When Local Motors introduces a new vehicle, the innovation behind it is obvious if you’re examining the design or engineering, but the innovation doesn’t stop there. Creating world-changing vehicles is a huge undertaking, and each person in every department of Local Motors plays a role.
When eyeing a new vehicle like Olli, your first thought probably isn’t, “How was the finance department involved?” However, finance and accounting are critical areas of the company that supports every vehicle we design, build and sell.
Wendy Carrasco, our director of compliance and financial reporting, plays a big role on the Local Motors finance team. She works closely with our Controller Denise Trujillo and our Chief Financial Officer Jean Paul Capin Gally to strengthen the financial health of the company. Her contributions to Local Motors include formalizing accounting processes and producing financial statements that satisfy regulators.
The myriad of regulations found across the four states and two countries in which LM operates is no easy task. It’s even more complex given that we’re in the automotive industry. You’ll see from her responses below that she’s genuinely excited to prepare and sign off on financial statements. And trust me, in this function, you want someone who thrives on accuracy and geeks out on accounting practices. Without her keen eye, we might not have such amazing innovations, a network of microfactories, or the ability to serve our global partners like IBM, GE, and Siemens.
Our planning cycles are much shorter than typical companies in our space. In the time it takes an established automotive manufacturer to determine that they need to make a change, we have already adapted to market demands and delivered an entirely new vehicle to the world. Olli was designed and built in only three months; unlike the three-year timeline found in other vehicles. Our financials follow suit with great speed and accuracy, thanks to our agile finance team.
We’re proud to have Wendy aboard at Local Motors and we look forward to all the exciting milestones ahead. Let’s learn more about her, and let us know in the comments if you have questions.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Phoenix and have lived all over the valley, but mostly in the East Valley such as Tempe and Gilbert.
What’s your favorite food?
I love Mexican food, but it needs to be gluten-free. Three of my four kids and myself have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease where the cure is to avoid all gluten. We even have to be careful about cross-contamination such as when we slice bread on a cutting board. It’s not always easy to dine out, so I usually bring my lunch. If you see me reading the ingredient label, you’ll know why. As we say in our house, nothing tastes as good as gluten-free feels!
What’s your dream vacation?
On a beach with white sand, lounging in a chair, with lots of friends laughing and having fun.
What do you do for Local Motors?
In the finance department, I focus on external reporting to ensure we’re compliant with industry standards. This can take on many forms including financial statement audits, international issues, and tax reports. I work closely with our external auditors and consultants as well as our controller and chief financial officer. I’m proud to say that I have a helping hand in the underpinnings of the Local Motors organization, ensuring that everyone else can focus their energy towards reinventing the way vehicles are made.
What did you do before Local Motors?
For many years (not telling how many), I worked in public accounting for small and mid-size private companies. It fascinated me to see how these different businesses in many different industries operated so I could help them formalize their accounting practices and audit financial statements for them. I loved working with entrepreneurs and the accounting staff behind these businesses. For me, public accounting was a natural fit, as the black-and-white nature of numbers appealed to my analytical sense. I love the concrete nature of numbers, and also love working on a team.
What projects are you working on now?
We’re almost done completing a financial statement audit. This will be the first issuance of formal, audited financial statements about the company, which is very exciting. It has required extensive collaboration across many different areas of Local Motors. Navigating all the areas and functions of the company has helped me learn what we’ve done, what we’re doing now, and where we want to go. This knowledge helps us streamline future processes and ensures propriety in our transactions. In short, these projects help the company operate faster and ensures we’re doing it right.
What do you love about Local Motors?
One of the aspects I love about accounting is that you’re always learning. That same benefit applies to Local Motors. I love the challenging work and I didn’t expect I’d find a company that innovates as much as LM. The day-to-day stuff keeps me on my toes as I tend to approach new challenges with a sense of intellectual curiosity. Also, I feel closely connected with my team and the business itself, which isn’t always the case in public accounting.
What advice do you have for future employees?
You’ve got to be able to pivot by embracing change and looking ahead. Innovation is what we’re all about and it doesn’t only apply to vehicles but across all areas of the company — including finance.