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STACEY KATAKURA

President & Founder, Accumulus Advisors LLC

Success:

Contracted by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center as a financial counselor

Stacey Katakura brings over 20 years of experience to the MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center as one of three financial counselors who advise clients on topics like financial transactions recording, financial report preparation, cash flow management and analysis, increasing access to capital, and taxes and other filings. She learned about the Center through a friend and mentee who serves on YWCA Oʻahu’s board of directors and recruited Stacey as a board member.

Upon graduating from the University of Southern California, Stacey spent nearly seven years in Los Angeles at Ernst & Young Global Limited—one of the Big Four accounting firms—where she focused on real estate tax and audit. She then returned home to Hawaii and was the chief financial officer at the Hawaii division of Forest City for 10 years during which the company made its foray into the state to redevelop the U.S. Navy and Marine housing. Stacey was later named president of HiAccounting, an outsourced accounting firm in Honolulu, where she launched the division and spent three years learning the ins-and-outs of this line of business.

In 2017, she started her own outsourced accounting and advisory firm Accumulus Advisors LLC. The company’s name is derived from a combination of the words “accounting” and “cumulus” (cloud) to reflect the company’s use of cloud-based and other technologies. The business now boasts 10 employees and an office in downtown Honolulu, and its clients include small- to medium-sized business and nonprofit organizations throughout Hawaii.

“We do everything an accounting department would do for a company for businesses that don’t have the finances to hire an accounting staff,” Stacey explained. “That includes accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash management, financial reporting, and tax filings.”

Stacey’s unique and diverse background also allows her to provide strategic financial planning, which sets the company apart from its competitors. She and her team of accountants perform advisory and strategic functions to better serve clients by helping them navigate through their business challenges.

“We’re more proactive versus reactive,” Stacey explained. “We use and analyze history to advise versus just data-gathering. That’s the part of being a CFO that I enjoyed, and I like to provide that added value to clients.”

Although accounting and real estate are traditionally male-dominated fields, Stacey has never let that be a barrier to her success.

“At a young age, my parents instilled in me to not feel limited by gender or race,” she said. “I’ve always lived my life not thinking I should be limited. It’s about attitude and mindset, and it’ll be good to see more women find their voice and not be afraid to speak up. I don’t let it bother me. I’ve always believed I can overcome most challenges.”

As a woman business owner, she’s most proud of being able to start and grow her company as well as the support she’s received. Stacey is grateful that she hasn’t had to do a lot of marketing as most of her business comes from referrals—a testament to the level of trust clients have in her and her company.

Stacey also enjoys being able to chart her own course and take on community-focused projects, like advising the Center’s clients—many of whom remind her of where she was a few years ago. And as much as she teaches clients, she also learns a great deal from them. “There are a lot of thriving entrepreneurs who have a great passion for serving the community, and it’s been very invigorating—the great minds these women have,” she said. “A lot of the clients I’ve counseled are on the East Coast, so it’s been interesting to be able to provide value from this little company in Hawaii.”

In line with her commitment to serve the community, Stacey plans to start a small business incubator program. Throughout her career, she’s met many businesspeople with a lot of potential who couldn’t afford accounting help and she wasn’t always able to take on pro bono work. She also knows there are many great college students with bright ideas and has welcomed some as interns. This sparked the idea for a program that would give interns the experience they need and desire as well as open their minds to other career opportunities by having them service small startups and nonprofits that aren’t able to afford Accumulus’ standard suite of services—a win-win situation.

Stacey also recently reactivated her CPA license in California and hopes to expand her company’s reach to clients outside of Hawaii.

To aspiring women entrepreneurs, Stacey offers the following advice: “What I see a lot, and even for myself, it was really hard to take the leap of faith to start a company, but it has been so rewarding and I don’t regret the decision to start my own company ever. I would love to see other women entrepreneurs take the chance and believe in themselves. It’s a hard decision to make but a very rewarding one. Also, talk to the right people, like the EWOC program. Be educated in what you need to do to start a business. Just getting into programs like these are really helpful in understanding what you need to do. Participating in a program like this makes it less scary and overwhelming.”