Matt Clements has a passion for meeting and working with new people, so he loves his role as a Financial Planner and Chartered Accountant. He inspires clients to focus on their financial goals and supports them to live their best life.
At Newcastle Financial Planning Group (NFPG), Matt is passionate about delivering long-term financial solutions and benefiting their clients. With more than eight years’ experience, Matt delivers unique financial and accounting advice guided by client successes, his own experiences and up-to-date financial strategies.
- What career path led you to where you are now?
After I graduated at the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Commerce, I was fortunate enough to start my career as a Graduate Accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the Newcastle office. It was a great place to start my career and instil a great work ethic that I’ve kept throughout the rest of my career. It also created that foundation of technical knowledge that I really needed as an accountant.
I worked across a whole range of industries, and I was really able to guide my career towards wherever I wanted to take it. Getting exposure to business advisory, which I worked in predominantly, and having a lot of clients that came to me as their outsourced accountant and CFO in the early stage of my career was really beneficial. I was also fortunate enough to do some secondments at the Adelaide office in their due diligence and mergers and acquisitions team, which was a great challenge at the time, but something that I’ve really benefited from and carried through to today.
I knew from an early stage in my career that I always wanted to run my own business and take that challenge, so I took up an opportunity to shift out of professional services in accounting into corporate accounting, because I figured that there were experiences there that I would need in the future to run my own business.
A lot of my clients at PwC were mining based, so I took up an opportunity to take an internal accounting role with Whitehaven Coal in the Newcastle office. It was at a really tough time for the mining industry but I learned a lot there and fortunately for us, Newcastle and the city, that has since recovered.
A few things aligned and shortly later (about nine months) I was able to shift into a new opportunity as a Financial Controller for PRD Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, working with the owner there, Mark Kentwell. For me, PRD and I were a perfect cultural fit, being back around young, youthful and ambitious people delivering great service to clients. They really put forward their best work for their career; it was something that I really connected with.
But there was a major turning point in my career recently in August 2017, when the CEO and Managing Partner, Daniel Brown of Newcastle Financial Planning Group (NFPG) – which I’m at now – approached me to take on a Chief Financial Officer and Financial Advisor role in the business. That was a great opportunity to shift into a new industry and take on a whole new wave of learning in financial planning outside of accounting. It’s something that I really enjoyed, especially getting back to meeting clients, meeting people and helping them achieve their goals.
In terms of NFPG, the values that the business aspires to really resonate with me: loyalty to our clients and our team, and transparency and authenticity in the way in which we deliver financial advice. And then open communication across the board are all things about NFPG that I’m a part of that I feel is a good fit.
- What motivates and drives you?
I think I can answer that pretty quickly, two things – people and numbers. I’m definitely a people-person. I love talking to people, I love getting to know them and finding ways in which I can help. I’d say that I’m a bit of a self-confessed perfectionist, so being a financial adviser and developing financial strategy is a role that really aligns with me. But getting to know people, understanding their goals, and helping them to motivate and aspire to what
they really want to achieve in life is something that I find really rewarding
Using financial strategy both at an individual level and also if they were to own a business, is something that I really like getting involved with and using both my skills in accounting in the past and now as a financial advisor.
- What has been your biggest learning curve in your career?
The biggest learning curve that I’ve had has come recently in my shift from accounting to financial planning. I feel like financial planning is really about getting to know and connecting with people. It is about how you can help them as opposed to accounting where at times you get stuck behind an Excel spreadsheet. But I feel that transition for me and that learning curve of a new industry, and also keeping in touch with the actual skills that I’ve developed in the past and how I merged the two together, has been a really good learning curve for me.
Daniel Brown, Managing Partner of our business, has really helped me let go of some of the things from my previous accounting career that were holding me back from succeeding in financial planning.
Another deep learning curve for me recently is also taking on the strategic management role within our business and lifting it a level in terms of how the decisions that we make on a daily basis impact our business. It’s looking at where we’re going, how we’re growing our team and the decisions that we make there, and the type of advice and service that we want to offer our clients.
I think it’s really important to find a career that you’re passionate about, and I feel like I’ve found that in financial planning.
- Where would you like to be in 10 years?
I’m pretty clear on where I’d like to be in ten years’ time, I’d like to be a managing partner of a leading financial planning business in Newcastle and the Central Coast. I originally grew up on the Central Coast in a place called Umina, but I now call Newcastle home. So what I want to do is build a proudly local business in both those areas, that’s hiring local people and giving back to the people of those communities.
I’m also a self-obsessed, mad sports fan, so any success in the local sports teams such as the Knights is something that I love to see. NFPG will be continuing to sponsor the Knights for the 2019 season.
- Have you had any significant Hunter-based mentors during your career that inspire you?
I’d say there are probably three. Since starting my career with PwC with the Partner that I work with and was mentored by, Darren Turner. Darren really encouraged me to pursue the career that I wanted and be open to new professional experiences as you can always be surprised where they take you. He was a really great mentor to again instil that really strong work ethic that I still feel I hold today and help me build a really great technical base that I’ve also held in accounting.
After working for PwC, I would say Mark Kentwell from PRD was a great mentor for me in terms of how to build what felt like a family business. He was also excellent at building corporate culture; getting a team that’s working hard in a great dynamic and aspiring to provide really great quality client service. It was all the things that I learned from him. And I guess building a culture and business that people connect with in terms of your team and your clients, that is beyond just the work that they do and the interaction that they have, so they can create that loyalty and culture that is so relevant for PRD Newcastle.
But the biggest mentor that I’ve had in my career is certainly Daniel Brown, the Managing Partner of Newcastle Financial Planning Group. He did change my career overnight into financial planning and really helped me to start aspiring to the ambitious goals that I have for myself in the long term. We really connected in terms of the values that we hold personally and those that we want to take to our business in terms of building a team, building a business and a brand that people connect with. We also align in terms of where we want to give back to the community both in Newcastle and in the Central Coast.
I think I’ve been really fortunate with the mentors that I have, and I really encourage everyone to get out and find that person that helps you take yourself to the next level.