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Stacey Jo Johnson

Stacey Jo Johnson is a finance and accounting powerhouse with three decades of experience and a reputation for delivering results for companies that stretch from the heart of the Midwest to the shores of Israel and industries that span from real estate and government to IT and nonprofits, from aerospace and education to multinational insurance groups and global sports companies. With a career that includes roles as accounting manager, financial controller, director of finance, and CFO, among others, Stacey’s leadership skills and talent for solving even the most complex financial problems give her clients a competitive edge. Case in point: she effectively managed a $26 million budget across 31 locations for an Ohio company and over $1 billion in transactions and corporate value for a large multinational. Add to that her uncommon aptitude for financial technology, including Sage, SAP, NetSuite, QuickBooks, and others, and it should come as no surprise that so many companies and clients entrust Stacey with their very livelihoods.


With a lifelong passion for finance, Stacey’s journey began at Cleveland State University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a BSBA. Her natural skill with financial analysis landed her a job as a staff accountant with the YMCA of Cleveland in 1992—long before she completed her bachelor’s degree—and the first chapter of her career took off. As she was making a name for herself as an astute financial architect for the likes of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), she pursued her MBA in management accounting from her undergrad alma mater, again graduating with distinction, as summa cum laude. Just two years later, she obtained her CPA certification, followed quickly by her Six Sigma Green Belt in 2007—and launched into the international realm as a financial controller in Tel Aviv, Israel, for the next seven years.


In 2014, Stacey took her extensive experience and began serving as an independent CFO for a host of clients, with a specific focus on small- to mid-sized companies. From her Ohio headquarters, she currently serves as a full-time contract CFO for a portfolio of nine companies, has served clients in the government and in the public and private sectors on a project basis for the past seven years, also traveling the country as the finance director of a private equity group. Stacey provides financial planning and forecasting, cash flow statements, auditing, accounting, and budgeting. In addition, as a master of financial software, she provides implementation, internal controls, project management, training, and maintenance of master data. We sat down with Stacey to learn more about her work and her plans for the future.


You have a reputation for being a “fixer.” Can you give us an example of the types of problems you solve for clients?


I am. I’m a fixer. For example, when companies lack organization, I quickly identify and resolve their problems, redesigning business processes, applying best practices to increase profits, addressing daily issues, and implementing changes as needed to help them thrive. My clients have both immediate and long-term needs, and I’ve worked with many of them for years. They may call on me to put out an urgent fire or to manage their finances on a consistent basis to ensure long-term stability and to prevent any unexpected fires, so to speak.


What are some of the most common issues that businesses encounter and how do you help them overcome them?

For both large and small companies, cash flow and budgeting are the most common issues, and both affect spending. When a department is overspending and not managing the staff, it can be detrimental as there won’t be enough people to manage the workload. For example, if they’re overspending on inventory, but not managing it properly, if I hire an inventory manager, we can keep costs down and manage inventory properly. This gives them more money to spend elsewhere, and we put an approval process in place to stop the overspending, adding internal controls. This can work to financially stabilize a company of any size, increase their profits, and/or allow investment in expansion. I also suggest we set budgets for specific departments or people based upon credit card usage—placing limits and requiring a second authorization for purchases to manage expenses. I look at their past spending, essentials, nonessentials, what has led to sales, and what has not. I help them compare their spending margins, audit their monthly and quarterly spending until it’s acceptable, and then implement a process, technology, or oversight to ensure spending continues to be monitored.


You’re an expert in the use of myriad financial and accounting software programs. How does your unique combination of finance and IT skills play a critical role in the success of companies?


Because I can teach others how to navigate the software, use it, and create shortcuts to get things done more efficiently, companies don’t have to deal with the frustrations that come with learning these things on their own. I’ve implemented SAP and taught proprietary in-house software for both massive corporations and small businesses. I’ve also taught non-accounting and finance staff how to use software to budget and forecast by creating desktop manuals and providing in-class instruction. For example, I executed a project at a large company that had propriety in-house software, but the IT department was not using the budgeting and forecasting module. I created a desktop manual and taught budget and forecasting classes to 46 IT managers so that they could execute these financial activities with ease. In doing so, the company was able to see the spending and work within the software, which kept costs down by reducing headcount, allowing for proper spending, and adhering to the budget and forecast on time.


What do you enjoy most about your work?


I enjoy being able to travel and to work with clients all over the country. It’s immensely rewarding to be able to use my expertise to make a difference and see the successes within my staff and within companies. I enjoy serving the many clients with whom I work, and I’ll continue to do so. I’m also frequently approached by mid-sized to Fortune 500 firms to join their ranks, and if I find the perfect fit, I’d love to contribute my skills as part of a larger team.



Stacey Jo Johnson

Chief Financial Officer