Sunday, March 13, 2011

Avoid the Intuit Up Sell Machine

Recently Many ProAdvisors and QuickBooks customers alike have been complaining because the standard reply whenever you talk to QuickBooks Support is “you need to upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise”, as if QuickBooks Enterprise could part the Red Sea, should you need that in your accounting software.

The practice has become almost comical and it highlights a true disconnect between Intuit actually hearing its clients in need of solutions versus their percieved opportunity to close another sale.

First, a little background. Microsoft attempted to compete directly with Intuit by introducing Microsoft Small Business Accounting Software in 2007. In response Intuit slashed its prices on the Pro product so that Microsoft couldn't beat them on cost at the low end. Thus Microsoft couldn’t get a foothold in the market.

The good news for Intuit is, that strategy worked and Microsoft bailed out of the lower end accounting software market, the bad news is that the pricing model is still out there, and we know that after Staples and Costco take their 50%, Intuit makes almost nothing on QB Pro. In fact, they probably lose money.

So now Intuit is stuck with 5 million businesses that use their product for which they lose money. The only way for them to make money is to Sell Enterprise, Merchant Services, Payroll, or some other add on service where they have high profit margins.

This of course has turned the entire corporation into the “Up Sell Machine” that is disenfranchising everyone in the loop.

If they would just charge $250 -$300 for Pro, they would get out of this silly bait and switch routine with their customers and they would make some profit on Pro. As it is they’ve turned themselves into the crack dealer, giving out something for free and then demanding your first born once you get addicted. There’s no middle ground, and Intuit is shameless in its willingness to peddle products and services that their customers don’t need.

So what can you do about it? First I would suggest getting advice from a local QuickBooks ProAdvisor. In General, ProAdvisors are much more concerned about their clients well being and efficient use of working capital than Intuit. You can find a list of QuickBooks ProAdvisors here ( ). While there are good and bad eggs in any profession, my suggestion is interview a few ProAdvisors until you find one you like. I would also say that you generally get what you pay for. While you may not believe that a ProAdvisor whose rate is $150 per hour could possibly be worth 3X the price of a ProAdvisor that is $50 per hour, my experience says quite the opposite. You definitely get what you pay for and often that high priced consultant can work 3 times as fast.

OK, so now you have a ProAdvisor, but they can’t fix your problem. Now you must navigate the gauntlet that is QuickBooks Support. First define your issue clearly so you can articulate it clearly to the support personnel (i.e. don’t let them sidetrack you). Research issues around you problem and get confirmation that upgrading to Enterprise is not what you need. Next block out time to deal with your issue and don’t let yourself get frustrated. Lastly don’t agree to buy anything without a day or two to do some research and sleep on it.

Upgrading to Enterprise may well be what you need in your circumstance, but it’s not the resolution to every problem as Intuit promotes. Do research on the internet and read other articles here in my blog. Based on that information you should get a good feel for whether Enterprise is really right for your needs.

Finally, if Intuit has already got you to buy Enterprise and your business doesn’t really need Enterprise, don’t feel like you’ve made a costly lifelong mistake. We at QB or not QB have developed a serve where we can Convert QuickBooks Enterprise Files to QuickBooks Pro or Premier Format. The conversion can be performed in a few hours and the downgrade to Pro or Premier is a complete process where no data is lost. Visit our website for more details . If you were trapped by the Up Sell Machine once, you don’t have to be trapped by it anymore.

Matt Clark is the Principal for QB or not QB, a company that focuses on helping customers work with large QuickBooks files, prepare QuickBooks files for the scope of IRS audits and convert QuickBooks Enterprise files to Pro or Premier format.

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