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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:54 pm   

How does Intuit stay in business??
 
We just learned that our accountant no longer supports the version of Quickbooks that we use (v2006). We have to upgrade to the 2009 version. But now I discover that Intuit does not have any upgrade pricing for their products...you have to pay FULL PRICE to "upgrade" to the latest version.

How do they get away with this? Why are they still the market leaders in this area? Their software is hard to use, slow, bloated, and costs waaay too much money. My accountant fees are already too high without adding a yearly Quickbooks upgrade to the price.

Has anyone played with the Microsoft Accounting Express software that is free? Has anyone done a Quickbooks import into Microsoft Accounting? I thought I hated Microsoft, but at least they seem to be trying to get into the market with a decent free product. Assuming I can find a local accountant that can handle files from the Microsoft software.

But I just don't understand Intuit. They are really pissing off their customers. They charge the accountants to maintain their Quickbooks "certification" and they charge the consumer and business owner full price for upgrades, even with few new features being added? The 2009 version apparently messes up the online banking features that we actually use more than any other feature. And yet they want me to pay $100+ for this broken new version? I don't think so. This company needs to crash and burn.

Ranting aside, any experience with MS Accounting Express would be much appreciated. I know you aren't really the audience for this question, but you guys have surprised me before!
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shalimar
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Joined: 04 Aug 2002
Posts: 3513
Location: Pensacola, FL, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:57 pm   
 
Is doing it yourself so much cheaper than going to H&R Block or some other accounting firm?
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:27 pm   
 
We don't do it ourselves. We have an accountant who handles the business taxes, as I mentioned above. We send the accountant our Quickbooks files and they generate the taxes, update our files, and sends the data files back to us. So we need to have a compatible version of Quickbooks to transfer the files. Without doing the file transfer, the accountant charges a lot more.

Just judging by the huge stack of pages in last year's taxes, doing taxes for an S-Corp is not for the "do-it-yourself" or even for H&R Block. But our accountant charges about $1000 for the business taxes, and $400 for personal taxes, which seems pretty high.
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Tech
GURU


Joined: 18 Oct 2000
Posts: 2733
Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:29 pm   
 
Shalimar your thinking of TurboTax (which isn't a bad product). Zugg uses Quicken to manage his business accounting, not just his taxes. I used Microsoft Money for my personal stuff and for the most part I've been pretty happy with it. I looked Quicken twice and didn't care for it either time.. and Money typically reviews on par or better.

To you particular question I haven't messed with Accounting Express too much. I have a tech net subscription so i was able to get Microsoft Office Accounting 2008. This is the year I finally do something with Techeira Inc. I putzed around with it a little bit and it seemed pretty decent. No easy for me to transfer my personal account stuff, but the 30 minute over view gave my positive impression, but then again I didn't really kick the tires.

The one annoying thing (which it seems all their major products do now) is that it required (installed and running) SQL server (or SQL Server express) to run.

[Edit] At least for the personal taxes that's on the high side. Most folks I have heard of 100 - 250 (on the high end) in NYC. I can't speak to the business stuff though.
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Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:34 am   
 
They probably charge full whack because you didn't buy the intermediate upgrades (2007, 2008).

Over here, they pretty much force you to upgrade every, because they go "oh the updated tax tables are part of the new version which costs $$$".

Pretty rough.

Personal tax over here is like $140. And you get to claim that back on your next years tax return.
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Chiara
Site Admin


Joined: 29 Sep 2000
Posts: 322
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:39 pm   
 
Quote:
They probably charge full whack because you didn't buy the intermediate upgrades (2007, 2008).


Nope. Intuit officially no longer does upgrade pricing. Its on their website.

It wouldn't be such a problem but the reviews of 2009 are horrible. They've seriously broken the only 2 functions I was using anyway and I can't stand to pay on purpose for something we already know is going to pi$$ me off every time I so much as open the program.
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ralgith
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Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 715

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:48 pm   
 
I also need an alternative to QuickBooks soon. I'm using 2k7 under Crossover Linux Pro 7, but I want something less bloated and dumb. So, if I find anything good I'll post here. And I'll keep checking to see what you've found.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:06 pm   
 
Tech: It's QuickBOOKS that we are talking about. Quicken is a completely different product and is more for personal banking than business accounting.

We are currently investigating other accountants in the area to see if we can find one with more reasonable pricing and hopefully someone who supports the Microsoft Accounting Express product. Right now we can import our QuickBooks 2006 data into MS Accounting 2009. But if we upgrade to QuickBooks 2009, then we will NOT be able to import the data into Microsoft. MS Accounting 2009 doesn't support imports from Quickbooks 2009 at this time. So I need to wait before upgrading so that we don't screw ourselves into having to keep Quickbooks.

Also, keep in mind that when you are shareholders in an S-Corp like we are, our personal taxes are also a bit more complicated than normal. Although I'm definitely considering just getting TurboTax and doing our personal taxes myself at this point...it isn't *that* complicated. But on the business side, the tax paperwork from last year is a huge stack of forms and well beyond what I could probably do with something like TurboTax myself.

Of course, that's all a part of the big conspiracy...making the tax paperwork so complicated that you are forced to pay accountants to do it for you. Keeps all of the accountants and tax lawyers in business and fuels the giant bureaucracy. Seems like half the business tax forms just have a single checkbox checked (like "does not apply") or just has zero's filled in because it doesn't apply to us. A huge waste of paper, time, money, etc. I'll be interested to get a second opinion from a new accountant to see if it's all really needed.

Our current accountant used to be better and less expensive when she worked for a small firm. But a couple of years ago she joined a larger firm and I think they make all of their money from huge corporations that just absorb the cost of accountants into their business overhead. I doubt they even care about our small business at this point.
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:06 pm   
 
Just had to update on this because once again I'm really pissed at QuickBooks and Intuit.

We were just forced to upgrade QuickBooks. According to an email that we received a while back, starting on June 1st, our QuickBooks 2006 would no longer be supported. They said we wouldn't be able to get anymore "live technical support" (which we have never used in the past anyway), nor would we be able to use any "Quickbooks services". OK, I assumed they meant stuff like their Payroll service that we don't use anyway.

I was wrong. Apparently, downloading bank statements electronically is considered a "service". Even though this is a build in feature to the base version of Quickbooks!! When we called to find out what the problem was, we were told that the only way to download our statements electronically was to upgrade to Quickbooks 2009.

Since when did a primary feature of a program become a "service"? We don't pay extra for this. This feature doesn't use anything on the Intuit servers that we would need to pay for. Someone needs to sue them for selling crippled software.

I'm still looking for a new accountant, but we *must* update our checkbook and other statements electronically for the first of the month and there is no way for me to find a new accountant and research possible Quickbooks replacements right now...especially not the first day back from vacation. So I'm really pissed, but have no option except to order the Quickbooks 2009 update. But this is the LAST TIME I am sending Intuit any of my money and I will be going on an active campaign to get rid of Quickbooks this year so I never have to deal with them again. I'm just not going to support companies that do this kind of business.

Oh yeah, and on top of all of this, our Advanta Business credit card stop functioning today. During vacation we were sent an email giving us THREE DAYS NOTICE that Advanta was closing their credit card business and would no longer be authorizing purchases on our cards. So much for all of the monthly business bills that tried to charge the card on the first of the month and all bounced.

What a way to come back from vacation. How do companies get away with doing this kind of stuff?
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Erasmus
Wanderer


Joined: 04 Aug 2004
Posts: 82
Location: Philadelphia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:36 pm   
 
Intuit has been doing this for a few years now (at least) with Quicken as well. Their product retirement plan seems to be every three years. After 3 years they strip your ability to receive tech support (ok, fine it's 3 years old I get it), and the ability to download not only transactions electronically, but also things like stock quotes as well.

I went through this 2 years ago with my 2004 version of Quicken, and I'll have to go through it next year again as I have 2007 now. It really is a scam on their part to milk more money from the consumer by stripping services.

I'd love someone to try to force an explantion out of them for the justification for using this practice.

Erasmus
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Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:44 am   
 
Erasmus wrote:
Intuit has been doing this for a few years now (at least) with Quicken as well. Their product retirement plan seems to be every three years. After 3 years they strip your ability to receive tech support (ok, fine it's 3 years old I get it), and the ability to download not only transactions electronically, but also things like stock quotes as well.

Just speculation but maybe it has some kind of agreement with the website(s) the application downloads the data from. For example take a look at The Mud Connector. Even though the MUD data is available for viewing on its website, there is no public interface available that you easily can use to download MUD data to your own applications.
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Tech
GURU


Joined: 18 Oct 2000
Posts: 2733
Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:28 pm   
 
Unfortunately Microsoft Money, my preferred finance client does the same thing. That's why I've 'acquired' 4 of the last 6 versions I've used. Tech support I get, no download statements, that I don't get. Especially the one good MSFT is standard their money file years ago. (Although i think quick books finally did too, you don't get a new file format every few version). What's worse is that, some banks like JP Morgan Chase, charge you if want to download statements and don't have one of their extra platinum bling-bling accounts. So I still manually download for some accounts. Sad to say i've gotten used to this, but I may be giving up Chase as my primary bank soon.

I have small business accounting also from MSFT that I got through my technet subscription. It doesn't seem to have a download limit, at least not that I saw, but it didn't look like it could handle the personal side of finances either. I plan to play around with it a bit more to be sure though.

It's all a racket, to be sure... but if the two big players are doing it most folks will fall in line with their practices. I haven't used PeachTree for years... maybe you'll find some reprieve their.

I know what you mean about poor returns from vacation. Just before christmas last year i got back from a business trip (and a really crappy week), i was broke from the holidays when i get a letter from the NYS Tax Dept saying I owe them $13000. I just laughed at the absurdity of it all, left it till the new year. Turns out my accountant a few years ago kinda messed up some my stuff but I think (hope) I just finally got it all cleared up.

Moral of the story, I now do my taxes myself. Oddly enough, I use TurboTax.
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Erasmus
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Joined: 04 Aug 2004
Posts: 82
Location: Philadelphia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:32 pm   
 
Quote:
Just speculation but maybe it has some kind of agreement with the website(s) the application downloads the data from. For example take a look at The Mud Connector. Even though the MUD data is available for viewing on its website, there is no public interface available that you easily can use to download MUD data to your own applications.


Interesting thought, and I suppose it's possible, but to be honest not one I would think is too likely if I understand your analogy correctly.

Cmud downloads Mud Connector information to use. This would be like saying that if you don't pay the extra support fee every 2 years, and upgrade to the latest major release then suddenly your existing version will lose the ability to update with new data from Mud Connector (this could also be extended to help file updates). Why?

Obviosuly, I didn't 100% accurately describe Cmud's upgrade policy, but you get the idea.

Erasmus
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