Jodie Matthews – Finance & Administration Manager
Posted October 17, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
Jodie is a coach, writer, keen traveller, and financial freedom advocate. Her passion lies with empowering women to become more financially literate and to live an abundant life. Using her experience working as a CPA and finance manager in the corporate world she also loves to share her insights and encourage others to kick goals in their careers and businesses.
How long have you been in finance?
13 years in total. I've been with UGL Limited at their Finance and Administration Manager (Utilities and Resources) for 3 years.
What did you study and what are the steps you took to be where you are today?
I first studied an advanced diploma of Accounting at TAFE, then a Bachelor of Business Majoring in Accounting at Australian Catholic University. I then completed the CPA program in 2013. I choose to study accounting as I knew having a good understanding of it would help me in any business role I took on. Once you have the financial side of things covered you can move into other management roles. I have also just recently completed a life coaching course which is something I am very passionate about.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
At first it was a stockbroker then a personal trainer and for a while an engineer, I never dreamed of becoming an accountant at first. I thought I would always end up working in business but wasn’t sure what kind of role. It was my careers advisor at school that got me interested in accounting.
What was your first job?
My first paid job was a paper run at 13. My first accounting job was working on the accounts at my local IGA while I was still studying.
When did you first know, you wanted to take this career path?
I feel into the engineering business when I got my first full-time job at UGL. It is one of the most interesting businesses to be a part of, especially as a finance manager. No day is ever the same and I have been blessed to travel around the country and get to know many different towns and people. I have been involved in helping create many large infrastructure projects that benefit both our cities and rural communities across the water and power sector.
Explain a typical day at work
In engineering and construction, the days can vary a lot. I generally support many different project and operational managers to help ensure they are managing their projects well from a financial perspective. This could be ensuring we are collecting our cash payments on time to ensuring our forecasting is accurate and in line with the timeline they must complete the project by. I also work across a more strategic space supporting tenders and ongoing analysis of our business operations. We consolidate around 50 projects for reporting so a big part of my role is to ensure what we are reporting is accurate and we have taken into consideration all the risks and opportunities that may arise.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in your career?
The travel is the most interesting part. I have spent time working in North Queensland in Cairns and Townville, the Gold Coast and all the way down south to Tamworth, Griffith and Wagga Wagga. Most of my work has been in the capital cities but I have enjoyed travelling to many different regional towns. The scariest thing is when I was flying back from Griffith in a small plane one night in a thunderstorm back to Sydney, it was the worst flight I have ever been on! We made it home safe and sound in the end though.
Name the best and worst parts of your job
Best would have to be all the amazing and different people I get to work with each day. The worst would have to be month end reporting and not being able to take leave during that time. When you work in accounting and finance, it’s hard to escape that!
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
It was to get a mentor. My mentors over the years have helped support me through hard times and given me the right advice when I needed it. They instilled a confidence in me to reach for higher roles and ask for the pay rise I deserved. Without that support, I think I would have had a much harder time in business.
What do you wish someone had told you before starting in this industry?
Believe in yourself and speak up when you need to. I think as a younger person when you start out in business it’s hard to sometimes have your voice heard.
Name a career highlight
One of my career highlights was being promoted to finance manager of our Water business at the age of 26. I was young and enthusiastic and wanted the challenge. It was a big learning curve in the beginning but it taught me so much at a young age about managing a team and the financials of a business.
What’s next for you?
I am looking at how I can best use my skills as a mentor and coach and combine these with my finance background. I believe when people have the right influences and coaches around them they can truly succeed in business and life.
As a member of the NSW CPA Divisional Council (which has over 41,000 members) I will continue to advocate for members, and help facilitate events throughout the year.
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.