Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Continuing Suckage of QuickBooks 2010 and Intuit

Remember when Ross Perot was running for president and kept talking about the "sucking sound" of jobs headed south? Well, if you are still hearing a sucking sound, it's probably the sound of Intuit trying to vacuum a few more dollars out of your bank account.

In a down economy, Intuit has decided that now is the time to raise their Direct Deposit fees from $1.05 to $1.25. How stupid is this?

When I signed up for Direct Deposit with QuickBooks, it cost 99 cents. This made sense, given the "cost" of driving down to the bank to deposit a check I was writing to myself. When the price went to $1.05, I thought it was a stupid move. The economy was crashing and Intuit was raising prices. Not smart. LOWER the prices and get more people who were struggling to make ends meet to sign up for DD. But they didn't do that.

Now the economy is still a shambles and the price is going up 20% to $1.25 on August 23rd, according to the email I just got. This is even more stupid I feel, because QuickBooks is in the middle of a trial program to offer Direct Deposit (actually ACH) for payments to vendors. This would allow you to not pay the vendor by check, but just have the money transferred from your account to the vendor's. So you would save the money on the stamp and the money on paying for a physical check. The cost of "consumables" would be eliminated. But at $1.25 per payment, is it really worth it? I think not, especially given that Costco sells five hundred checks for about $38 with an Executive Membership. That's 7.6 cents per check. Five hundred "nice" envelopes are $20.23 at Costco.com. That's 4 cents per envelope. A stamp is still 44 cents. So for less than half of what Intuit wants to charge you for Direct Deposit, you could mail a physical check. Nuts, huh?

Intuit must really believe in that old saying attributed to P.T. Barnum's "There's a sucker born every minute." And in doing so, they are really not just alienating customers, but destroying their market. Over and over, people come to my original post at http://zackcompany.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-quickbooks-2009-sucks-let-me-count.html to complain about their issues using QuickBooks, but I see few or no changes in the latest version.

I received a review copy of QuickBooks 2010 early in the year. I put off installing it, because I didn't want the headaches I knew would be involved. And there were headaches. In fact, QuickBooks hates to install and it hates to update. From an operational point of view, the program has no noteworthy improvements. While I believe Direct Deposit/ACH payment for vendors WOULD be an improvement if the price weren't so high. And I do believe that the addition of making your payroll deposits via QuickBooks electronically is an improvement, as well as the filing of payroll forms. But the process of getting up and running on that was a headache. I had to "enroll" twice with the IRS via QuickBooks, even though I was already an EFTPS subscriber.

On two separate occasions, the release of an "update" to QuickBooks broke my installation, requiring calls to Tech Support and the Office of the President to get the problems resolved.

On one occasion, the changing of the download URL for one of my credit cards (Advanta) seemed to have broken the download feature for that card, which required a call to Tech Support and an elaborate process of exporting the list of accounts, editing it in Excel, and importing it. All this because QuickBooks would not "let go" once a download failed. There was no override that would let a user deactivate an account in QuickBooks if the download failed. Again, nuts, eh?

Adding twenty cents to the cost of Direct Deposit is definitely the definition of adding insult to injury. I think what I will do is simply use my bank's functionality to withdraw money from my business account to my personal account and record a paycheck. Then I will have saved myself the trouble of printing and depositing a check, as well as paying for Direct Deposit. Take THAT, Intuit!

Z

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