Bookkeeping for Dummies

QuickBooksMy award for the worst interface in a best-selling, market-leading software application goes to Intuit’s perversely inelegant QuickBooks. This bookkeeping program is more or less ubiquitous among small-businesses, in spite of its opaque and unfriendly design, which I find to be really amazing because it’s truly, profoundly awful. As the finances at Behavior have gotten more and more complicated, I’ve been finding myself spending increasing amounts of time trying to figure out QuickBooks’ hidden corners and idiosyncratic organizational structure. For someone who has only a cursory understanding of accounting, I find that almost nothing I click on behaves as I expect it to, and it provides no clear metaphors for understanding how to navigate through a company’s finances. Even fundamental behaviors like scrolling and searches are unpredictable, having been half-heartedly implemented or incompetently reinvented by Intuit’s software designers. I just can’t say it enough: this program sucks.



  1. You should try MYOB: it sucks in all the ways you’ve outlined above, and possibly more. One of things I PARTICULARLY hate about it is that it has no integration with my Mac OS X Address Book, so I must store – and keep updated – two sets of client data.

    Another favourite bit is the use of obscure tax codes with not even a hint of documentation about what they might mean. If I’m arrested for tax fraud, I’ll be calling MYOB as a witness.

  2. I haven’t tried Quicken, fortunately, and I have to agree with Virginia re MYOB and client details. It’s frustrating. However, accounting software is meant to be an organisational tool, not an accountant. Unfortunately, one of the responsibilities we have is keeping up to date with tax law etc, as tiresome and foreign as that may be. But griping that the software doesn’t tell us how to do taxes is somewhat akin to criticising Final Draft because “it didn’t tell me how to write a good screenplay”. In conclusion, I sympathise with tax difficulties, God knows I have them, but I am reluctant to blame the software. The Address Book and navigation things suck though.

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