Quickbooks or Sithbooks? Bookkeeping on the dark side

Summary:Do you really want to trust your bookkeeping to the dark side? That's what went through my mind as I logged into Quickbooks this morning.

Do you really want to trust your bookkeeping to the dark side? That's what went through my mind as I logged into Quickbooks this morning. Here, see for yourself:

Now, quite obviously, "Darth" is a handle for the poster of the updated information. But this isn't a comment to a blog post. No, it's the official status update for Quickbooks Online, one of the most popular online accounting systems available.

There are other status updates as well. One is by "qbojedi" and another is by "qboarti". There's also a second update by "Darth," this time talking about March online feature updates.

Now, contrary to popular belief, I do not have a stick up my posterior oh-so-maximus. I love and cherish Star Wars -- well, not the new stuff. I mean, Jar Jar? Seriously?

But there are times for anonymous user handles and there are times for professional communication. A communication on the status of updates for an accounting system is not a time for fun user handles.

When you provide an accounting system like Quickbooks, you want to inspire comfortable confidence. You don't want your clients to wonder why a real human isn't using his or her name, or why a posting isn't by "Quickbooks Development Team" or some other suitably generic name.

You also don't want to give the impression of thousands of faceless drones operating a Web site, so devoid of personal identity that their only way of expressing identity is through their usernames.

Now, let's be clear. I'm a moderately loyal Quickbooks Online user. I've run my company on Quickbooks for years. I'm not the primary user, that job is done by the person who manages the company's books. But although we've found Quickbooks occasionally annoying, we were accounting in the cloud before the cloud was cool.

The point here is actually an object lesson for all company managers. Control your outbound communication. I'm pretty sure that the first time anyone in Intuit's corporate communications team finds out that Quickbooks Online Feature Updates are being communicated by a lord of the dark side will be when reading this article.

Message control is a bit out of control at Intuit. And all because an employee used a handle on a status update.

Oh, and this is a message directly for those at Intuit who may want to take out their ire on "Darth": This is not his or her fault. The fault, dear Intuit, is not in the Star Wars fans, but in the management, not the underlings.

Topics: Browser

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In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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