Lessons from Starbucks

Reading “Howard Schultz hands the ‘keys to Starbucks’ to incoming CEO and tech veteran Kevin Johnson” last week, I was reminded of the journey of Starbucks and the many business lessons to be learned.

As an avid reader of business books and an accountant working with small business owners – My favorite – from Onward-How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, Howard Schultz

“…enlightened me to my own shortcomings as a leader: I hadn’t delved far enough into the areas of the business that I was not comfortable with or had little innate interest in. I should have looked under the hood more often.”

What’s business lesson have you learned from Starbucks?

Data Tips – When More Is Less

Data Tips – When More Is Less

With today’s OCR technology, software integrations, automation and bank feeds we are using data differently. Today, more is less.

No longer do we look to consolidate or minimize. I remember when we used ‘generic’ vendors in vendors lists so you didn’t have every gas station in the area in the vendor list.

A frequent question today, is “What should I do about all these names coming thru my bank feed? I recommend accepting and adding them to your contacts and creating a bank rule. Why? More data can mean less work and greater efficiency.

Bank Feeds such as those in Xero and QuickBooks pull in data directly from your bank. Document Management Systems (DMS) like HubDoc convert invoices and receipts to data. Bill.com will route for approval and payment. These software provide you with vendor name, invoice/check numbers, transaction date, and amount. Data you don’t have to manually enter.

Here are a few tips to help you leverage more data:

Data Fields

To prevent integration errors, make sure to use fields for their designated purpose. Be precise. First Name is for First Name, not Company. Email is for email addresses and should be a correctly formatted email address.

When integrating software or validating data, incomplete or incorrectly formatted data will often generate errors. When the address or email field are not used properly they cannot be used by shipping integrations or Bill Pay programs such as Bill.com.  Taking the time to complete all the data fields fully and accurately when setting up new customers or vendors will allow you to leverage the data in multiple ways and with different integrations.


‘Names’ that come thru Bank Feeds may be very different than what’s in your list. Taking the time to pair these up using tools such as Bank Rules will increase efficiencies and save processing time. OCR technology may interpret names differently than how you have it setup. Run with it. Editing or changing the name is not recommended as the OCR will likely translate it the same way each time. Computers are nothing if not consistent.




These software have the ability to check for duplicates. One feature in HubDoc I enjoy is being notified that the Invoice number has already been posted BEFORE it posts to the accounting system.

If you do have to enter some data manually, enter the whole number. Don’t shorten it. Be consistent with numbering across multiple software as much as possible. Problems with duplicate transactions can occur when technologies scan the whole number and you shorten yours, duplication checking will miss it. Computers are precise and the two numbers are not the same.


Take the time when adding new vendors, customers and employees to complete all data fields and you will get the greatest return on leveraging this data across platforms. With well setup lists and well-designed workflows, data entry can be greatly reduced.

You can leverage the power of HubDoc to achieve consistent coding and save time by Configuring your integrations and using the ‘Save configuration’ and ‘Autosync’ features.






Cut your time on bill approval and payments by 50% with Bill.com.

More data today, means less time on data entry for you and more time to focus on growing your business.

Butterflies & Change

Butterflies & Change

Change is not always easy. Perhaps this is intentional as only after the struggle when the butterfly chrysalis opens is the true beauty appreciated.

Accounting continues to evolve and change. New software and new technology continues to advance at an incredible pace. It is changing the face of accounting as we know it. Our clients are changing software. Their needs are changing. They are looking at automation as a resource to fill gaps, reduce costs and enhance their current processes. They need new procedures. They need an Accountant; a Strategic Advisor.

We at SunDog Consulting are changing to help our clients meet these needs. Check out our new website. Subscribe to our blog to stay up on Small Business News, Solutions, Tips and Technologies. Let us hear from you on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as we embrace Change.

Bookkeeper or Accountant?

Bookkeeper or Accountant?

An often-asked question: “What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an Accountant?”  

Often used interchangeably, there is a difference in the primary roles of bookkeeper and accountants that business owners should understand.

Bookkeeping dates back to the late 1400’s when the double-entry bookkeeping  system fort racking business transactions, codified by Luca Pacioli  in 1494 in his book Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria and Proportioni et Porportionalita was published. The system provides the techniques for which businesses can follow transactions, generate statements of the organization and gain financial understanding.  Arguably the best place to glean a better understanding and to differentiate these roles you can still purchase his treatise on Amazon today.  For those of you not as interested in history and bookkeeping as I am, the short answer is one ‘keeps the books’ and the other ‘interprets them’.

The bookkeeper is responsible for the accurate and timely recording of the day-to-day transactions and activities of the business; purchases, sales, receipts, and payments. Bookkeepers process the data of business. They ‘code’. The live in the details of your business. Bookkeepers deal with the day-to-day head on.

Accountants on the other hand are big picture people. They verify the data and turn data into information and reports which they analyze. Financial statements tell a story that an accountant can read, understand and interpret to inform business owners of margins, trends, forecasts, cash flow and growth opportunities.

Both bookkeeper and accountant are concerned about the accuracy of the data and use various processes to check for errors and validate the data.

With today’s technology, the roles are changing as automation enhances the day to day tasks of keeping the books. Automation relieves the bookkeeper of some of the mundane task of data entry into the accounting system and at the same time enhances coding of data for greater efficiency and fewer errors. Integration of various systems makes this data available across multiple platforms providing business owners and their bookkeeper and accountant reports at their fingertips in real time. Valuable information to any business owner.


It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn from the holidays indulgences to getting fit. New Year’s resolutions are made to exercise more, get in shape, lose weight. If you were lucky enough to get a Fitbit for Christmas, you’ll love this.

The well-known App Integrator IFTTT recently featured Fitbit in its January newsletter along with other health-focused Applets to keep you accountable and help you reach your goals.

Speaking of being accountable, IFTTT helps enhance business workflows with Applets connecting Gmail , Outlook, Evernote, Box, Dropbox and beyond. Sync Outlook and Google Calendar so you don’t miss an appointment. Have routine email reports sent to Box for storage. Add a note to Evernote.

Whether for Fitness, Fun or Workflow Improvement; Find solutions for your favorite apps at IFTTT.

Google Chrome Tip of the Day

The best tip is the one that solves a pain point immediately, don’t you agree?

With 3 monitors and working in the cloud it has become routine for me to have multiple tabs open on multiple windows.

I also routinely, inadvertently close a tab I wish I hadn’t!!!!

PC Magazine just made my day recently when I found the solution in 32 Hidden Chrome Features That Will Make your Life Easier

Scrolling thru these 32 tips made my day better. Check out the slideshow and find a tip that will make your day.

Tracking Business Mileage

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about how difficult tracking business miles is and how often we forget to do it all together and then when year end rolls around…Yikes! 

There is an App for that that I love.

It remembers so you don’t have to and it’s well worth the cost pf $6.95 p/mth. It is always working in the background so I don’t have to remember to jot down mileage, where I went, was that business or personal? It remembers for me and if I forget it reminds me. It even reminded me on January 1st that I needed to log the miles on my vehicle. What’s not to like?

Save 20% (click here)

Already tried it and loved it? Want to share? Why not get paid to share? Click to take advantage of the Refer a Friend program! Share MileIQ, and earn $25 each Annual Premium subscription. Plus, each friend you refer will get started with 20% off an Annual Premium subscription. It’s a win-win!

We are SunDogs

CPA’s are focused on compliance and tax. Most accountants are more focused on ‘fixing’ data than interpreting data. Full Charge Bookkeepers are a thing of the past. Software promises a quick solution; but implementation is not easy and can be costly. Business owners are frustrated and overwhelmed with their accounting and don’t know where to turn. They are tired of business as usual. They want more. The world has changed, how we do business has changed, but the foundation remains. Good systems provide timely, relevant numbers upon which informed, strategic decisions can be made. As Pacioli stated in his 1494 Treatise without a good system, without timely numbers business owners understand, “they would have no rest and their minds would always be troubled.” Look 22 degrees distant, just left or right of the sun for the bright spot in accounting. Look for the SunDogs. Sundogs refract light to provide a different view. We’ve lived and worked in the business world. We know bookkeeping. We are accountant’s. We are strategic advisors. We are future ready. We embrace the efficiency and cost benefits of automation and integrated software solutions. We start at the foundation, study your workflows and core systems and weigh your needs. We work hand-in-hand to develop a shared understanding, determine the current situation, objective and goals. We collaborate. We listen. We design processes and procedures and research solutions. We assist with implementation and beyond. We are SunDogs

About Me

Caralee L. Valdez, Principal

An entrepreneur herself, Caralee knows the challenges faced by small businesses in developing accounting and business management systems. Caralee loves the ever-changing innovation that technology brings to accounting and business management software and has channeled this creativity into Accounting Software Consulting. Her strong accounting foundation, understanding of the workflows of small business, coupled with her love of accounting technology solutions gives her a unique insight in assisting clients in choosing the best technology solution for their business.

About Me

Carrie J. Goodman, MBA, Principal

Carrie brings to SunDog more than 20 years of experience in the business and financial world. Put together Carrie’s formal training in accounting and business administration, her experience as a consultant and instructor, and her knowledge of the day-to-day operations of a small business, and you have a person uniquely qualified in the development and implementation of management and accounting system. Carrie has a simple, logical approach to accounting and management systems and she is able to easily and effectively communicate with entrepreneurs as she helps them learn to “manage by the numbers.”

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