He need not explain how he felt after learning that he had to retake the CPA exams, because the public accountancy exams is one of the hardest in the Philippines with its high “mortality rate” of up to 70 percent.
“I was part of that group whose test papers were burned. And I was already working so I was not able to take it [CPA exams] again,” Gonzalez said.
He explained that because he was not able to acquire the title of CPA, which carries with it a lot of prestige, Gonzalez had doubts if he could climb the corporate ladder.
“At first, it was really hard to prove yourself because a lot of the multinational companies are looking, what do you call that, title holders or something,” Gonzalez said.
But because of hard work and the trust he earned from Robert Cheng, the founder of Roberts Automotive and Industrial Parts Manufacturing Corporation (Roberts AIMPC), Gonzalez was able to climb the corporate ladder to become the company’s general manager in 2004.
It was in 1992 that Gonzalez joined Roberts Radiator Corporation, the predecessor firm of Roberts AIMPC, as the company’s administration manager. He was only 24 years old when he joined Roberts Radiator.
WORKING WITH ENGINEERS
Even if engineers occupy a significant percentage of the managerial positions in the car and car parts industries in the Philippines, Gonzalez with his accounting background does not find it hard to work with the engineers of Roberts AIMPC.
“It’s a good thing, it’s a very good combination. Our organization is composed of let’s say, me, an accountant, and lots of engineers,” he said.
“So we really complement each other. So if you need something to improve [in a product], then you have your engineers there, we can exchange thoughts on that. At the same time, the business side, the engineers understand that,” Gonzalez added.
His career clearly shows that not having a “title” like CPA is not an obstacle to climbing the corporate ladder, and trust from the company owners may be even more important.
“The RDC [Robert D. Cheng] group gave me that opportunity to show my abilities. And I think it’s also because of the trust,” he said.