A budding career: Alum Hanoz Kapadia

Thursday, September 17, 2020
by Alyana Versolatto 

Hanoz KapadiaHanoz Kapadia, BA-Accounting '02, MAcc ’02 utilizes his SAF education to lead the change in the cannabis, consulting and AI industry.

The cannabis industry is booming and Hanoz Kapadia credits the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) for giving him the confidence to not only be part of the decision-making, but to own it. As Chair of Finance and Governance for the Ontario Cannabis Stores (OCS), he oversees the financial aspects of the corporation, and that includes many industry-defining decisions. From launching the first cannabis retail stores in Ontario to creating the largest distribution network for cannabis in the country — each major decision came across his desk.

“The OCS role is certainly challenging, but it is also a ton of fun.” - Hanoz Kapadia

He explained that his two degrees from the University of Waterloo (BA-Accounting ‘02, MAcc ’02)of Accounting) provided the foundation of knowledge that is required to be effective at the highest levels of decision-making. Skills honed over the years in analysis, critical thinking, and leadership has been made better with each venture Kapadia has undertaken (and there have been quite a few).

"When approving a $100 million deal, you don’t have the opportunity to second guess your analysis. Your decision-making must be clear, and your ability to communicate the reasons for your decision must be backed up with hard facts and numbers."

The impact of COVID-19 made Kapadia’s role of Chair even more critical as the OCS was forced to navigate store closures, a huge increase in online sales, and a sudden expansion very quickly.

"Each of the business model changes in the past few months had to be guided and overseen by me as Chair. Employees had to adapt to working from home, customers had to accept online sales and delivery, and the organization had to evolve to meet significant demand increases at a moment’s notice. I am keenly aware that each decision I make affects many stakeholders in a novel multi-billion-dollar industry." 

Kapadia has never been one to shy away from challenges or responsibilities. In addition to OCS, he’s founded his own company Kapadia & Associates, and is an active board member at AI – LP and is Chair of the Advisory Board at Huex, a leading artificial intelligence company. With over 23 years of experience advising on regulatory, tax and finance matters in public, private, and non-profit enterprises, he still remembers fondly the beginning of his professional career at SAF. It was here that he accepted a co-op job at PwC, the largest accounting firm in the world, which kickstarted his passion for accounting and finance.

“The Bachelor of Arts program (now AFM) prepared me for co-op by providing real-world skills that made me an asset to PwC as soon as I started. The program was not just theory; the program and the professors are based on actual practice. Everything I learned enabled me to shine at PwC.”

While no one can be certain what the future holds, this business leader is a strong believer in falling back on his SAF education and learning a lesson from each experience. 

"Every time I have been in boardrooms, in a high-powered meeting, be it with CEOs or heads of government — my SAF training has kicked in. I believe that the strong knowledge base that the university provided has given me a unique sense of confidence that allowed me to not just be a part of a room, but to own the room."