Sunday, January 10, 2010

The organized pet sitter: progress report on Quickbooks

I am making progress on my goals for 2010. If you recall from my previous post, one goal is to set up an accounting system. Enough of hand written lists and folders overflowing with receipts. The advice I received was unanimous. Quickbooks is the way to go. Maybe.

Quickbooks for Mac
If you are looking for new software, I recommend reading reviews on the product website. I started on Amazon, and Quickbooks for Mac gets horrible reviews. Everything it does right on a PC is a disaster on a Mac. The Mac version is clearly a neglected stepchild of the original. I downloaded a free trial from the Quickbooks site and soon found out that the user interface is a nightmare.

Many of us have used Microsoft Office or the Adobe Creative Suite, and we are used to the programs working in a predictable way. When a new program from a different manufacturer doesn't do it "right," we get frustrated.

One of the support people on Intuit's web site (Intuit is the developer of Quickbooks) posted that they invented an accounting program, not a graphics program, and users shouldn't expect a WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) environment. No kidding. Their Layout Designer is difficult to navigate and customize. Be sure you have defined your business carefully, or a lot of the features just won't work. If you look in the help menu you won't find any instructions for customizing forms. What should take less than an hour took at least 2 hours. Trial and error was the only way to figure it out. And I swear I'd do something and it worked, then five seconds later, the same thing wouldn't work. Like changing text colors, for example.

Quickbooks pretty much has the market cornered on accounting software for small businesses, so you'd think they'd listen to their customers and fix these problems. The same support person posted that Intuit doesn't have the "resources" to spend on developing the Layout Designer. You must be kidding. This is a big opportunity for their competitors.

A friend likened using Quickbooks to taking the space shuttle to work: overkill for what I need to do. Possibly, but if I can get the darn thing working, it will be a big help. I'm hoping to integrate my client care sheets in the customer list. We'll see. I'll keep you posted. If this doesn't work, I will probably develop the whole thing in Microsoft Excel.

Two last points:
1) I hope for your sake that the program is easier to use for PC owners.
2) If you buy it, be sure to download the latest updates from the Quickbooks website. Hopefully, some of the obvious bugs will get fixed.

Bookmark and Share
© 2009 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

No comments: