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.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Free eBook from International Thriller Writers

Just got an email from the International Thriller Writers. Can't say I've checked out this site, but figured it was worth posting for any who might be interested...

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