his success in his previous roles. He offers the following advice for aspiring CPAs:

“Always be open to new opportunities to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself with new things that could be considered outside the realm of a CPA. Applying your skills to these areas is where you can add the most value and find what you really love.”

Matt Petrow, CPA, CA