Quickbooks or Sithbooks? Bookkeeping on the dark side

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.

TOPICS: Browser

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.

Topic: Browser


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Well . . .

    Well, I personally stopped using Quicken (the desktop version) myself. It takes an accountant to figure out the way they do things.

    Never caught onto the online stuff, there are some issues with trusting an online service for managing your financial info. I don't trust online stuff with my financial info.

    Recently, I've been using something called YNAB. Works well, doesn't need a degree in accounting to figure out.
  • You make a valid point

    Beyond that though, the QB online edition pales in its capabilities reach when compared to the desktop version. The differences between the two really make 'em different beasts. I realize QB online is a web based accounting package aimed for small businesses, but still.

    That home page "dashboard" could use some customization improvement. Some features cannot be turned off or disabled, yet others that existed earlier are now gone. At least you still have three package grades to choose from, and fairly nimble phone support, along with easy 24/7 log in. The option that allows simultaneous users can be a BIG plus for some.
  • QuickBooks Online, I would rather spend an hour at the dentist, Xero

    QuickBooks desktop IS far better than QuickBooks Online, but both are very outdated. Why import entries from each bank and credit card separately, while we wait? Why manually enter them? Xero, Zoho Books and others automatically load AND CLASSIFY all entries nightly, from up to 12,000 banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions. They use read-only encrypted feeds from Yodlee, which are completely safe. More than half of the 300 largest banks use Yodlee software to give 35 million customers their balances. For 28 years I was a Quicken and QuickBooks star. Now I am #2 for Xero in the U.S., @ $12/month.
  • So if this is management's fault, not the underlings

    are you saying that it's Emperor Palpatine's fault?
    William Farrel
    • "Darth" does not identify himself

      it could be Maul, Vader, or Sidious...
  • I agree with David.

    This is an official business communication. When I am working, I don't post on my workorders "Done by longhornak". I use my real name, and do so professionally. My manager wouldn't tolerate otherwise.

    Maybe they should change the handle to "Commander Tomalak" or "Gul Dukat". Now that would be cool. :-)
  • Better be careful David.

    "Sithbooks" ? Sure would hate to see you make a typo with this word. ;-)
  • It is obvoiusly Darth Bobo...

    "Never underestimate the power of a Dark Clown!"