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a Run Through the Jungle of Software Development and Unrelated Sagas

Million-Dollar Idea – Quickbooks / MYOB for humans

with 7 comments

Disclosure: I hate Quickbooks – it takes control of my livelihood and obfuscates it. It literally makes me angry that I have to learn such a complicated error-prone system.I could (probably should) track my money in MS Excel just so I can understand what the hell is going on in there.

The only thing I hate more is MYOB. Go on, press the escape key just once too often and you’ll lose everything it took you so long to figure out in the data-entry page that just disappeared. These 2 piles of steaming shit are only written to keep accountants (big buddy customers of both these shysters) in easy money. This sort of trivial stuff is their version of Hello World. Surely it annoys them even more than it annoys me.

C’mon folks – this is a no-brainer. Tax works in a very predictable, rule-driven manner. All we need is someone who understands these rules and workflows to code them up into a workflow so I don’t have to do it step by bloody step.

User Requirement: I don’t want to learn a complicated mechanism for something that should take less than 1% of my time and headspace. I also want it to be transparent and tell me what it is doing in a simple, no accountancy degree required manner.

ForExampleInstance – I buy a laptop for $2000. I already told my software I’m on the Simplified Tax System / Small Business Entities Provisions so it knows how to deal with an assett.

  1. Ask me what percentage I use it for business. Why, all of it, Sir (wink)
  2. Apportion the GST as per my answer in step 1. Remember this for my BAS
  3. Add it to to my short-term asset pool because it cost me more than $1000. If it cost less than a grand the write the whole lot off right now – but you’ll still need to remember it’s an asset in case I sell it.
  4. Create a fixed-asset sub-account for the new asset to track its value
  5. Create a fixed asset sub-account to track the depreciation for both the business and personal portions.
  6. Do other weird bean-county shit
  7. Automagically create the depreciation transactions on the last day of the financial year for 15% for the 1st year and 30% every year thereafter. Set & forget.
  8. If I sell it, drop it or whatever, remove it from the asset account and record the income from the sale, or my misery at the pile of broken plastic.

For me, the user, all I want to do is click “I bought someting”, pick a category, type in a few details from the invoice / receipt and click ok. I don’t want to got to the Chart of Accounts and frig with registers or whatever the hell they call it. Can you guess how easy it is for me to totally fuck that up ?

I am not an accountant – I am a human being (in my best John Merrick voice with apologies to the accountants out there). I don’t want to be an accountant and I don’t want to pay an accountant to do such boring, trivial CRUD. Accountants should be paid for their expertise and advice, not for deciphering inevitable user-error in counter-intuitive, 3rd rate BookKeeping software. No, I don’t want to pay a bookkeeper for something that should be really easy to do myself … point and click.

So, here is your challenge today – Break the duopoly! Make bookkeeping a pleasant User eXperience. I will pay you. I’ll even pay every year. Tax rules change & so does your config file. That means a software assurance subscription. Just don’t try to extort hundreds of dollars for it – or not.

I already linked to it (duopoly) but this article is an interesting read too.

Somebody – Help!

Written by CADbloke

September 19, 2008 at 1:07 pm

7 Responses

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  1. I’m still using this pile of steaming crap – only because I’m too lazy to find anything new.

    2 tips to getting Quickbooks running in Vista, particularly to get around the access violation error when it starts up. If you’re reading this then you will already know that the error dialogue it spits out is particularly uninformative. Get used to it – the rest of Quickbooks is pretty-much the same.

    1. It depends on Internet Exploder. They don’t tell you this because they are hackers and their program is a pile of steaming shit. Moving right along … Open Internet Explorer, Click … Tools > Internet Options > Security tab > Internet zone > Custom Level > Medium-High (Default) > Reset

    2. Disable UAC for Quickbooks. Google that one cos I’ve suddenly lost interest in hacking around Quickbooks.

    I have had it running on Windows Server 2008 too. It also seems to play ok with Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2

    If anyone knows of something infinitely more usable that encompasses GST/VAT (particularly in Australia) and isn’t MYOB then I’d love to hear about it. It needs invoicing, doesn’t need inventory or payroll.

    Good luck


    October 22, 2008 at 10:43 am

  2. Loads of my clients use MYOB, simply because it seems to be the defacto standard for small business/sole trader accounting in Australia. I used to do all my accounts in Excel, but I switched to MYOB because it was slightly easier to track referral sources (for marketing purposes).

    However, I was somewhat shocked to find that MYOB are basically still selling a Windows 3.1-era program with just some updated tax tables. Both myself and many of my clients have issues with the text size not scaling correctly to larger resolutions. Maybe when this software was first built everyone was running 640×480, but nowadays when the default resolution of most PC’s is up around 1280×1024, MYOB looks ridiculous.

    And let’s not forget MYOB Premier – a great idea with a piss-poor implementation. Have the developers at MYOB not heard of SQL????


    December 15, 2008 at 8:27 am

  3. I totally agree with your comments, until recently.

    Once the bugs were ironed out (and it should never have been released with so many bugs) QuickBooks i series is AWESOME.

    I was a vocally very critical of this product when it first laucnhed but with the latest version it is stable and very intuitive (and beeing based on SQL very usable)

    My wife does the accounting for our two businesses on Quit Books Premier 2008 and she is not an accountant and this product rocks.

    I HATE MYOB but for small businesses that turn over staff regularly it is the industry standard unfortunatly. Their SQL version is due for release in late 2009 so after 17 years it may suddenly also be more usable. Watch this space!

    Coffee Machines

    January 28, 2009 at 10:31 am

  4. The complexity of Accounting software is a reflection on the complexity of the Tax System, and the more complex the system the more it makes Accounting hard, and keeps Accountants in a job!

    The example in the article highlights how complex things are in Australia, and that is probably .0001% of the rules that would be required to achieve a truely automated system. By the time you had worked through all the questions that needed to be asked to determine the tax outcome (As per your example) – it would have been cheaper to hire a bookkeeper – I bet you you earn more than them.

    So I would suggest putting your focus to questioning the Tax System – the so called Simplified Tax System is a joke – sure might provide a tax benefit – but you spend more money in compliance than you would save. So direct your anger to the Tax Office.

    Also remember MYOB and QuickBooks are more than Accounting – they provide Business Management – and if you are running a good business – you will use them to help Manage your Business (Sales, Purchases, Receivables, Payables, Payroll etc) – if you want to run your business with a Shoebox of Receipts or Excel – no problems – just don’t expect to get any business management value out of it unless you build an Business Management system in Excel and then sell an Accounting system – of course that would not be SQL so based on other comments would suck – but of course if you are a small business with no need to have heaps of users – who gives a %^$$# about SQL 🙂

    Accounting Change

    February 12, 2009 at 4:58 pm

  5. I’m angry. I purchased Quickbooks Pro 2008 for the company I worked for, paid for it, installed it, and then they fired me. I have all the registration information and I want to disable it; however they have changed all the passwords. Everything I used there I had to purchase – they used – and after I trained the idiot boss – I was out. Any ideas how to disable.


    August 4, 2009 at 12:31 am

    • Don’t get mad – get even. Get legal advice on that one. You might have a case for suing them for fraud or theft. If you can’t sue them I’d be contacting Quickbooks and transferring the license to a new installation on your computer – then they are operating Quickbooks without a license. Ditto for whatever else you can track down. Whatever you do – don’t break any laws.

      Then ask yourself why the hell you paid for it yourself in the first place. People have paid a lot more for less-valuable lessons. I bet you won’t do it again.


      August 9, 2009 at 10:44 am

  6. I read your post and it made me laugh!

    This are exactly the same things that caused us to develop our new accounting software.

    These things shouldnt be so complaicated, right?

    We believe Nominal Small Business Accounting Software can solve soe of your problems. It was designed with the needs of small businesses in mind.

    And it has some cool features like supporting SBR (xbrl) which will make submitting your BAS or TFN a breeze.

    Try it out on our website at http://www.nominal.com.au

    Team Nominal


    August 23, 2010 at 1:38 am

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