Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Losing it!

Well, finally, after about 7 years, I've seen my assistant nearly lose her temper.

Let me tell you, it takes a lot. She spent this morning being me:

Lulu had to prepare a prior year return, installthe software, trouble shoot it, troubleshoot equipment failures and come out with a gleaming, glowing tax return with all the printing attributes intact.

We had to do a 1999 tax return.

For some reason, with all 5 computers being retained just for the purpose of being able to access really, really old programs (some spelled DOS), we didn't have1999 software on ANY of them.

So, I rooted through all the old discs to find the program we used for 1999. It was TaxWorks. That was the last year - and I'd forgotten just how bad a year that was for software.

We installed it on the computer that had all the other TaxWorks software on it. It blew the monitor.

(OK, so the monitor was already bad and that's why it was sitting there, turned off all this time. It wasn't really the program's fault. But we'd forgotten that monitor wasn't functional.)

This time, instead of me doing it all, Lulu had to take care of switching monitors. Plugging in another monitor helped her avoid having to install the program on another computer. That done. On to the return.

Even with all our access codes intact and entered, the program wouldn't compute the tax return. After trying every-thing, she finally had to break down and call tech support. Listening to all this from my side of the office, I was very pleased with how well the TaxWorks folks treated her, calling at the height of tax season about a 5 year-old program.

I don't know what they did, but she got itworking.

After I put in some review and teaching time, the return was done.

Ah, now to print. First - connect this unused computer to the new network printer, then...Oh yes, another of those bizarre TaxWorks DOS idiosyncracies. You have to load the soft fonts -before every attempt to print.

After a couple of attempts, we got it working. Proofread the return.

Then, just as a last precaution, decided to call the client and ask what address (of his many options) he wanted to use on the return. (I HAD asked him during our meeting, but...) Naturally, it was NOTthe address we had.

Trying to reprint the address pages took another hour of trying to get the fonts to work properly.

After 4 hours...I could finally see some smokecoming from her eyes, hands clenching, teeth grinding. And I felt so good!

See, it's not just all in my mind. It's not just me being a nasty, sour [enter invective here].

Dealing with hardware and software issues all day really does turn the sweetest people into monsters.

Well, almost. She never did lose it.

When she left at 1:15 p.m. Lulu had a sunny smile....

or maybe that's because she was leaving.

[Note: Tax Pros I've heard from who are using TaxWorks these days are loving it. ]

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