Skip to main content

Harvey L. Johnson, CPA, CGMA, MSA – 2016 40 Under 40 Honoree

17daa59 1  57ddbb87652f3

Harvey L. Johnson, CPA, CGMA, MSA

PBMares, LLP
Norfolk, Virginia



Aside from the accounting websites, which blog/website do you consider a must-read?

I think Zero Hedge is a great information website that gives a different perspective on the financial, economic and political landscape. I

In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?

I try to contribute by being an example to both my peers and staff as someone who has a good work/life balance.  People always talk about what a grind public accounting can be and how many hours we work. I learned a long time ago from a mentor of mine that no one chains you to your desk. No one is going to force you to work. Now I obviously make sure all my deadlines are responsibilities are met, but I use my time wisely and always make sure my family comes first. Especially with technology today and our ability to work remotely, but I try to never miss important events and times in my kids lives.

In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession?

I spent several years on the local VSCPA society chapter board, and I loved my time there. It’s a great service and really helps those in the profession get quality CPE they need to continue their practice while bringing together professionals to network and expand their circle of influence in the community.

In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?

I’ve been really searching for a more fulfilling role in the volunteer/service aspect of my life. Starting in January of this year I started volunteering at the local children’s hospital in the child life services area. I try to spend a couple hours a month volunteering. Our role is basically to help the kids cope with their situation by being a distraction from whatever they may be going through. We play games, talk, and sometimes just watch TV together.   It’s great because sometimes the parents just need a break, and sometimes the parents can’t be there at the hospital so it’s great to be there and help support them.

What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?

Perhaps not in the next 3 years, but in the next 5-8 years I think the biggest change is going to come in the way millennials work and chose to do business. If I were starting a firm today I’d spend very little money on physical offices. From a staff perspective, millennials will want more flexibility in their working environment so the need to have an office where everyone goes too will become much less relevant. Staff will chose to do more work remotely. From a business perspective, millennial business owners will be less concerned with face to face meetings, and more virtual meetings via skype, google hangout and FaceTime.

How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?

More and more of my work is occurring in the IT space, so I’d like to get involved at the AICPA level on the Service Organization Control task force.

What is your career philosophy?

I’m a big believer in Visualization techniques and meditation. I know from first hand experience that if you set a goal, believe in it and yourself, and work towards it everyday (even just a little), that there is literally nothing in this life that you can’t accomplish. The problem is most people don’t’ set specific goals for themselves, and even fewer have the passion about it to follow them through. I spend a lot of time each year reflecting on my life and what I want out of it from all the different spheres of my life (self, family, faith, career and community/service). I set overarching goals in each area and then individual goals/steps I’m going to take to achieve them.

Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life.

My father use to tell me that most people don’t recognize opportunity when it knocks because it’s usually dressed and overalls and looks like work. I learned a lot from him about work ethic, and what it takes to succeed. For me personally, it’s translated into one simple principle, you may not be the smartest person in the room, but you can always be one of the hardest working people. A strong work ethic and a good attitude will take you a long way in any career field.



Learn more about this year’s 40 Under 40 Honorees.