Fair warning – this might sound like a rant.  Perhaps it will read that way because Red Broken Link Showing Insecurity Weakness, disconnectionit is. The bank/accounting software link isn’t working.  Again.  Shouldn’t it be working all day, every day?

It’s tax season, and the scramble is on to get all of the numbers together and submit them as quickly as possible to score the refund.  Or the scramble is on to find all of the possible legal deductions so the tax bill will be as small as possible. You’ve assembled your w-2 forms, your 1099s, your interest statements and your escrow reports.  Now it’s time to pull your income and expense reports from your accounting software.

Oops.  It appears that the accounting software isn’t talking to the bank right now.  They must have had some sort of Valentine’s day dust-up, because accounting software ALWAYS talks to the bank, right? All you do is sign in to the accounting software, go to the button that reads, “Update” and click.  Enter another password, and voila! – there’s your list of downloaded transactions, ready to match with your electronic register entries.

Nope, today, the day when you want to make sure that all of your ducks are in a row, it’s not working properly. Yes, there are some workarounds, but who wants to do a workaround?  The workaround requires just what it says – more work.  The whole reason to have the electronic handshake is to avoid work, get the financial reports and bill paying done as quickly and painlessly

as possible and get on with your day.

It would be great to say that this is the first time this has happened.  Unfortunately it seems that every time someone on either end of the transaction chooses to update software the customer has to take accounts off of auto update and then put them back on again.  Then there’s the new password that has to be set.  Sure is lucky that there are no other passwords to remember or this would be truly inconvenient.

Yes, this particular issue is a first world problem.  In many countries you can’t count on having electricity functioning 24-7.  In some places you can’t rely on having running drinking water that doesn’t contain microscopic critters or lead that will make you sick and your children brain damaged.  But for these first world conveniences – OK, they have been elevated to the point of perceived necessities – we expect them to work whenever we want to use them.

When you’re the provider of the products or services in question you can inoculate your customers by giving them a heads up that there might be something wrong.  You can develop a recovery strategy to help them feel better when the anticipated problem does indeed happen.  But the fact remains that customers don’t want problems.  They want that reliable computer handshake.  They want to be able to keep their current passwords a little while longer.  Even if it’s not a problem that you created, you’re in the middle of it. And if it happens often enough it will chip away at their customer loyalty enough that they might choose to go somewhere else.