Melinda has accumulated over 25 years of experience managing and directing a small business. Her background in theater, her unbridled energy, and her thirst for financial knowledge enable her to quickly understand each client’s particular business needs.
Since founding ZümiFi Inc. (previously Phillips Business Consulting) in 2001, Melinda has helped hundreds of business owners through one-on-one consulting services, ongoing bookkeeping/accounting services, QuickBooks consultations, Cloud integration work, and through her popular, effective and inspirational financial education classes.
Her use of humor and common sense has helped a wide variety of business owners fully understand the financial relationships that exist and often drive their business.
From 1990 to 2000, Melinda was hired as the bookkeeper for The Balloon Lady®, the world’s premier balloon delivery and decór business. With 14 full-time staff people and over $1 million in annual sales, this first step in her career provided her with a unique, intensive education in how to successfully manage a fast-growing business, the unique personality of each client, and why customers choose to buy their products and services.
Previously, Melinda combined her deep, practical experience with a strong theoretical background, completing a Master of Science of Business Administration from S.F. State University with an emphasis on Business Analysis. She believes that her greatest strength is her ability to listen to the needs of business owners, and provide common sense, practical approaches to their challenges.
Her broad view on business is a direct result of her varied background. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Union College in Albany, NY, double majoring in Philosophy and Political Science. Upon graduation, she received a fellowship and pursued a 15-month independent study of Latin American political and street theater, traveling to Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Colombia.
When she’s not deeply engaged with her clients, she enjoys listening to blues or jazz music, cheering for the Stanford Women’s basketball team or the San Francisco Giants, or savoring time with her family.
Bookkeeping Account Manager
Malou joined ZümiFi Inc. in 2002. As a graduate of Secretarial Administration and having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy, she has worked in the field of accounting and bookkeeping in both service and retail industries since 1996.
She strives to provide excellent customer service and continually exceeds her clients’ expectations. As a Certified QuickBooks user, you would expect that Malou is extremely detail oriented. She is.
You would also expect that Malou is dedicated to helping her clients understand the challenges that their business face daily. She does these, too ––happily, promptly, and with a “can do” spirit.
Malou is always open to change, loves numbers and welcomes every opportunity for both personal and professional growth.
Working with ZümiFi has provided Malou with flexibility, the opportunity to practice decision-making, the freedom to discuss issues, the ability to solve problems, and the opportunity to benefit from an environment that focuses on team support to achieve great results.
Her personal interests include traveling, reading, cooking, relaxing, and enjoying quality time with her family and friends.
Cannabis Account Manager
Megan Bialas likes a good challenge. Already fluent in French, she’s now learning Russian and American Sign Language. Megan’s expertise as a former controller for a cannabis dispensary in Colorado positions her as ZumiFi’s leading expert on a complex industry. She adapts effortlessly to serve each client’s unique needs and is a trusted advisor on complicated matters. Megan’s portfolio includes cannabis retailers, food retailers, small manufacturers, and professional service firms throughout the US. Clients rely on Megan’s premier talent to deliver accurate and timely services. Those who work with Megan know she’s always available to explain the most complex concepts in a straightforward and clear manner.
“Communication is the key. What works for one person may not work for another. Clients know I’m here for them and ready to help anytime.”
Outside of the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband Carl and their young son Soren, and planning a family trip to Iceland.
Bookkeeping Account Manager
Jen Najar excels at building trust with every client she serves. She quickly recognizes a business’s unique needs and tailors her approach to fit its working style. A California native and bookkeeper since 2005, Jen’s experience with family-run businesses, commercial real estate, and consumer products give her the ability to support ZumiFi’s diverse client portfolio. What’s more, Jen considers herself a puzzle nerd and loves cleaning up and setting up books.
Clients, especially new business owners, enjoy her friendly and empathetic style: “I always try to put myself in other people’s shoes to get a better understanding of where they’re coming from. For example, a new client found that launching her business in December made it very hectic to get her books set up and finish taxes at the same time. Being available for phone calls to answer her questions helped ease her mind during this high-stress period.”
Jen delivers more than what clients expect and they trust her to “dig a little bit deeper and not do anything half way. I don’t want to just do a job and get it over it. I make sure clients always have everything they need.”
As an arts and music lover, Jen is learning the piano and can be found on weekends at a wide variety of live performance events. And as a perpetual kid at heart, Jen takes herself to Disneyland every chance she gets.
Bookkeeping Account Manager
Thanks to an English degree from Clemson University and expertise in sales, operations and accounting, Michelle Andersen is a master generalist and the Swiss Army Knife of bookkeepers at ZumiFi. Bookkeeping since 2002, she expertly maneuvers across a broad range of industries including a long engagement as a controller for a neuropsychiatry practice. Michelle excels at responsiveness, and has deep expertise in managing billing and full-service bookkeeping needs for not only professional service firms, but also retailers, small manufacturers, and real estate firms.
Clients trust that Michelle can quickly assess their problems, execute workable solutions, and put things in order. “If clients need something, they know they can come to me. I set their minds at ease and they have one less thing to worry about. They know that all is well with their books.”
She and husband Bryan are raising two future stars: dancer Rachel and Tae Kwon Do master Logan. Michelle dreams of a larger kitchen so she can whip up her stylish cakes for friends and family (chocolate and vanilla for kids, coffee flavor for Bryan).
Director of Operations
Aleisha Beckum is a problem solver who gets things done. Aleisha joined the ZumiFi team in June 2018, and serves as our Director of Operations. She leverages her MBA and her audit experience to ensure that we maintain consistent and very high standards. Aleisha’s love of business process improvement has optimized both clients and ZumiFi’s internal processes as well.
Aleisha has handled GAAP compliant books, financial analysis, audit and project management work since 2008. She loves making everyone understand they are important, and ensuring that their needs are met. In fact, Aleisha’s positive attitude and can-do spirit defines our strong collaboration and communication, both within the team as well as with our clients.
In Aleisha’s spare time she drag races most weekends in either a ‘68 Camaro or a ‘00 Camaro. Aleisha regularly beats the competition and reminds them not to underestimate her! She is passionate, direct and VERY motivated in all she does. “Do today what others don’t, so you can have tomorrow what others won’t” summarizes her consistent quest for excellence in all she does.