Member Highlight: Stacey Naizer

Stacey Naizer has entrepreneurship in her blood. As the daughter and sister of entrepreneurs, she was accustomed to the rhythms of owning a business. Starting out as a corporate CPA, it didn't take long before she felt the itch to start her own accounting firm. As she entered the entrepreneurial space, she found herself more comfortable and inspired.

Even as a child, Stacey exhibited a remarkable talent for organization and an innate ability to rally people around causes she believed in. What set her apart was not just her aptitude for finance but her genuine compassion for those in need, demonstrating that her entrepreneurial spirit was as much about heart as it was about numbers.

Today, Stacey's values remain steadfast, mirroring the principles that have guided her throughout her life. With her expertise in financial problem-solving, her business Empowered Advisory & Accounting provides indispensable support to individuals and businesses alike.

Q: How did you get started in entrepreneurship?

A: I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. I thought it was normal to spend weekends helping pack and ship orders, or help with product designs. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized what a gift it was to have that exposure at a young age. Unfortunately, the company that my family ran eventually had to file bankruptcy. I saw first hand how that affected my family as well as the families our company employed. This developed a strong "why" inside my spirit that drove me to learn how to handle money, and how to "weather the storm." I went to school for Accounting, got an MBA with an emphasis in Organizational Development, became a CPA, and met some awesome future business partners while working in the corporate world. Although I gained so much wisdom from my time in corporate, I couldn't help but feel like something was missing. When the time was right I made the leap into business ownership and I haven't looked back. I feel "at home" in this space and love getting to help other entrepreneurs with their businesses every day.

Q: Who was the first person to encourage you to pursue entrepreneurship?

A: My brother Bryan always encouraged entrepreneurship. Now that I'm here I understand why; entrepreneurship is like a secret you have to experience first hand to understand. There is so much opportunity. There is also risk. Everyday you're faced with exhilarating opportunities but also some terrifying obstacles. Once you figure out how to balance the challenges, the sky's the limit.

Q: What did you want to be as a kid?

A: As a child, I was already an entrepreneur at heart. In elementary school, I started a club with my friends called "Kids of the Kommunity" (I know the name is awful, but I was 8, so cut me some slack). We volunteered at the local food bank every week during summer breaks. We also organized fundraisers and other events to help honor a classmate that passed away when we were in 5th grade. When I was a senior in high school, I was able to give a scholarship from the funds we raised to another classmate in memory of our classmate that died too young. I felt the most fulfilled when I found ways to positively influence my surroundings. I don't remember ever wanting to be a specific profession as a kid, but I do remember having a deep desire to help people.

Q: If you have kids, how do they describe what you do?

A: I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old; the first was born right before the pandemic started, and the second was born soon after so they actually have spent a fair bit of time with me in Zoom meetings. My 3 year old believes I am in meetings and count money all day (which isn't that far off). My 1 year old is completely uninterested in my work, but is VERY interested in the button on my power strip that turns off my computer.

Q: What do you wish people knew about your job/company/role?

A: With the declining market of CPAs, and the increasing market of small businesses, it is becoming a real challenge for entrepreneurs to find affordable accounting experts to partner with. At Empowered Advisory and Accounting, we are a very forward thinking, technology driven accounting firm that can step into the role of an entire accounting department for small businesses. We help business owners with everything from their transactional bookkeeping, business advisory, cash flow planning, tax strategy, tax prep, and more. The business model we have set up is allowing us to provide a very high quality service for a fraction of the cost of an in house CPA/CFO. Because we work with so many companies, we're able to offer our clients insights that an in house accountant would not have. Chances are, we've navigated the issue you're facing, because we've already worked through that same issue with another client. We have a passion for numbers, a passion for automation, and a passion for innovation, but at the end of the day we find joy in helping small businesses thrive. That's why I love my work so much.

Q: What's the best way you've been described during an introduction?

A: A few of my clients have told me that I'm their accountant/therapist, and it was once proposed that my job title should be "Chief Zen Officer." When I'm in advisory meetings with small business owners, I've found that there is a definite pattern of questions/concerns that surface. And many business owners question "Am I on the right track?". When I hear those questions, I go back to the facts in front of me; what do the financial statements look like, what strategy does this business have in place, are they taking a calculated risk or throwing caution to the wind? In most cases, the business owner is doing better than they think they are, but it's up to me to read between the lines, identify any underlying problems, and speak to the real issues at hand (or give credit where credit is due).

Q: How do you wish you were introduced?

A: My ideal intro would be: Stacey Naizer is a CPA and Managing Partner at Empowered Advisory and Accounting. Stacey grew up in a small business family, and learned first hand some of the struggles of small business ownership, sparking her interest in accounting. Stacey has a passion for helping small businesses navigate the unknown waters of entrepreneurialism, and develop systems and processes for scalability. In her free time, Stacey enjoys traveling, reading, creating spreadsheets for her household "for fun," and spending time with her husband and 2 young daughters.

Q: What is inspiring you lately?

A: I've been really inspired by how consistent (sometimes mundane) habits have such a powerful effect on your success. Habits that require accountability are particularly helpful. Knowledge is the easy part; the real challenge is having the discipline to follow through with what you know is the right thing. If you can set up the right foundation of habits, your ability/capacity to grow will skyrocket.

Q: What do you most want to be remembered for?

A: The most important thing I want to be remembered for is being present and loving in my family. Entrepreneurship can be all-consuming, but at the end of the day, my family is more important than my business. I hope that I can teach my girls that they get to define what life looks like for them, not society. A 9-5 job does not have to be their only option. They can find creative ways to pursue their passion but still hold boundaries for their health and wellbeing.

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