Emma Woodhouse: “If he seems sad, I’ll know that John has advised him against it. I love John! Or he may seem sad because he fears telling me he will marry my friend. How can John let him do that? I hate John!

I think of Jane Austen’s Emma sometimes when I read what people say about QuickBooks. “I love QuickBooks! … I hate QuickBooks!

How can people respond with such extremes to a computer program? Emotional tweets in the last 48 hours:

• Things we’re #thankful for: All the great people I work with. And #Quickbooks.
• Quickbooks time! Yay!
• We really like Quickbooks for Mac. Took a bit to get used to but smooth now.
• I’m having fun extracting data from QuickBooks with QODBC!!

And on a darker note…

• Oh. QuickBooks won’t run in Firefox on Linux either. **** YOU!
• I was all set to leave the office early today… until QuickBooks decided to be a b****
• I want to burn my computer on a daily basis because of quickbooks.
• Ugh… I’m going to kill quickbooks. That was not quick at all. SO AAAANGRY!.

It seems to me that there are somewhat more negative emotional statements about QuickBooks on Twitter than positive ones. But I think that’s because for a lot of people, it’s more satisfying to rant than rave.

Do you believe that generally people like what they’re good at, and hate what they struggle with? I do.

I think that generally speaking, the people that express their love, affection, and devotion to QuickBooks are people who are well-trained in bookkeeping and are competent in DIY IT.

And conversely, a lot (but not all) of the people who express fear and loathing of QuickBooks are not bookkeepers. They are people who are very good at something, but not accounting. And they get stuck trying to do tasks in QuickBooks that they aren’t trained to do. And they get mad. Makes sense. Kinda like why I often get mad when I work on my own car.

If you regularly get frustrated with QuickBooks, may I offer a suggestion? Consider taking a new step up the learning curve. There are some great books about QuickBooks. And there are some great QuickBooks trainers and consultants out there. Cozy up to one or the other for a couple of weeks. It might make for a happier New Year for you.

What do you think? Have I oversimplified here?

8 thoughts on “I love QuickBooks! I hate QuickBooks!

  1. If I had to deal with it on any sort of regular basis, then yes, I would definitely want to get some skills under my belt. But given that I infrequently “support” this for a company when I already have a day job, I can’t justify spending the time to learn what seems (to me) to be a program designed by accountants, for accountants.


  2. Quickbooks is a nightmare for me. Years ago I was a fairly happy Quicken Home and Business user but had to upgrade when I started a corporation with product inventory over five years ago.

    The Quickbooks product has bugs and usability issues. The level 1 support is all in India, and it appears their job is primarily to convince you that your problem does not exist and to get you off the phone as quickly as possible.

    Quickbooks is designed for accountants, not for end users. It’s user interface does not take into consideration even the simplest end user tasks. I can give many examples, here are a few.

    1)The most important section for this business user is the Customer Center where sales orders and invoices are tracked. As most wholesalers know, the key number for tracking is the PO number that originates with the customer. So… try to list transactions by PO# in the customer center. It can’t be done. Can’t search on PO # either — at least not through version 2009. You have to dig through each transaction to find a specific PO number. Rediculous!

    2) Create a Sales Order. If you have established payment terms for the customer (such as Net 30), QB assigns a due date that is 30 days out. So if I create a Sales Order on Nov 3, the due date is automatically filled in as Dec. 3 if the established terms are Net 30. That makes sense if I am creating an invoice. But not a sales order. We have had many customers receive merchandise late because each sales order has to be manually changed to reflect a realistic due date before being exported to our warehouse system. Sometimes we forget and these get exported unchanged to the warehouse system. I have been reporting this for 5 YEARS!!! Nobody ever responds or fixes it. (Note: this is not an issue for EDI PO’s that are imported to QB with a due date.)

    3) Every item that leaves our warehouse goes through Quickbooks. But the inventory in QB never matches what is reported by our warehouse which shows the correct amount. And I mean by A LOT. We only have five products, no builds, but I cannot trust QB for inventory levels at all. I have no idea why.

    4) The last version I upgraded to, 2009 hit me with advertising for every task I performed. It was unbelieveable!! Turning these ads and nag screens off was not intuitive. I had to research it and then resort to several tips and tricks to put an end to nag screens and ads — for a product that cost me over $300!!! Not one of the services being advertised was even relevant to me. It was just plain intrusive and RUDE.

    5) The version of QB that I use (Premeire for manufacturing and wholesale)has no online version which would at least do away with having to install, upgrade and back up on my own computer. Of course, after the two day outtage that Quickbooks Online suffered recently, I can’t see how anywould could trust using the Online service.

    6) I have upgraded from 2005, 2006, 2008 and finally to 2009 always hoping to see some improvement in the programs usability. But the product remains largely the same except for all the PAID add-on services that they advertise. In effect, I have gotten NOTHING for all the upgrades.

    Finally, I have to say that Quickbooks is basically a bare bones back end accounting system for accountants. It is no way to run a business. What is needed is a cost effective ERP type system that sits on top of Quickbooks, maybe with a database in between operating in parallel. I have been looking for such a product, but nothing has really jumped out at me. It appears that small businesses are stuck with this crappy solution and support.

    • Charles, thanks for your comments.

      I think your impression of QB as being for accountants is interesting and a bit ironic: In earlier years, I remember some complaints from CPAs I know who thought QuickBooks was NOT designed for them…the double entry accounting was buried too far down in the user-friendliness of the application. Maybe you would feel that the pendulum has swung back?

      I can’t say if you would find the 2010 or 2011 versions to be worthwhile for your business or not, but they do have a lot of new features:

      Here’s a listing of new 2011 features.

      One of them that you might like is the search feature. It basically puts a general purpose search prompt into QB so you can find PO numbers or just about anything else quite quickly.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. I’m looking for another accounting program as QB seems to quit working when I don’t upgrade. I have several companie files I need to open in order to do taxes this year and they will not open. They must write code into the program so that if you don’t upgrade you can’t open your company file. I have a friend who has a very old version of QB. She has NO problems with her software. In order for me to open my files I must upgrade. I think I will go to the US Attorney General with this one.

  4. I use Peachtree and they have Sales Orders (used to keep track of customer orders) even in the “basic” “Pro” version and it works like it should. The next higher version “complete” also has the “purchase order” feature (used to buy inventory or stuff for company). Peachtree’s inventory is much better than quickbooks…even in the basic version. I don’t know if quickbooks ever changed their design but they used to use ONE database for everything…instead of the proper way which is to have a different data base for each field. Using one database slows things way down as you add more data. It was a bad design. I hope they don’t still do that. I no longer use accounting programs unless the computer is “off line”. I no longer upgrade every couple of years. I just keep using what works and it is very reliable that way. Test your new accounting program before you jump in with both feet.

    • Hi Jscottu,

      We work with Peachtree databases too. (Peachtree was renamed Sage 50 starting with their 2013 version, btw.) And you’re right, that Peachtree breaks out its data into a bunch of different files, whereas QuickBooks keeps it all in one file. I don’t think that has anything to do with the performance of the databases, though. We troubleshoot performance issues in the databases of both of those products.

      It seems that Intuit keeps bolstering the capabilities of inventory; the just-released 2014 version, for example, has lots of new inventory features built in.

      I’m glad you have a system that works well for your needs. Thanks for the comments.

  5. I have been using QuickBooks for years before I started running our family business so I am not new to Quickbook. I upgraded to QuicBooks 2013 from 2010 and that was such a mistake. They changed not upgraded so many of the basic functions that it is now so frustrating to use. For example, when I try to search for a customer in the client module I can’t no longer just type in the name and press enter, I now have to tab to the search button and enter. Why the extra step I ask? with two jobs I’m always in a hurry to get things done, this quickbooks is not my friend and forget about purchasing the support package. they are no help at all. I was given 3 months free with my upgrade and called to ask for assistance 3 time. It turns out that I knew more about QB than their certified customer service department.


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