Features | From Pivot Magazine

These CPAs are also Juno-winning metalheads

How Winnipeg brothers Shane and Jesse Matthewson balance accounting careers with life on the road as KEN mode

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Brothers Shane and Jesse Matthewson, both CPAs from Winnipeg, touring the world with their metal band KEN mode CPAs, musicians, business owners—these two brothers do it all (Nathan Cyprys)

When Shane and Jesse Matthewson, two brothers—both CPAs—from Winnipeg, aren’t helping musicians balance the books through their firm MKM Managemetn Services, they’re touring the world with their own eardrum-busting metal band, KEN Mode.

Do you keep your accounting and music worlds separate?
Jesse: Our music and business are completely intertwined. The band is almost a marketing tool for our company. It shows that we know what we’re talking about, and that we work for our art just like our clients.

What’s the advantage of being musicians?
Shane: Being able to flex our creative muscles keeps us balanced. Our training encourages a very linear, logical way of thinking, so music keeps other areas of our brains working.

Are you considered cool?
Shane:
We get called cool accountants a lot, but we’ve been around long enough to realize we’re pretty much nerds.

Whose idea was it to be full-time musicians?
Jesse:
I pitched Shane on doing the band full-time in 2009, just so we didn’t have to look back and say, “Oh man, it could’ve been something.”

What sparked the idea for your own company?
Shane:
We won a Juno in 2012, which encouraged us to do four years of road-dogging. We played 220 shows in 2013, but you can’t do that forever. We did our own accounting and learned how to manage a touring band, so starting our own company was a no-brainer.

Is it hard balancing touring and your business?
Shane:
On our next tour, we’re bringing a mobile printer. We’re prepared for some serious van work. It will be a real test of how well we can balance touring and accounting.

What’s it like being your own accountants?
Shane:
We look at our band as a small business. We have financial statements and track everything. If I want to know how much digital revenue our third album made in October 2013, I can pull it up. It’s creepy. I would never pay anyone to do our accounts this detailed.

How are your accounting skills helping other bands?
Jesse:
A lot of bands don’t know the first thing about running a business. We add value because we’ve lived that life. We know the trials of the road. We’ve slept on floors way longer than we should have.