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The Role Forward

The Collaborative Finance Function with Zack McCarty, Director of FP&A at Qwick

In this episode of The Role Forward, Zack McCarty, the Director of FP&A at Qwick, discusses how he thinks about building a collaborative finance function that acts as strategic support for all departments across his organization.

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Episode Summary

In this episode of The Role Forward, Joe Michalowski hosts Zack McCarty, Director of FP&A at Qwick. McCarty shares insights on the importance of collaborative planning and stakeholder buy-in in the food and beverage industry. He emphasizes the transformative power of basic financial information in driving valuable change within a company.

McCarty discusses the challenges and strategies of planning for Qwick, a two-sided marketplace for on-demand staffing. He highlights the necessity of balancing the onboarding of workers and businesses, and the seasonal nature of their business. He also delves into the complexities of managing expenses across different departments, including marketing, sales, and engineering.

Lastly, McCarty underscores the importance of transparency in financial information. However, he also cautions against the potential for misunderstanding or panic when context is not provided. The episode concludes with McCarty expressing excitement about the future as stakeholders seek deeper analytics and understanding of the fundamentals.

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Featured Guest

Zack McCarty

Director of FP&A, Qwick

While Zack’s experience and skill set span across a wide range of departments, his professional identity can best be classified as a problem solver. What gets him excited to wake up in the morning is the opportunity to build something that will make others’ lives easier. To create solutions that others may not have thought were possible. To automate tasks that my team members hate doing.

Key Themes from the Episode
  • Instead of guessing what stakeholders might want, it's better to let them express their needs and then educate them accordingly. This approach fosters an open dialogue and encourages consistent communication.
  • With a two-sided marketplace, Zack has to balance the onboarding of workers and businesses, and the complexities of managing expenses across different departments. That in addition to planning around seasonality in the business.
  • Financial transparency is important for collaboration. But be careful to avoid potential misunderstandings or panic when context is not provided.

Episode Highlights from Zack McCarty

17:00 — Building a Collaborative Culture: A Work in Progress

McCarty discusses the ongoing process of establishing a collaborative culture within Qwick. He talks about the importance of holding people accountable to the goals they’ve set together, and the need for a formal process to review and adjust these goals. He also mentions the company’s efforts to make board meeting materials accessible to the entire team via Mosaic, fostering transparency and understanding.

“I think, right now we’re sharing everything. The dashboards are real time, so they can go in there whenever they want […] And so one of our objectives is to basically get all of the materials for the board meeting into Mosaic […]”

30:00 — The Intricacies of the Planning Process

McCarty delves into the complexities of the planning process at Qwick. He discusses how they approach planning for different departments, particularly marketing, and the challenges of managing a two-sided marketplace. He also talks about the importance of strategic planning to ensure alignment and excitement across the team.

“So, It sounds like it’s a long time, but things change in business really quickly, you know, and I think for us, the longer that we can commit to this process, the more intentional we can be […]”

19:00 — The Transformative Power of Basic Financial Information

McCarty shares how basic financial information can lead to valuable changes within the company. He gives an example of how their referral program was adjusted after realizing that it was not as financially effective as they had initially thought.

“The biggest thing that surprised me was how basic financial information can lead to valuable change in the company […] And immediately when this was shared, light bulbs went off saying, ‘Hey, we should probably change the referral program a bit.’”

33:00 — Departmental Budgeting: A Granular Approach

McCarty discusses the granular approach to budgeting and planning for different departments at Qwick. He talks about the different considerations for each department, such as headcount, tools, and expenses, and how they budget on a city-by-city basis given their presence in 23 markets.

“Really it’s commissions. That’s like the longer conversation of how we do projects based on our revenue forecast, what our commissions are gonna be, and we do everything on a city-by-city basis.”

Full Transcript