Friday, November 12, 2010

QuickBooks 2011: How Badly Does It Suck?

As much as I would have preferred not to, I recently upgraded from QuickBooks Premiere 2010 to the 2011 version.  And the fun has already begun!

First attempt to use the program resulted in a crash.

Next, I got a message saying that the QB Sync Manager was syncing with another computer, even though it was not.  Which raises the question, why is the  Sync Manager loading if I'm not trying to sync anything?

In my Startup folder, I have two items from QB now.  One is the Update Agent, which I recognize and endure.  The other is QuickBooks_Standard_21.  When I called Tech Support to ask what this was, I was informed it was a "standard user that QuickBooks creates to access my computer."  Interesting.  I have tons of programs, including Quicken 2011, but none of those needs to put such an item in my Startup folder.  So what is the programming weakness in QuickBooks that requires it?

When I inquired if I could delete the QuickBooks_Standard_21 file from the Startup folder, the rep in Manila was clearly lacking confidence in her answer.  I asked to be escalated to a Tier 2 representative.  Roy, the Tier 2 representative, wasn't much help.  He asked to put me on hold while he checked resources.  After a total hold time of thirty minutes, I gave up and hung up.

My next call was to the Office of the President of Intuit, where I spoke with Sonya.  Now, I have spoken to many folks in this office and, unfortunately, Sonya is not one of the best.  At first she refused to help me because I didn't have a case number.  I informed her that I had not been given one and perhaps she could look it up.  She did and found there was an actual case, but it only covered one question.  I asked if I could give her the other questions.  She asked me if I had a technical support plan.  I said I did not, but did not think these questions warranted one.  She insisted they were "How do I..." questions.  I pointed out they were installation issues and bugs and that I had received my copy of QuickBooks because I am a blogger and I needed to be able to report accurately on my experience.  She said she would look into whether or not there was technical support for bloggers and get back to me.  That was a full day ago and I've yet to hear back.

Since then, I've already discovered two more bugs and other issues.  While installing a new payroll subscription (which I paid $185 for via Amazon; almost $100 less than Intuit wanted), the program seems to never consider that you may already have a subscription and walks you through as though you are new user.  You have to input a lot of your info all over again, which is a waste of time, and the program says it will make two small withdrawals from your account, which it should not, because your account is already verified.  Sloppy and lazy programming not to ask the question, "Are you renewing your subscription or is this a new subscription?" and having two paths to follow.

In attempting to back up my file, the system repeatedly defaults to "Online" and tries to sell me Intuit's online storage feature, despite the fact that I have the preference box on marketing/promotion messages checked to turn them off.

Next, when I ran my first payroll, I got an error saying that my payroll was before 11/20/2075 (yes, sixty-four years from now) and that I was therefore sending a "late" payroll.

A chat session with Justin at Payroll Support indicated that both bugs are known issues but there is no ETA on when they will be resolved.

As for new features, I can't say I've discovered a lot, though I did notice the new Collections Center, which might be genuinely helpful) and the addition of Intuit PaymentNetwork as a potential payment method.  The latter is essentially to compete with PayPal as a payment method, but does not allow payment by credit card, only bank transfer.  This, clearly, is so that it does not compete with Intuit's credit-card processing business, which is more expensive than PayPal's credit-card processing.  For those who have plenty of customers willing to allow Intuit to transfer funds directly from their bank account, this could be a great option, but I think customer acceptance of such transfers will be low.  It's one thing to go to your bank's website and initiate a payment.  It's quite another to click a link on an email you receive and then allow access to your accounts by a vendor.

Interestingly enough, you cannot use the Intuit PaymentNetwork from within QuickBooks to make a payment.  Because, of course, that's just a Direct Deposit and Intuit charges you $1.25 to make a Direct Deposit to a vendor, but if you log into the Intuit PaymentNetwork, Intuit charges you nothing and charges the recipient only fifty cents to receive the payment.  Seems to me that the pricing for the two services should be the same, lower fee, and there should be an option check box for "charge fee to sender" or "charge fee to recipient."  The recipient, it should be noted, must sign up with Intuit PaymentNetwork and agree to the fee before the funds can be received.  I do wonder how many folks, upon receiving email notification that the payment is waiting for them will simply say "F-that!" and call the sender to demand they get them the funds another way.  A word to the wise, clear it with your recipient before sending funds via the Intuit PaymentNetwork.



BlakeM said...

I am too annoyed by the new programs that Intuit put into the startup menu. I've already removed the data protect, but also trying to find if i can remove the QuickBooks_Standard_21 program. If you look at the target, it's running the core QB software, but in some sort of "silent" mode.

miguel fra said...

As an IT manager, I have seen countless multi-user and performance related problems which continue from version to version without getting fixed.

The database manager they introducted after 2006 made Quickbooks slow and once you get past 2-3 users, performance bottlenecks occur no matter how fast your server is.

Their tech support is amateurish and hold times are lengthy.

It's too bad because the program, from and end user perspective is easy to use and intuitive. The network and technical aspects of it are less than desirable. BQ has a lot of potential if they changed their programming methods.

Miguel Fra

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