Staff interview #31 Janelle Manlutac

My first encounter with Quipper

I’m currently Accounting Associate Manager for Quipper in the Philippines. That means I’m in charge of all the day-to-day operations in the Finance and Accounting department, from disbursements and collections to payroll and taxes, plus financial reporting to the local government and to Quipper office in Japan.


Quipper is my fourth company. I’ve also worked for the Philippine branches of a Korean and an Australian company. I first knew about Quipper when one of my former colleagues told me they were looking for an accountant. I looked up Quipper and immediately got interested in its service. It was my first time to come across e-learning, but as a person who has knowledge of different businesses, I could see its vast potential in the market.

Improving systems is something I enjoy

When I joined Quipper in 2017, there were many processes still not in place. The company was just starting to generate income, and accounting and payroll were done by a third party. Accounting records were disorganized and there were discrepancies in payroll. With the help of my team, we organized and established internal controls and procedures.


My first job was as an accountant in an auditing firm, so I have experience of establishing internal workflows and financial reporting. I enjoy improving systems as it gives me a sense of fulfilment. I can say that I’ve done this so that people will have an easier time or different departments will finally be able to work together smoothly.


Quipper had around 40 employees in the Philippines when I joined, but that has since tripled to 120. My team’s workload increased a lot, because there were only two of us in accounting. We requested another person for our team, but it took months for the hire to be approved. I worked a lot during those months, just doing my best to finish all the tasks that needed to be done.

What the MVP award means to me

I’m so grateful to be chosen as an MVP this year. It is actually rare for back-office employees to be recognized for our work. Most employees see us as the person who releases the payroll, questions and cuts their expenses, asks for collection, and spends all day looking at numbers on a laptop screen. Not everyone can see the importance of our job.


The story of how I learned about the award is actually quite funny. My manager initially just messaged me on Slack to ask if I have a passport. When I confirmed that I do, he also asked me about the expiration date. I asked why, and he said he would explain another time. I thought it might be the MVP, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up because there are so many great people working here. Then, a week later, my manager told me I was getting the award.


The original plan was to receive the award in Japan, but the trip had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. Actually, I have never been outside the Philippines. This year I was planning to go on my first overseas vacation, a backpacking trip around SE Asia. That’s the reason I had recently applied for a passport. The trip was going to be my 30th birthday present to myself. Fortunately, I got a nice surprise present from Quipper instead.


Of course, this recognition is not only for me but also for my team. Being selected as MVP also comes with a lot of responsibility. As an MVP, I have to meet the expectations of my managers and colleagues. I will do my very best to continue to improve my work and our department.

I still need to work on my communication

There are still many things I want to improve about myself. One is asking for help or trusting that someone can do the work besides me. I used to prefer to do a task myself, rather than to assign it to another person and worry that it will be done incorrectly. Now I’m getting better at delegating tasks and trusting my colleagues to do the job.


I’m not a vocal person when it comes to expressing my feelings, including giving praise. I know that people have different personalities. Some want to be constantly praised, while others want to be left alone to do their work. So I’m also trying to balance things better and adapt my style of management depending on the person.


I notice that each manager also has a different style. One thing I like about my current manager is how patient he is. The way he talks to other people and discusses things calmly is something I want to emulate for myself. Unfortunately, my way of talking can sometimes make people think I’m angry, even though I’m actually a very patient person!

Recognition comes in many forms

Compared to my previous companies, I can confidently say that Quipper is the best place I’ve worked. Quipper has a clear vision and the top management sees to it that all employees, regardless of rank and position, are updated on what is happening in the company. Each department also reports their status, and management sends us minutes of their weekly meetings so we know what’s happening in our branch. My colleagues really like having that feedback and not being kept in the dark.


Sharing information in the company is another way of recognizing people’s work by making them feel visible and counted. It’s rewarding just to know that people understand how hard our work can be. In many other companies, people do not recognize the importance of the back-office. They think we have an easy job just calculating numbers. So when someone appreciates what we do, it motivates me to do an even better job.


Since Quipper is expanding in the Philippines, I know there are many things we still need to do. Now I have to work closely with the sales department and HR so we can improve systems and operations across the company, not just in my own department. My team and I will do what needs to be done and continue to put the best possible processes in place.


* The business (including business name and business description), people and titles introduced in the article are those at the time of the interview. It may be different at this time.

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  2. Staff Interview
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