25 June 2020 at 9:00 am

Meet the Team: Matt Penney

As ENZ’s Chief Financial and Information Officer, Matt has a crucial behind-the-scenes role overseeing ENZ’s financial and IT strategies.

Matt with ENZ Senior Market Development Manager, Felix Ye, in Guangzhou.

Could you please outline your own role and the role of the Corporate Services team?

I head up our Finance and IT teams and sit on the leadership team. I am a member of the Audit & Risk committee and chair the Digital Steering group.

Finance is responsible for paying our invoices, keeping accounting records, business partnering, helping to set budgets and reforecasting those as things change. We do a lot of reporting and work with tax people, auditors and do other forms of compliance. Audit NZ has awarded us their highest rating for the past three years.

IT provides many of the essential tools, technology, and training for us to be able to do our job. ENZ is putting in place one of the most, if not the most, advanced IT-managed cloud computing solution within the public sector. 

We operate in many different jurisdictions around the world, so we face many different challenges at a local level. We are also part of the NZ Inc government sector and there is a lot of knowledge and services that we can and do share with each other.

How has COVID-19 impacted your team’s work, and what work do you have ahead of you with the recovery?

In the current environment, we have helped to reconfigure ENZ’s work programme. We have supported the identification of new activities that support the international education sector, connect with the international students in New Zealand, and gather intelligence about the markets for New Zealand providers. I think we have all gone through a reboot the last few months and as is often said, “we should never let a good crisis go to waste” and miss the chance to make positive change.

In terms of my team’s work programme, that’s actually full steam ahead. We have nearly completed our IT-managed cloud computing solution, desk phones have been replaced with soft phone telephony, we are trialling updated Zoom hardware, and putting in new, improved global managed internet connections. We are also go-live shortly with a new finance system to ensure ENZ staff can spend less time on administration and more time on value-add activities.

Can you tell me a bit about your professional background?

I belong to the New Zealand professional bodies for Directors and Chartered Accountants. and have 25 years of business experience in a mixture of private and public sector roles. Six years of that experience was gained in the UK and Ireland. I really enjoyed my time working overseas.

I joined ENZ in 2014; this is my first government agency role.

Accounting is a transferable skill, so I have had an interesting journey across many different sectors. I have toured around power stations, air traffic control towers, coal mines – who says accounting is boring!

 Matt (about to receive a hand up) competing in an adventure race in China. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My interests are built around my family; I am married with 11 and 8-year-old boys. I like my travel – one of the benefits of COVID is that my leave balance is now positive again!

Once upon a time we backpacked our way around Asia and Europe and did a truck tour across southern Africa. I have been to something like 60 countries, but these days we do more family-friendly things like go to Ohope, Rarotonga and the South Island ski fields.

I have done the annual Coast to Coast race across the South Island four times and Ironman NZ once. In the past couple of years I’ve tried adventure racing in China where we’ve won enough prize money to cover the costs of getting there. We raced in Wulong and I could not go all that way without popping in to see Felix in our nearest ENZ office in Guangzhou.

What's in it for me?