Rickey Manhabal is a finance and accounting executive with more that twenty-five years’ experience in his field. As a young man, Rickey had planned to be a test pilot, so it was a twist of fate that brought him to a manufacturing firm as an applicant for an accounting clerk. There he found he had a knack for the field and, with some encouragement, chose to pursue it with ardent energy.

After about a year in an entry level position, Rickey decided to return to school where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in accounting and Masters in public administration. He has worked in both the public and private sector and has managed as much as 250 employees. More recently, Rickey has worked with government accounts. For the last three years, he has also been an instructor at UCLA extension, teaching financial courses.

When he has some free time, Rickey loves spending time with his family and traveling. He is also an avid do-it-yourselfer and enjoys finding new projects at home.

How did you get started in this industry? What inspired you to start in this industry?

When I was younger, I actually initially wanted to be a test pilot and that was a dangerous career. My fiancé at the time was very against it, so I took a drastic turn and applied for a clerical position. I got it as an accounting clerk in a manufacturing environment. After about a year there, the manager and I began talking and he really encouraged me to get my educational credentials. He was really an inspiration to me, he mentored me. He felt that I would be excellent in this field. I took his advice and went back to school to complete my education. I cannot thank him enough for having that confidence in me and really pushing me to be a better version of myself.

How do you make money?

I earn money by putting in the work. Every week I am here about sixty hours, at least. I have put my time in. I am reliable and committed to the organization. They have an expectation of me to provide useful financial information. I am paid for the work I do.

What does your typical workday consist of?

I work for a company; I am not an entrepreneur. I don’t see it as profit because I am paid for my time here. I have bills to pay, as everyone else does. I do make sure to put some money aside for my down time. My family does like to travel, so I’ll plan for vacations and such. I enjoy having the ability to plan for things like that.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted your choice to pursue this career? If so, how did you handle that?

In the beginning, I had that doubt many times. It was such a turnaround for me from what I had originally planned for my life. Luckily, I had people who showed confidence in me and encouraged me. I was able to overcome that doubt by simply applying myself to the career. I sought guidance when I needed it to help me get through challenges I faced. Each positive result I got made me want to learn even more.

What is in one interesting aspect of your job?

Mine is not a customer-oriented position. I simply applied for a position and went through the hiring process. I think my personality and professional background really helped with my getting the job.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

The position I hold now requires me to be away from home longer than I would like, so I think that was the toughest decision I’ve had to make recently. You have to be willing to make sacrifices in order to reap the rewards. My commitment to the organization has helped me to provide a decent living for my family and having that reliability for them provides me with new opportunities that I am grateful to have.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?          

My attitude and my approach to issues has made me successful. How I negotiate has helped elevate me, as well. I don’t like to accept no as an answer, but if you tell me no, then you have to explain why. If there is a better plan of action we can put into place, I am all for it. It’s my ability to see things from all angles that has helped with my negotiating skills. I am always willing to try something different if I really feel like it will be a successful strategy.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

To reach the level where I am now, in the executive arena, is my most satisfying moment. I have worked very hard over the last twenty-seven years. I know what it is like to stand at the bottom of the ladder and climb up. This is the culmination of all the challenges and sacrifices I have made, and I am very proud to be where I am today. It has been an amazing adventure for me. I am completely happy I have made it to where I am today.

What does the future hold for your career and what are most excited about?

The future holds more growth for me. I have worked very hard to be where I am now, and I plan to continue to grow. There is always more to learn and new methods to explore. I love to face challenges head on and create solutions, so I will keep doing that. I think what I am most excited right now is getting to my retirement age and really being able to enjoy the results of all the work I have put in.

What business books have inspired you?

I have read several books and articles that are specific to this industry, like generally accepted accounting principles, governmental standards for accounting, auditing standards, and management decision-making. They are the best resources for keeping up to date on the standards of accounting, as well as any new ideas or solutions.

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