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Matthew has come along a circuitous route to become a Chartered Accountant. In his younger years, he has done lots of jobs including bar work, roustabouting, cattle droving, managing hotels, motels, function centres and restaurants, recruitment and working on farms. He had a singularly unsuccessful attempt at undertaking a Science Degree at Queen’s College, University of Melbourne in his younger days which helped him to understand that the measurement and quantification of things was good if you’re trying to define organic chemistry or understand physics, but it isn’t overly applicable in the “real world” where you’re dealing with real people.
Returning to tertiary study at the age of 24, he completed his Bachelor of Commerce Degree at Deakin University in Geelong. This attempt at tertiary study was far more successful than the earlier science experiment and he graduated in 1993. He then went to work with Pannell Kerr Forster (PKF), Chartered Accountants in Melbourne—working for three years in their audit division. Unable to cope with the unbridled excitement of audit, he moved to Ballarat and worked with Peter Marriott in his boutique Chartered Accounting firm before taking up partnership in 1996. Over the period in this business, revenues grew four fold—mainly on the accounting and tax advisory side of the operation. Due to differing views of the two partners, it was agreed that the business would cease and Matthew took half the customers and four of the staff with him to start up matthew tol + associates—subsequently renamed mta optima.
From very humble beginnings, the business grew to the current point where it has 16 people working with a great group of customers.
In July 2007, Matthew decided that his hatred of the timesheet was such that the firm moved part-way to the Firm of the Future model. The first step was dumping timesheets. A lot of learning (i.e, mistakes) happened over the next few years. An important part of the move to the new model involved regular email discussions with Ron Baker with whom we started corresponding in late 2006.
Since the move, Matthew and his team have made a huge amount of progress in their business and are at a point where they are now regularly being approached by other accounting and legal firms to assist them in making the step forward. Matthew is also a regular contributor to magazines on the topic of business management.
Having seen “the light” that the Firm of the Future model brings to a firm, Matthew is a passionate advocate of the progress that businesses can make (on every level) when they embrace the revolution.
A mad keen fisherman, lover of good red wine, gourmand and with an economically unrealistic interest in cars, Matthew has been married to Kim for nearly 20 years and is learning about being a parent under the tutelage of his daughter Phoebe.