Top positive review
163 people found this helpful
Very Good With Caveats
on February 6, 2012
There are large, loud, and passionate debates about QB on the web, and many of the complaints people have are well-founded. But I've used just about every sort of accounting program out there and keep coming back to QuickBooks despite its shortcomings.
First of all, I'm not a trained accountant. While I do understand basic accounting concepts, and can look at a P&L without my head spinning, I can't really say the same about things like trial balances and general ledgers. So for ME - QuickBooks gives me the framework to keep close tabs on my business without feeling frustrated and stupid.
Entering information is extremely easy, and the import facility from Gmail is great - I decided to start a new company file from scratch for 2012 (I got a bit... sloppy about keeping up with an older file on my Mac, and figured out new and simpler ways to keep track of what was important), and it was a neat time-saver. While I'm on the subject, by the way, the Mac version doens't have all the features of the Windows version. If you have the option of either, make sure you choose carefully.
Entering information starting in Q4 of 2011 also went smoothly, and any time I made a mistake, or decided I'd like to keep things sorted a different way, it was easy to fix - something I always found could be a PITA with some other programs. Reports are easy to run, and connectivity with online banking is easy to do as well. I'm not using it for payroll, so I cannot speak to that.
But it does fall down in some places. First and foremost, they really need to stop trying to sell their additional (and IMO overpriced) products and services from within a paid piece of software - or at least making it so intrusive. The pop-ups are a total drag (though they CAN be turned off in preferences if you look hard enough or Google it) and things like a "Do More With Quickbooks" menu (which sells their services) that can't be removed from the Main Navigation screen is a bit of an insult.
As for missing or broken features, I've found two that are particularly irritating: the first is a lack of real price levels for products. In this version of QuickBooks, you CAN set a discount level for wholesale customers (we manufacture soap that's sold both retail and wholesale), but it's a blanket discount. What I'd like to do (and could in competing programs at the same price point) is set multiple price levels, and each product could have a pre-set price at each level, not just a blanket percentage. Seems to me if you're doning price levels at all, you should just do them right. The feature exists in QB Premier, but it's literally the ONLY feature I need from it and it's next to impossible to figure out how to upgrade (and likely wouldn't be worth the cash anywasy).
The customize forms section had some issues as well - I spent quite a lot of time working on customization, and it all appeared great until an invoice was emailed (they printed fine) at which point the entire layout came apart and it was unreadable. Awful that I couldn't see this unless I tested the send (which thankfully I did before sending one to a customer), and it took forever to figure out what was broken: turned out that it couldn't handle using Helvetica Neue for a font. I stuck with Ariel and had no such problems.
There are other issues here and there that make me unhappy: I can't change the default font size for program itself without a hack (it was just too small stock), whenever I go to the reports page I keep getting a popup telling me about the "New! Contributed Reports" that I can't turn off, and other minor customization issues.
In the end, I'll confess that if there was an accounting program that was as easy and flexible at the same price point, I'd consider it due to issues I've mentioned. But QB really does have the market to itself so that's not an option. But it's not so bad: the issues aren't killer (they're just the sorts of issues I, were I their interface consultant, wouldn't abide) and the positives for me make up for the negatives.