by Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
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Avoid the Intuit Up Sell Machine

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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.

Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise SolutionsThe practice has become almost comical and it highlights a true disconnect between Intuit actually hearing its clients in need of solutions versus their perceived 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 (http://proadvisor.intuit.com/referral/).  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 your 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, www.QBornotQB.com/.  If you were trapped by the Up Sell Machine once, you don’t have to be trapped by it anymore.

8 Responses to Avoid the Intuit Up Sell Machine

  • Brandon
    I totally agree – by the time someone gets to me they are so frustrated that even though they are reaching out (yet again) for help (after having been through a long line of people telling them conflicting things) and being able to show them that what they want to accomplish can be done – just not with the way their file was set up – they act almost like I’m just someone else telling them a tall tale. And you are correct – it’s not a good way to start.

    As for pricing – well, don’t get me started on THAT (or I’m going to open my mouth and get in trouble once again – and I’m really trying to stay out of trouble these days).

  • It’s frustrating to me that Intuit has such a good product line but their pricing & internal support model both suck! By the time a new customer gets to me they are usually frustrated which is not a good way to start…to top it off…pricing…going up and up and no give & take, especially with merchant service. We are IRPs so we’re selling the entire product line…merchant service has been our bread & butter for years and they are making it HARD to compete.

  • Matt:

    Some good points you mention here.

    I expect we’ll see another increase in the pricing of Pro when 2012 hits the streets.
    We saw it when 2011 was released.

    QuickBooks Enterprise can definitely solve some issues for businesses that are truly outgrowing Pro or Premier. Unfortunately, they usually have no idea they have outgrown them until it starts to take forever to run reports or it crashes all the time on them.

    In addition, buyers need to understand that the use of “Enterprise” in the same sentence as “QuickBooks” may be contradictory. For example – shouldn’t an enterprise package allow for more than 2 contact names in the customer list?

  • Matt
    This is a great article, thanks for letting me share it here.

    I have been hearing the same “upgrade to Enterprise will cure everything” complaint from our customers; with many times it solving absolutely nothing.

    Thanks for the great tips 🙂

  • In regards to the comment to ask for advice or help from a local Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor at the following web site http://proadvisor.intuit.com/referral/, I would also add to only ask ProAdvisors who have:

    * A completed profile including all sections. A completed profile tells me that they are serious about marketing themselves and want new business.

    * Is currently certified in the last two years of QuickBooks. Currently Intuit offers ProAdvisors certification in 2010 and 2011.

    So, if someone isn’t certified in those two years, you have to wonder why since in order to be listed on the site you have to have certification in 2008 or higher (through May 31, 2011 and 2009 thereafter)? Why aren’t they up to date? What else are they not up to date about?

    * Should have at least three reviews. That is the same standard used to have a complete LinkedIn profile.

    * Get back to you within the time frame specified on their profile. I also recommend that you send an e-mail message with your complete contact information (it goes both ways) and leave a phone call. And yes, please tell us how you found us. Some of us like to track our responses.

  • Thanks Fran and Linda,

    I’m going to focus on writing more blogs in my free time (as if that exists).

    Matt

  • Matt,
    Great post. Very thoughtful.

  • Great post Matt! I find I rarely recommend Enterprise unless a client has a need for specific user preferences. Or if a client has a really large customer and item data base. I think many users are surprised at how similar Enterprise is to Premier, which costs much less.

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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