Our Staff

Confident, well-trained and ready to help.

Executive Staff

Emily Zizzi, CPA
I enjoy solving your individualized tax puzzle.
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Title:

President and Tax Director

Hometown:

Houston
Emily Zizzi, CPA
I enjoy solving your individualized tax puzzle.

Relationships are the cornerstone to Emily’s approach to business. She loves collaborating with clients and their financial and professional advisors. Open dialogue, ongoing relationships, and teamwork put clients in the position to pay the lowest tax allowable.

“It’s our relationships with our clients and their advisors that allow us to help them lower their tax burden and achieve their financial goals. If a client’s child is starting college, or if one of their businesses is about to expand, those things play a part in our decision-making. Having an open dialogue about what is going on in their lives helps us save them the most in taxes.”

Emily first started with the Byrne CPA Firm in 1995. She left the firm in 2000 to earn her Bachelor’s degree and serve our country in the FBI. Seven years later, she returned to Byrne, this time working remotely from Phoenix, Arizona. In 2014, she returned to Mississippi to be closer to family, and has since aided the now Byrne | Zizzi CPA firm in providing the latest tax knowledge and innovative tax strategies to clients in Northeast Mississippi and surrounding areas.

“A major tenet of our firm is being knowledgeable beyond the bare minimum of what’s required. We stay ahead of the curve when it comes to shifting tax laws and the effects they have on our clients, and we bring big ideas to a small town environment.”

Education:

Bachelor of Arts — University of West Florida
Master of Science in Accountancy — University of Phoenix

Certifications:

  • CPA
  • Member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 15 years
Tom Byrne Jr., CPA
I listen to learn your goals and aspirations.
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Title:

Chairman + Senior Tax Director Tax-Wise Financial Strategies

Hometown:

Houston
Tom Byrne Jr., CPA
I listen to learn your goals and aspirations.

Tom Byrne has always been drawn to the concrete nature of numbers but his passion is looking for the larger picture and asking why.

“The numbers are a great foundation for what we do but being able to see the whole picture and having a feel for how a client’s needs work together I think defines us.”

Tom’s goal is to listen to his clients and their other professional advisors to make sure everyone is following the same tax-wise strategy.

“It’s a privilege in public accounting to be able to work with people who have tremendous businesses. Our clients are incredibly accomplished and build these fantastic businesses that I probably couldn’t build, but we get to come in and play a key role that makes such a difference. I don’t want to have this kind of relationship one day each year; I want to watch our clients grow and develop all year.”

He isn’t interested in doing things the way they’ve always been done, unless he knows that is the best way to do it. Tom is interested in bringing high-quality, innovative accounting and tax services to Northeast Mississippi clients who would otherwise not have that access. Tom wants to innovate the way his clients’ money is handled so the end result is more than filing a tax return or preparing financial statements. His aspiration is a successful business relationship. Byrne | Zizzi CPA’s goal is to make a client’s plans and strategies as tax-wise as possible.

Education:

Bachelor of Science and Commerce in Accounting — Spring Hill College

Certifications:

  • CPA

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 30 years
  • Arthur Anderson – 5 years
  • Cooper Industries – 4 years

Tax Staff

Amie Murphy, EA
IRS Negotiations + Tax Strategist
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Title:

IRS Negotiations + Tax Strategist

Hometown:

Saltillo
Amie Murphy, EA
I talk to the IRS so clients don’t have to.

Amie has worked inside government financial institutions and knows exactly how frustrating paying taxes can be. She knows the interworkings of the system and uses that to her advantage when advocating for clients.

“I listen to the issues our clients have and take them before the IRS or appropriate state agencies. I speak with these agencies so our clients do not have to.”

Amie works to dispute any suspect tax overages or penalties assessed of Byrne | Zizzi CPA clients and makes sure all returns make it through.

Education:

Bachelor of Science in Accounting — Mississippi College

Certifications:

  • Enrolled Agent

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 3 years
  • Department of Revenue – 5 years
  • Internal Revenue Service – 7 years
Christyn Shields
Tax Strategist
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Title:

Tax Strategist

Hometown:

Tupelo
Christyn Shields
I'm the first person the clients see.

Christyn is the face of Byrne | Zizzi CPA’s Tupelo office, greeting each client who walks through the door, managing Emily Zizzi’s calendar and sorting any tax information that comes to the office. She helps keep client and accountant details organized and the office running.

“To have been established in 1961, this is a very youthful firm with an innovative spirit. Byrne | Zizzi CPA has a keen focus on improvement, growth and staying relevant. Innovation is not something the accounting industry is known for.”

Christyn helps shape each interaction clients have with the Byrne | Zizzi CPA staff and manages the details of projects so clients feel taken care of.

Education:

Bachelor of Accounting - University of Mississippi School of Accountancy

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 3 years
Emily Jo Funderburk, MBA, CVA, EA
Special Projects Coordinator
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Title:

Special Projects Coordinator

Hometown:

Tupelo
Emily Jo Funderburk, MBA, CVA, EA
I keep people out of trouble.

Emily Jo performs valuations for Byrne | Zizzi CPA clients but also finds herself touching much of the work in one way or another. She approaches her work and clients from a place of empathy.

“I like helping our clients because everyone has to deal with taxes and money so it’s a common experience. I know if I don’t have a good experience I’m not going back, so I want to make sure they have a good experience and stay in good standing with the government.”

Emily Jo is instrumental when Byrne | Zizzi CPA clients are buying and selling companies or gifting property.

Education:

Master of Business Administration

Certifications:

  • Certified Valuation Analyst

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 7 years
Hannah Stone
Tax Strategist
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Title:

Tax Strategist

Hometown:

Houston
Hannah Stone
I help people keep money in their pockets.

Hannah combines a love for helping people with her aptitude for finance. She realizes that one of the most helpful things she can do is to help people manage their money in order to alleviate their stress.

“We work as a team to help our clients get the best possible tax results.”

Hannah wanted to be a part of Byrne | Zizzi CPA because of its solid reputation. She is committed to maintaining that reputation by helping clients get the best tax rate possible.

Education:

Associate in Accounting — Savannah Technical College

Experience:

  • Banking & Finance – 4 years
Marie Harrington
Advanced Tax Specialist
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Title:

Advanced Tax Specialist

Hometown:

Aberdeen
Marie Harrington
I help people save and plan for the future.

Marie never wanted to be anything other than an accountant, just like her mom. When she moved back home from Memphis, Marie applied to and was hired by a firm in Aberdeen, Mississippi. The firm was then purchased by Byrne | Zizzi CPA. When she saw that firm begin innovating after being acquired by Byrne | Zizzi CPA, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

“Seeing the bigger, better opportunities our growing firm can offer our clients, beyond just the tax return, is exciting. We’re fortunate to have this level of firm in Aberdeen.”

Marie helps arrange her clients’ financial information into the strategy that will minimize their taxes most.

Education:

Bachelor of Business Administration — Mississippi State University

Experience:

  • Accounting – 21 years
  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 14 years
Taryn Pearson
Advanced Tax Strategist
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Title:

Advanced Tax Strategist

Hometown:

Oxford
Taryn Pearson
I save money.

Taryn always knew she wanted to work with finances. That’s why she started managing the financial records in the dentist office where she was first hired as a dental assistant.

“I’m a nerd. I’ve always known I wanted to work with finances.”

She took her passion to Byrne | Zizzi CPA because of the company’s emphasis on client relationships and work-life balance. Taryn believes maintaining a relationship with clients prepares her to better answer their questions and meet their tax needs.

Education:

Bachelor of Accounting — Mississippi State University
Master of Accounting — University of Phoenix

Experience:

  • Accounting – 11 years
Tiffany Bean
Tax + Financial Accounting Analyst
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Title:

Tax + Financial Accounting Analyst

Hometown:

Houston
Tiffany Bean
I keep my clients going.

Tiffany loves the diversity that small-town accounting affords her — meeting with people of all businesses and backgrounds.

“I work with everyone from pig farmers and factory workers to doctors and business owners. I get to see what different people do and help keep their businesses going.”

Tiffany started managing the books of a small local business at the age of 16 years and has been taking care of other people’s finances ever since.

Education:

Associate Degree — Itawamba Community College

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 17 years
Tom Steeno, CPA
Tax Strategist
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Title:

Tax Strategist

Hometown:

St. Louis, Missouri
Tom Steeno, CPA
I help people and businesses prepare their taxes.

Tom’s favorite part of his job is putting people at ease when it comes to their taxes. He said it’s scary for a lot of taxpayers – after all, they are handing over their hard-earned dollars.

I enjoy helping clients better understand how taxes work and understand how we’re helping them.

Tom likes working with the tight-knit team of Byrne | Zizzi. He’s there for his clients all year, not just during tax season, to assist with payroll needs, bookkeeping, financial reporting, and any other matters that need attention.

Byrne | Zizzi will never leave you in the dark. We’re here every step of the way.

Byrne | Zizzi is interested in looking at the bigger picture, rather than preparing as many tax returns as possible.

Education:

Bachelor of Accountancy — University of Mississippi
Master of Accountancy– University of Mississippi

Certifications:

  • Certified Public Accountant

Experience:

  • Public Accounting – 5 years

Professional:

  • Member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member of Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Treasurer of the NW Chapter of MSCPA

Financial Reporting Staff

Allison Garner, CPA
Financial Reporting Specialist
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Title:

Financial Reporting Specialist

Hometown:

Grenada
Allison Garner, CPA
I organize the financial information of our clients.

Allison works with Byrne Zizzi’s financial reporting group. She prepares the financial statements, monthly management reports, sales and use tax returns, and performs all aspects of payroll services.

“I create financial statements using all of the raw financial information our clients accumulate throughout the year. I enjoy creating a product and providing a service that is valued by our clients.”

Her career in corporate accounting has made Allison a stickler for structure and organization — a perfect fit for Byrne | Zizzi. It has also given her a unique perspective, one which allows her to see holes and inefficiencies from a different angle.

Education:

Bachelor of Accountancy — University of Mississippi
Master of Accountancy — University of Mississippi

Certifications:

  • Certified Public Accountant

Experience:

  • Corporate Accounting – 7 years

Professional:

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Industry Committee – Current Millennial Chairman
  • Mississippi Young CPA Network – Board of Directors, Current President
  • Past Vice President-President Elect & Secretary
  • Northwest Chapter of the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants – Current President
  • Past Vice President-President Elect & Chapter Representative to the MSCPA Board
  • Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance
  • Graduate of the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants Leadership Academy V
  • Graduate of the Leadership Lafayette Program 2016
  • Young Professionals of Oxford – Board Member
Michael Ross, CPA
Director of Financial Reporting
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Title:

Director of Financial Reporting

Hometown:

Tupelo
Michael Ross, CPA
I listen and solve problems.

Michael spent his whole career working in the banking and gaming industries, but when he moved to Tupelo he wanted to use his CPA license to help the public.

“The fact that this accounting firm provides more than just tax, but also financial reporting services, allows me to educate and help our business owner clients. I’m always looking for ways to educate and equip people to make better, more efficient decisions.”

Michael coordinates Byrne | Zizzi CPA’s financial reporting staff and makes sure every client has a neat, organized set of financial statements so financial reporting and tax strategies flow smoothly.

Education:

Bachelor of Science in Accounting — University of South Alabama

Certifications:

  • CPA

Experience:

  • Banking and Finance – 16 years
  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 3 years
Melissa Fulgham
Financial Accounting Analyst
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Title:

Financial Accounting Analyst

Hometown:

Tupelo
Melissa Fulgham
I keep track of people's money.

Melissa actively manages the month-to-month payroll and financial statements of Byrne | Zizzi CPA clients.

“My job is to keep everything straight on our side — communicating with clients to make sure their records match our records and look the way they need to.”

Melissa brings 14 years of managing the day-to-day operations of a local small business to the Byrne | Zizzi CPA team.

Education:

University of Mississippi School of Accountancy

Certifications:

  • Notary Public

Experience:

  • Small Business Accounting – 3 years
  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 3 years
Michelle Hurst
Payroll Specialist
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Title:

Payroll Specialist

Hometown:

Houston
Michelle Hurst
I make sure everyone is happy and paid.

Michelle makes it her personal mission to see that her clients’ employees are paid correctly and paid on time.

“When you’re dealing with other people’s money, you want to make sure it’s done right.”

She manages the taxes and employee payroll for Byrne | Zizzi CPA clients, making sure her clients are in good standing with their employees and their employees are in good standing with their taxes.

Experience:

  • Payroll Management – 25 years
Scott Fleming, CPA, MBA
Business Intelligence Analyst
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Title:

Business Intelligence Analyst

Hometown:

Tupelo
Scott Fleming, CPA, MBA
I use data to help company leaders steer to a more profitable future.

Scott’s focus is business intelligence, an emerging field within consulting services that analyzes clients’ financial architectures – the raw data – to correlate outcomes with their business activities and deliver insights aimed at achieving defined goals. It’s about more than just the tactical considerations of cost controls, data collection, or cash management; business intelligence is about creating and executing complex strategies, responding quickly to changing conditions, and staying on target. Scott seeks to use the accounting and related data to support company leaders with actionable intelligence.

“Every company leader can learn to use its data to create accurate reports, design realistic budgets, and make better decisions.”

Scott helps translate accounting language into financial ratios that define a company’s baseline profitability, cash flow, and growth rate into a plan of action for the future; skills that require the same discipline, commitment to excellence, and military precision that Scott developed as a U.S. Marine.

Education:

MBA in Finance — Lee Graduate College at UNLV

Certifications:

  • CPA

Experience:

  • Financial & Business Analyst – 15 years
  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 2 years
Stacy Whitten
Financial Accounting Analyst
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Title:

Financial Accounting Analyst

Hometown:

Tupelo
Stacy Whitten
I organize business transactions.

When she’s at work, Stacy cares about three things: clients, accuracy and efficiency.

“I’m an accounting nerd. I’ve always enjoyed it, and I find numbers interesting.”

As a friendly, self-proclaimed accounting nerd, Stacy is a perfect fit for her role: helping business owner clients keep their books organized. She is tasked with properly classifying expenses and income; she then follows up with updated financial reports.

Education:

Associate of Accounting — Itawamba Community College
Bachelor’s Degree — University of Incarnate Word

Certifications:

  • Notary Public

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 3 years

Administrative Staff

Ashleigh Clem
Tax Service Coordinator
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Title:

Tax Service Coordinator

Hometown:

Houston, Texas
Ashleigh Clem
I work to understand where you are coming from.

Ashleigh Clem is the first point of contact when it comes to compiling and organizing a client’s tax information. She works with the client to help them gather all of the information the tax preparer needs. Clients who need tax returns prepared often meet with Ashleigh to get the project started. She organizes and files all of the information related to the client’s tax return for the tax preparer. Through the rest of the process, she keeps the lines of communication between the client and the tax preparer open.

“I work to understand where each client is coming from and then use that understanding to customize the tax preparation services we provide. It helps me better serve them when I can truly evaluate their needs. Knowing their expectations allows us to meet and exceed them.”

As our clients change, Ashleigh is there to continually update their relevant tax information and ensure they are getting the best service that Byrne | Zizzi can offer.

Education:

AA in Psychology — Gulf Coast State College
Patricia Archer
Chief Administrative Officer
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Title:

Chief Administrative Officer

Hometown:

Houston
Patricia Archer
I oversee the entire administrative function.

Patricia has always excelled at numbers and math, and went into accounting straight out of high school. A true people person, she quickly added human resource skills to her already strong accounting background. Her combined skill set enables Patricia to manage the administrative aspects of the firm while also functioning as a calming presence in the office, keeping things on track and making other employees’ days go smoothly. She understands that the relational aspect of her position is vital.

“As crazy as public accounting can be, we are very committed to providing work-life integration. We want people to buy in to what we are doing. We want our staff to feel they can have a career with us and not just a job.”

Patricia is committed to Byrne | Zizzi CPA’s vision for the future and is excited about the direction they are headed. She is proud of their staff and looks forward to the opportunity to mentor them and grow the company.

Education:

Bachelor of Accounting — Mississippi State University

Experience:

  • Accounting & Human Resources – 21 years
  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 16 years
Bridgette Kitchens
Client Services Coordinator
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Title:

Client Services Coordinator

Hometown:

Knoxville
Bridgette Kitchens
I do organizational and preparation work so our professionals can do their jobs more efficiently.

Bridgette sets up Byrne | Zizzi’s tax experts for success. She takes care of the details and the office tasks such as answering phones, making deposits, scheduling appointments, and processing documents.

“We understand the fact that we are dealing with our clients’ livelihoods. Because we know how disruptive a mistake can be, we do everything for a reason, and we do it properly.”

Though still fresh to the Byrne | Zizzi staff, Bridgette quickly found herself at home. Byrne | Zizzi puts its clients at ease with their tax situations, and makes them feel confident moving forward.

At Byrne | Zizzi, we make clients comfortable, and that’s almost as important as doing good work. They feel good about their taxes when they leave, and we feel good when they’re grateful for what we do.

Experience:

  • Office administration for Renasant Bank and lead bank teller and training coordinator for Wells Fargo – 4 years
Carol Byrne
Tax Desk
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Title:

Tax Desk

Hometown:

Houston
Carol Byrne
I service our clients and support the staff.

Carol is the last stop for tax filings. She finalizes returns and ensures clients have access to all the tax information they need through the Byrne | Zizzi CPA client portal.

“When Tom and I decided to move back to Houston, Mississippi, we wanted to be sure we could be heavily involved in our business and heavily involved in the community. We wanted to know our clients and their children in a way that really allowed us to plan for their future.”

She understands the need for small-town businesses to have full access to their accounting team and the innovative accounting solutions they provide.

Education:

Bachelor of Science in Business/Marketing — University of Mississippi

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 9 years
Ginger Young
Client Services Coordinator
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Title:

Client Services Coordinator

Hometown:

Houston
Ginger Young
I keep up with the hundreds of tax documents that come through our office.

Ginger Young is an office administrative veteran. The tax service involves a large number of informational documents; she scans, faxes, and stores these items appropriately. She makes sure clients have the materials they need based on their goals.

“We make our clients happy because we work with their particular situation in mind. Our work is suited to them, and that gives them confidence in us.”

It may sound meticulous, but Ginger thrives on structure, on filing and processing information the right way every time. As the work flow leading up to tax season increases, she knows she can count on her Byrne | Zizzi coworkers to keep operations running efficiently and to keep work sharp for Byrne | Zizzi clients.

Experience:

  • Office administrative work at Martin and Jones Furniture Manufacturing – 10 years
  • Office work at Perfect Pack Sweet Potato Farm – 2 years
Kayla Simpson
IT Administrator, Client Services Coordinator
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Title:

IT Administrator, Client Services Coordinator

Hometown:

Saltillo
Kayla Simpson
I am here to make things as easy as possible for our clients.

Kayla is your point person for everything tech. Byrne | Zizzi uses the latest tax preparation and financial reporting software from Thompson Reuters and Intuit and functions fully within a cloud based network managed by Xcentric.

As a customer, you are given access to a client portal, making sharing and receiving information quick, easy, and secure. Kayla is there for the initial setup of your portal, to offer alternative methods for sharing information, and to answer any questions you may have to the best of her ability.

“We anticipate the client’s needs, make them comfortable with the software, and provide follow-up.”

With plenty of administrative experience under her belt, Kayla loves being with an agency that goes above and beyond for its clients. Issues can come up any time; Kayla takes pride in getting you back on track.

As much as we put into the clients, Byrne | Zizzi puts just as much into its employees. They set each staff member and our clients up for success.

Experience:

  • Regional Training Manager for the Darden group – 6 years
  • Wireless Department for Sam's – 2 years
Leslie Stone
TaxDesk
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Title:

TaxDesk

Hometown:

Houston
Leslie Stone
I'm the communications hub.

Most Byrne | Zizzi CPA interactions begin and end with Leslie. She gets people where they need to go and connects them to the person who can best help.

“I think showing our clients we care about what they need and getting it done fast makes them happy and goes a long way.”

Leslie connects the calls, relays client concerns and keeps everyone in line, with the client’s satisfaction as her number one goal.

Education:

Associate in Business and Marketing Management — East Mississippi Community College

Experience:

  • Client Communications – 9 years
  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 5 years
Misty Poteete
Tax Services Coordinator
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Title:

Tax Services Coordinator

Hometown:

Houston
Misty Poteete
I build trust.

Misty is the Houston office’s front line. She collects all tax information, whether through mail, emails or in person, and starts the tax process. She electronically files all tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. She knows it takes a great deal of trust for someone to hand over all their financial information, and because of that she gives them her full attention.

“Our clients work with us because we build trust, we get back to them with answers and take care of their needs as timely as we can. A client once said he could kiss me for something I did. He appreciated us because we really do take care of our clients.”

Misty has to keep open lines of communication with Byrne | Zizzi CPA clients so she can keep all of the tax documents up to date, whether because of the birth of a child or a business acquisition.

Experience:

  • Byrne | Zizzi CPA – 6 years