software life cycleEvery 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?

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13 thoughts on “Handling QuickBooks Upgrades and Updates

  1. While yes it is a normal part of the development cycle, being entierly opaque about bug fixes should not be. My policy is to avoid it at all costs untill I am forced to update either by managment or by the end of life cycle untill our business can implement a proper accounting software. After the absolute fiasco that occured with 2013 enterprise (which quickbooks DID NOT acknowledge was a bug and left us out to dry for months!).

  2. Don’t care for the appearance of this new version. I don’t like the gray background on the shortcuts bar and don’t see a way to change the color. When I generate a report or open a new window ie invoices, online banking etc. I don’t see a way to quickly get back to those previous screens without closing something or regenerating a report, the old version had a list on the left so I could quickly go back and forth. I assume there is a way but I haven’t found it yet. I have no need for the ‘Do more with Quickbooks bar at the bottom left and don’t see any way to get rid of it. A drop down icon at the top should have been fine for those icons.

  3. QB 2013 Pro’s debut has been an absolute nightmare. Communications with Customer Support is virtually non-existent. I simply do not understand how some of the bugs were not noticed prior to release. Some changes actually make QB harder to use. Making changes just because a Software Engineer wants to change something, doesn’t necessarily mean that the change should be made.

  4. James, you can get information about some of the fixed bugs when they release a new update. But yes, I agree, it could be more transparent as to what are known, unfixed bugs, what is being worked on, what has been fixed, etc. It would be great if there was one webpage on Intuit’s site that had all that information available. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Wendy, if you download and install the latest update to 2013 (R6), you can address some of those things you mention:

    * To get color, click View / Top Icon Bar. Then click Edit / Preferences / Desktop View / Switch to colored icons/light background no the Top Icon Bar. Click OK. Your icon bar will then look a lot like previous versions of QuickBooks.

    * To get to a previous screen, click Window and then click the screen you want. Not as nice as having them over there on the left like it used to be, but still pretty accessible.

    * Once you’ve moved the icon bar to the top of the screen, the “Do More with QuickBooks” pane will move over the right side of the window. You can then click the up arrow control to collapse that pane.

    Thanks for your comments.

  6. Leo,

    How have you tried communicating with customer support? Phone? I’m curious what your experience with that has been like.

    I’m confident that the changes in the interface of 2013 were intended to make the user’s experience better and easier. Sorry you haven’t found it to be that way at this point.

    Thanks for your comment.

  7. I have a problem with ‘write checks’ function of the new Quickbooks 2013. It is really important for us to see all lines below the check which we could do with the 2010 version but now you have to use a scroll bar to see the detail lines. This really slows us down and makes it is possible to make more mistakes. Is there some way to turn the scroll bar off and just see the detail section like we could in the 2010?

  8. I am currently running Quickbooks 2010. The issue I am having is two-fold. I am a sole proprietor of a small business. I do not have employees’ or maintain any warehousing of products. My only interest has been keeping track of my purchases and sending out occasional invoices and use of my check writing feature. I like to be able to see profit and loss reports and a yearly tax statement.
    My issue is with Quickbooks requireing me to purchase a new program every 3 yrs. that holds me hostage if I want to keep my banking information available for download. I do not use all the “upgraded” features and for me to spend $300 for another program is “just not right” when my previous programs were everything I needed. You want to talk about customer service??? Everytime I attempted to get a question answered, I was informed that my account for on-line tech support had expried and was offered a renewal at a price if I wanted to get my question answered. I get frustrated just writing this comment and do not expect it to go to anyone who has the ability to address these issues outside the “Box” or pat answers just to say something was done. I am sure there are others that are equally frusterated.

  9. Hi Denny,

    If you aren’t using payroll, and don’t like talking to Intuit support, then why do you have to upgrade? You can use your existing version just fine as long as you don’t need payroll service or another Intuit online service or Intuit support. And if it frustrates you to talk to their support reps, then why not just get your support from online resources or third party support resources that don’t require you to stay current with versions? Or maybe I’m not understanding something here. But you don’t HAVE to upgrade unless you need something on an ongoing basis from Intuit.

    Thanks for the comment.

  10. Pingback: QuickBooks 2015…a Goodie, Now an Oldie « QuickBooks and Your Business

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