Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Allergic to bad UIs.

In William Gibson's new book, Pattern Recognition, his main character works as a consultant for whether or not a new brand will work. The basis for her skill in this strange designomancy is a form of allergy, where she has strong panic attacks when she encounters an overblown brand such as the Michelin man.

I'm beginning to think I have the same allergy to bad software. Like QuickBooks. Which I'm discovering is infinitely more evil than I'd suspected, in part because I started poking around and in part because I found their main competitor, MYOB AccountEdge. MYOB offers Vcard support -- which means that you can drag and drop your contact list from Entourage straight into MYOB and have it prepopulate your contacts there -- and allows exporting of invoices either to HTML or as emails to said clients, which is huge. However, all my attempts to get my invoices ready on either program ran into huge bugs. For starters, QuickBooks' claim to support "easily customizable" invoices is bullshit -- you can only import a logo as a PICT file, which is so antiquated it's not even funny and isn't even really the proper format for such a thing anyway. (Ever heard of an EPS, or even an Illustrator file, you jerks?) Further, while they claim you can change the fonts, you can only change the fonts of the data in the boxes, not the labels for the boxes themselves. This is utterly moronic. Oh, and MYOB? All my attempts this morning to export PDFs resulted in blank files. I don't get it.

Bonus suckage: I mentioned meandering around There, and only there, did I discover the services they're marketing to Windows QuickBooks users. Online billing! Merchant accounts! There they are! But, oh, wait, what's this? You have to pay extra for them? And you can't tie an external pre-existing merchant account into QuickBooks, you have to use theirs? Why, I do believe that's the sweet perfume of utter horse crap I smell emanating from this product...

I'm beginning to think my next "Fixing" essay is going to outline what all a small business really needs in its accounting and tracking software. There's definitely a market out there for a QuickBooks killer, believe you me. And it wouldn't take much.


Thanks, Geoff, you just saved me from buying QuickBooks for Mac.

I agree that there is a lot of space for a decent accounting package for small business. I've noticed much the same in terms of time-billing software - what exists for Windows often sucks, and nothing better is available for Mac.

Why can't someone get this right?

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