Friday, October 29, 2010

QuickBooks Direct Deposit for Vendors...Sucks!

There are days I wonder if Intuit and QuickBooks can get it any more wrong, and then I run into the situation I ran into this week and discover the answer is a resounding Yes!

As I've written about before on this blog, QuickBooks and Intuit now offer Direct Deposit for Vendors, a service I actually requested from Intuit in an email some time ago.  After all, QuickBooks offers Direct Deposit for payroll, so it shouldn't be a big leap to let users make payments to vendors via Direct Deposit.  As a literary agent, I receive payments on behalf of my clients.  Clients are often generally paid by check, but sometimes they request a wire.  Wires are quite expensive to send, but the cost of Direct Deposit isn't much more than the cost of the printed check, envelope, and stamp.  However, as I have been trying to use Direct Deposit in its release form (I turned down the chance to be a beta tester), I have found numerous headaches, glitches, and hurdles that demonstrate that this product was not ready for release.  Additionally, when attempting to get customer service, I have run into a gross lack of response and cooperation, even though I have been calling the Office of the President of Intuit every day for most of the week.  Thus, I can confidently say that Direct Deposit for Vendors from QuickBooks and Intuit sucks.

Before I get into this week's nightmares, let me direct you to the prior nightmare, at  Here I covered issues I had with DDfV allowing you to use only one account to make Direct Deposits.

This week, I ran into new issues, issues you must be aware of before using Direct Deposit for Vendors or even Direct Deposit for Payroll.

I have used Direct Deposit for Payroll for quite a while now, but only this week did I discover that both the Payroll and Vendor Direct Deposit programs have limits on them.  These limits are per payment and per two-week pay period.  Hence, let's say your company had a hiring boom, you might not be able to pay all of your staff because of these limits.  Or let's say you decided to switch to Direct Deposit for Vendors and you went through the headache of getting all of your vendors to send you the information needed to implement it.  Then you pulled the trigger of switching from checks to Direct Deposit but—wait!—your payments won't go through because there are limits on how much you can pay out per vendor or per period to all vendors.  And you never knew about these limits!

I will state without hesitation that I was never informed about and never agreed to any limits on either Direct Deposit for Payroll or Direct Deposit for Vendors.  Nowhere in the sign-up process for either service did it ask me to set limits or agree to limits that I can recall.

As a literary agent receiving funds on behalf of my clients, I may receive payments for less than a dollar (really!) or for six figures.  Heck, if I get lucky, I could get payments for seven figures.  And I need to be able to move that money to my clients.  Direct Deposit seems like a no-brainer for such transactions.  Except for the limits.

When I got the error message declaring that the payment I wanted to make was over the limit, I went to the QuickBooks website and started a chat session with a representative.  She was helpful enough and said I needed to call the 800 number and request a limit increase.  So I called the 800 number and was informed that I needed to be sent forms to fill out:  1.  a request for a limit increase and; 2.  a bank rating form.  The first is likely self-explanatory.  You fill out the form and state what you want your limits to be.  The second, though, is more complicated.  It's a form you fill in and then you must take it to your bank and ask them to complete it and fax it to Intuit.

Having a newborn at home and a toddler who is demonstrating everything there is to demonstrate about the "terrible twos," I have plenty of time to fill out forms like this and drive on down to the bank...not.  So my next call was to the Office of the President of Intuit [(520) 901-3280].  This office used to have some actual ability to get things done, but now it mostly seems to forward things to Manila or India and you get a call back that is garbled by distance, hard to understand because of the rep's accent, and limited to whatever assistance the rep is allowed to offer according to the script.  There is no autonomy, creativity, or genuine problem-solving ability demonstrated by any of the overseas representatives.

I also took some other steps in this process:  I called and left a message for Jen Mingo, Director of Service Delivery - Desktop Payroll, who tried to assist me with a prior headache involving Intuit Direct Deposit for Vendors.  She didn't call me back.  I also emailed Gina Han, Product Management, Employee Management Solutions, who runs the Direct Deposit for Vendors Program.  She didn't email me back.

I did ultimately speak with a guy named Adrian who I believe is in India, despite an email address that says Tucson.  He informed me that I needed to complete the two forms.  I informed him that getting those forms completed and approved would take three to ten business days and I needed to pay my client immediately.  I asked to speak to his supervisor repeatedly and he failed to put me through.  I spent nearly an hour on the phone with him, mostly on hold.

In the end, I never got the supervisor, but Adrian called back after I hung up and told me he had gotten a temporary increase in my limit so I could put through the Direct Deposit for my client.

So I went to put through the payment and QuickBooks came up with an error message informing me that the balances in my account were too low to make the payment and that I should confirm I had enough money to do so.  Why did I get this error?  Because QuickBooks is looking at the balance after the entry for the payment I was making, rather than the balance before.  So, for example, let's say your balance is $10,000, then you add $20,000, then you want to send a Direct Deposit to a vendor for that $20,000.  QuickBooks will report that your balance is $10,000 and insufficient for sending the payment through.  Brilliant!  Great programming job!

The next day, Adrian called me back, confirmed the payment went through, and then said my limit was again being dropped back to the original limit.  A limit—let me say it again—I never agreed to, requested, or was informed of previously.

Yesterday I completed the paperwork I was sent, including driving down to the local branch of my large, international bank, where a rep looked at it and said, basically, he wasn't going to fill it out.  He printed out some paperwork about my accounts and gave it to me to fax to Intuit, which I did last night.  All told, it was at least half of a business day for me to complete the paperwork, go to the bank, and get it all scanned and sent back to Intuit.  As of 2:40 PM today, I have not gotten an email confirmation of receipt, a phone call, or any other indication they got it, never mind an indication that my requested limits are being granted.

Not yet discussed is why are there limits?  The paperwork states it's to protect you from embezzlement, but isn't that why we password-protect our QuickBooks file and then have a different password for payroll and Direct Deposit transactions.  Intuit debits your account prior to making the Direct Deposit.  In my case, it was debiting on October 29th to make a payment on November 1.  One way payroll companies make money is on the float between when they debit and when they make payment.  So Intuit knows you have the funds, because it debited the funds.  So why are there limits?  If there are no funds, then no payment can be made.  I could understand why a large corporation or even one with a bookkeeper might want limits, but certainly not a firm where the owner handles the books.  And shouldn't those limits be voluntary and set by the user and not by Intuit?  And if not voluntary and set by the user, shouldn't Intuit be required to discuss, disclose, and get your agreement to then in advance?
All told, I'd say I've killed a full three business days of my time trying to jump through hoops and get this payment made.  My error, I guess, was in thinking I'd actually be able to get customer service in a timely manner and resolve the problem I was running into quickly.  In the end, it was, like most problems with QuickBooks, a freaking nightmare of a timesuck.  If I get approval over the new limits I've requested, I may continue to use Direct Deposit for Vendors selectively, but I have my doubts.  There are advantages to using plain old paper checks and right now they outweigh everything about Intuit's and QuickBooks' Direct Deposit for Vendors.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Got a Submission or Query with Us?

Okay, so I'm going on paternity leave effective about two hours ago.  We're having a baby one way or another by 10 am tomorrow morning.  I'll be out of the office about two weeks, which means I won't be reading or responding to queries or submissions during that time.

Thanks for your patience and consideration.


Friday, October 01, 2010

The September Monthly Round-up

Well, I am definitely missing my intern today.  Not that I have a current intern (applications are accepted via the Internships page on the website), but if I had one, he or she would be writing this.

So, how do the stats look for September:

  • 51 queries received; 59 declined
  • 10 Sample Chapters received; 22 declined
  • 1 Proposal received; 2 declined
  • 0 manuscripts received; 1 declined

We currently have on hand and need to read:

  • 5 Sample Chapters
  • 10 full manuscripts, including one by a current client (and one by a prospective client that's close to 2,000 pages!)

And, just to keep things interesting, my wife and I are expecting our second child any day now, so I've been busy doing all of those "new baby is coming" chores.

Oh, and our website got hacked and needs to be completely overhauled because I thought it was being backed up regularly, but it turned out it was not.

And I've been hustling to get a Rights Guide done for Frankfurt, but the database that produces it was broken and only just recently got fixed.

So I've been busy.  Fortunately those those who have works on submission, my son recently started preschool and hasn't quite adjusted to the new schedule yet, so I take him to preschool and then hang out in the library or lounge there and just work through the reading.  I've decided that's the best way to use the time, rather than lugging a laptop, since I've lost all of my other good reading time since I became a father.  Oh, and because I'm without an intern right now, everything has been getting read by yours truly.

So, wish me luck with the new baby, and please be patient if you have a submission or query with us.