Qualifying as a Chartered Building Surveyor in 1985, Matthew started work with the British Rail Property Board carrying out a variety of surveying duties. After this Matthew joined West End practice Druce and Co undertaking surveys of both residential and commercial properties, together with the administration of refurbishment contracts in the West End.
Moving away from London he joined Stennings in Godalming an agency/surveying practice. Matthew then set up his own practice in Dorking in 1988, which became Stenning Smith Associates operating in the south east of England. During this time he specialised in residential surveying/architecture, building his own house and obtaining Planning Permission for other developments.
In 2004 Matthew went to develop property in the Caribbean where he learnt to kite surf. He returned in 2006 to work with his now business partner Nick Tucker at Ashdown Lyons. Following the demise of Ashdown Lyons in 2009, Matthew and Nick formed Ward James Associates Limited.