Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

quickbooks.gifI have never been more frustrated by an application than I am by QuickBooks 5.0 for the Mac. This lumbering dinosaur of a program refuses to talk to any of my other applications, which is ridiculous. It's like they bent over backwards to make absolutely sure that everything you do in this app is as arcane and indirect as possible. Jesus Christ.

Among the things that should obviously be in this app are:

  • Drag-and-drop support for client addition. I have entries in Entourage or the Address Book for all of my clients. Why the hell should I have to manually retype all their information to add them to QuickBooks? Sure, adding QuickBooks-only data is necessary, but come on.

  • E-mail. To give you an idea as to how out-of-date this app is, there's no top-level field for 'e-mail' in the customer list. All my e-mail addresses are being added under "alternate contact". Arg. Nevermind anything remotely like AIM, which is emerging as the A-1 client relations tool in the 21st century.

  • Quicken integration. Come on, you Intuit morons. You make the same programs. Make them talk to each other -- let me tie my Quicken data into QuickBooks in a quick, easy step. If I have something on a Quicken register that's a business expense, let me select it as such and have it zip over and show up in QuickBooks without having to make a double entry.

  • Export to Extranet. I have yet to see a good way to export client billing information and history to an extranet site. This is nuts.

I could go on, and I will when I'm done with the manual. Right now I'm seriously considering taking back this $300 paperweight. This sucker's winning my personal award for Worst Waste of Potential Ever.

Update. After wrestling with it for a couple of hours, QuickBooks is starting to grow on me. I'm getting the hang of the lists of clients and vendors, and the way the bills and invoices all tie together and feed back into the reporting features is quite nice. This still doesn't atone for its many shortcomings, but I'm beginning to feel not quite so ripped off.

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