Every QuickBooks version has a life cycle. Understanding that life cycle might save you some grief.
When a new version is released to the public, that version has already been tested thoroughly by Intuit’s development team. It has also been tested by a group of non-Intuit users — the beta testers. These testers put the new version through its paces with unplanned, real-life tests.
Still, relatively few people have used the new version prior to its official public release. And as you know, QuickBooks is quite complex in its feature sets and functionality.
Therefore, every new release will have bugs. This is true not only of QuickBooks, but of any complex software or app. There are simply too many lines of code being written and changed for it to be otherwise.
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My first job out of college was as an accounting software tester. The company I was working for was developing general accounting software to be co-branded with IBM on the original PC (yes, this was back in the 80s). IBM already knew a thing or two about software testing protocols, and our company had already published industry-leading accounting software for the Apple computer market (pre-Mac!). So I had a well-planned script to follow when testing pre-released software.
I’m sure Intuit does too. In fact, Intuit’s test process is bound to be better than the test process we used way back when.
Even so, software testing processes are inherently imperfect and incomplete. Coding accounting software is hard. Programmers and testers are human and make mistakes. Real users in the real world will do things with the software that were not anticipated. (Just ask your QuickBooks consultant or accountant about some of the crazy things they’ve seen people do in QuickBooks.)
So, every new version of QuickBooks comes out of the gate with some problems. This is “normal”.
Problems are reported by users to Intuit. And I’m sure that Intuit prioritizes the problems and assigns their programming team to fix them.
Intuit then releases an update to QuickBooks. You download the update and install it, and it fixes problems.
There’s a good chance that there will some new problems in the update that are unique to that update — problems that weren’t there before. Hopefully the update fixes 10 or 20 or 100 problems for every new problem that it creates. Hopefully the new problems aren’t as serious as the ones that were fixed.
But an update isn’t a miracle worker — it probably doesn’t fix all the problems in the previous version. More problems will be reported, and after another month or two or three, another update will be made available to the user base.
After a few go-rounds of this, you usually have an updated version that works pretty darn well.
OK, so what? Well, if you understand that brand new versions are likely to have more bugs in it than older, updated versions, it might make you decide to wait a little bit before jumping on the upgrade bandwagon when a new version comes out.
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You may decide to read some reviews and blogs and forums and see what kind of experience users are having with the new version. If you decide to wait until the new version is updated, you can check these same sources and see what folks are saying about the update.
If the word in the street is favorable, then you’ll feel more comfortable about committing to the new version or update. But if a lot of people are having problems with it, then maybe you’d want to think about waiting until another update comes out and gets good user reviews.
That’s one approach to take, anyway. What’s your policy on installing QuickBooks updates?