Friday, September 24, 2010

QuickBooks Direct Deposit for Vendors...Sucks!

Ah, Intuit, the place where programmers dream up ideas and they get implemented without ever asking actual businesspeople how they do business.

Some months ago, I got an email asking me to participate in a beta test for Direct Deposit for Vendors, a service I had actually once emailed Intuit about and asked they implement in QuickBooks.  Because of this email, I was contacted to become a beta tester.  I declined, because I didn't want the headache of trying to fix Intuit's problems for them.  I get enough experience doing that just from working with the release copy!

And today I found a gigantic failure on the part of QuickBooks Direct Deposit for Vendors:  Apparently you can only assign one checking account for Direct Deposit use.  So if you are an attorney and you have multiple checking accounts, say for trusts and estates, etc., and you want to use Direct Deposit with each of those accounts, you cannot.  If you are a literary agent and have separate accounts for clients funds and operating funds, you cannot run your payroll through your operating account and use Direct Deposit and also pay your clients out of your client account using Direct Deposit.  You'll have to transfer funds from the client account to your operating account and do the DD from there.  Of course, if you are a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives, you will have just violated the Canon of Ethics by co-mingling client funds with your agency's funds.  Suddenly I'm very glad I only rolled out this option to a select few clients and not the entire client list.

Many corporations maintain separate accounts for payroll use and vendor payment use, so it is simply stunning and even downright stupid that Intuit has overlooked the need to be able to process Direct Deposit payments from multiple accounts from within QuickBooks.  Do they really think businesses have just one checking account?  Do they ever interview actual business people and ask them how they work?  Have they ever actually hired anyone from outside the company who has worked in small business and who genuinely understands the needs of the small business community?  I have my doubts.

One ray of sunshine in this entire mess is that while I was ranting on the line with the payroll service representative in Manila (yes, the one in the Philippines), the call was interrupted by another person who informed me that she was the Director of Customer Service.  As luck would have it, she just happened to be visiting the call center in Manila and monitoring my call.  Crazy timing, huh?  She was very nice, admitted her technological knowledge was not up to the task and offered to transfer me to someone who could help, while she stayed on the line.

But in another example of the issues with putting customer service and technical support offshore, the supervisor who got on the line proceeded to go through a check list and reassured me she could solve my issue.  Then she asked to put me on hold.  The next voice was the Director of Customer Service, asking if she could call the Product Manager in Mountainview and explore my issue, because it appeared that what I wanted couldn't be done.  And she agreed it should be done, that the service should be available through two accounts.  Which was wonderful to hear, but it would have been nicer to hear how I could do it today.  She offered me her direct line and email address and to find out when the feature would be available.  All of this is great and an example of what good customer service should be, but it's not quite a substitute for having a program that works.

I used to joke with people that "there's nothing you want to do in Microsoft Word that someone hasn't wanted to do before and figured out so that the program can do it."  Yet, since 1994, when I ended up on the phone with the Director of Technical Support for QuickBooks and was told, "Sir, that there is what we call in the software business an 'undocumented feature," I have been finding things that QuickBooks should do and does not or that QuickBooks should do well but does poorly.  And I just don't understand it.  It's a huge company with billions of dollars.

Perhaps if Intuit were less interested in selling services, like several different levels of payroll, overpriced blank checks and deposit slips, and in launching multiple services that compete with themselves, like merchant services and Intuit Payment Solutions, it could focus on the core program and making that better.  Perhaps it if cut the prices on the blank checks and deposit slips and made merchant services price competitive with PayPal or Amazon Payments, it would find those segments of their business growing.

Ironically, I feel like I pay more attention to these issues than Inuit does, which makes me think this is a company whose senior management truly cannot see the forest for the trees.



Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I have been so frustrated with the payment processing functions that I resolved to write an ACH paymnent interface myself! But why, there are thousands/millions of developers much brighter than I who Intuit can have this done in months. It just goes to show that the company does not need to do anything more. They are making money and lots of it. Unless some other software vendor comes up with a better product. Or we stop buying over marketed products will they change. Personally I have started looking for that competing product.

If you are one of those competing software products that puts Quickbooks to shame--PLEASE give me a ping


Chris said...

Your first paragraph says it all! Another pet peeve is all the simple little things they've had at least 15 years to improve, but they don't bother.

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