Tuesday, December 14, 2010

QuickBooks 2011 Sucks: The Intuit Response

Regular readers here know that I have not been singing the praises of Intuit's QuickBooks software for some time. Recently, I wrote a blog about what I think sucks in the newest version. And I gave Intuit the chance to respond before I posted it. They didn't get back to me quickly and the blog posted. But they did get back to me, forwarding a number of responses from Shane Hamby, product manager for QuickBooks for Windows.

AZ:  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?

SH:  Sync manager will only start syncing once a user sets it up. Could it have been that another computer in your office was syncing the file already? Or, were you a beta user in which case you may have already set it up? If your answers to both questions are no, we can look into it more.

AZ:  In my Startup folder, I have two items from QB now.  One is the Update Agent, which I recognize.  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?

Can a user QuickBooks_Standard_21 file from the Startup folder?  What potential negative consequences might that have?

SH:  This is not a user on your computer but rather a process that is running related to the QuickBooks fast startup.  It can be safely removed or even turned off in preferences so it won’t run the next time the computer restarts.  The preference is under the General Preferences called "Keep QB running for quick startups."  Turning off this prefernce will cause QB to not start as fast.

AZ:  When installing Payroll 2011 (purchased, not provided), I was never asked if I was renewing a subscription or starting a new one.  Why not?  Wouldn’t it be more efficient and a better user experience to have two paths for the user:  new or renewal?

SH:  I hear you. This has come up before. We like the idea and have been considering it. 

AZ:  Why does QB continually try to sell me Online storage for my backup if I have checked the box to disable promotional and marketing messages?  Also, why are there constantly links for payroll and merchant-processing services even though that box is checked?

SH:  We're currently addressing this issue. You should see the promo messages go away soon.  

AZ:  Please respond to the following comments:

I note 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 call the sender to demand they get them the funds another way.

      SH:  Our overarching goal with the Intuit PaymentNetwork is to make the painful process of getting paid as fast and easy as possible for small businesses. We know from talking to small businesses what a huge pain point getting paid can be. In our testing, we found that transactions of $5,000 or less were funded the next business day with the inclusion of Intuit PaymentNetwork (IPN) in invoices. Rather than think of IPN as a PayPal competitor, we think of it as a way for small businesses, specifically, to receive payment on invoices that seamlessly integrates with their QuickBooks files, which is a unique capability we have.

      You share an interesting vision on how we can extend the power of IPN to pay vendors from within QuickBooks. It’s a brand new service so we’re listening to customer feedback like yours to shape how we further develop it.  So far, feedback about IPN has been very positive. Small businesses and their customers seem to like the convenience of the new payment option where the small business only pays 50 cents for every payment received.


Lillian Grant said...

My day job is tax accountant in Oz and we tell our clients not to use Quickbooks. It has too many things client's who are clueless can do to mess up the whole year end figures. Best left to the experts :)

Peter said...

Just found this blog and frankly vehemently agree! QB is glitch central, the merchant services constantly creates false and/or double transaction entries and constantly fails to correctly match to invoices. I am utterly disappointed with what is acclaimed to be the small business solution. I used to use money but when I learned it was being phased out I switched and have regretted every moment of the extra hours of work this poorly written excuse for business software has caused me. The real kick in the shorts is these problems (which are their creation) can be fixed for several hundred dollars of tech support fees.
QB, you should be ashamed to sell this product.

Dominick said...

I see that you started a new blog, we found it as we were beating our heads against the wall looking for a solution to add a tax condition to each line item in a PO. I guess we should of know better and not wasted our time as this we be true functionality. I'm sure Intuit is hard at work adding friends lists, or AOL integration on the next version of Quickbooks. Who need core accounting features and business functionality.

Unknown said...

I join the chorus. From very non-standard display behavior (hogs the display from other applications, Minimize-maximize strangeness) to nagging me on EVERY startup to allow quickbooks update, to dog-like slowness on a very fast machine with lots of RAM. Upgrading to 2012 did not change any of this and the 2012 install possibly worked but crashed leaving me with an un-settled feeling that the software install might be broken. It is also one of the most difficult to applications I've used user-interface wise. You have to be or hire an expert to use it.

Anonymous said...

QB is probably the most poorly written piece of accounting software in the history of PC accounting software. Constant bugs plague every version. Constant problems w/ their website connectivity, update connections, and the Intuit Merchant system will drive users insane (which they love to blame on the end users equipment!). They love to disable features to force you to move to the next "buggy" version. I've installed pretty much every version of accounting software over the last 20 years for hundreds of clients, and QB is the least reliable, while MS Office Accounting 2009 is the most reliable (damn you Microsoft for abandoning the most stable PC accounting system written!) as per customers (and the complete lack of service calls). On the good side, Quickbooks is so fretted w/bugs, I make lots of money servicing all the poor companies that choose to use Intuit's crapware. LOL!

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