Earlier today, eBay announced that they were going to slash 1,000 jobs (about 10% of their work force) at the same time that they announced several pricey acquisitions including their purchase of credit company Bill Me Later for $945 million. Stockholders reacted by driving the stock price lower than it has been in 6 years and sellers and buyers alike were left scratching their heads. Full story here.

“We like the counter-intuitive nature of this acquisition.” -eBay President John Donahoe

But while eBay enthusiasts try to unravel the mysteries of What is John Donahoe thinking? and What is going on over at eBay? I wanted to take a look at a more specific mystery.

What happened to the new online version of eBay Accounting Assistant?

(If you are wondering what Accounting Assistant is, it is a free program offered by eBay that manages a seller’s financial information including sales records, sales tax, all eBay and PayPal fees, etc. It also provides the option for sellers to import their eBay sales into Quickbooks which is a big time saver and is the best tool that eBay offers for viewing sale tax records. Sure there are other programs out there that do just this, but Accounting Assistant is a very powerful program. . . for free. The current version is available for download here.)

On June 21st, 2008, at eBay Live, eBay staff offered a workshop and demo the newest version of Accounting Assistant. Some long requested new features that got sellers excited were:

  • New online only interface (nothing to download)
  • Compatibility with not only Quickbooks but also SageFire
  • Ability to import PayPal shipping costs (a glaring omission from the current program)

eBay at this event told sellers that it would be “days, not weeks” until this program debuted.

Adding to the excitement, eBay held a workshop on how to use the new Accounting Assistant on August 20th. Repeating a lot of what was said at eBay Live, the workshop taught sellers how to set up their account in the new Accounting Assistant. When a workshop participant asked how soon this program would be available, the moderator’s answer was “very soon.” You can view that workshop here.

Surely, after holding not one but two workshops training sellers on how to use this program, the program must be about to come out any day now, right?

Fast forward to September 11th, 2008. Lomax, an eBay pink moderator, post the following message on the boards:


As you may know, the launch of the new Accounting Assistant product is late. We are working to wrap up the testing/bug fixing and will release the product as soon as possible.

Think days rather than weeks. Thanks you for your patience.

There is that “days rather than weeks” thing again! Now, as the clever reader will notice, that post was nearly a month ago and this program is still not out. Did Lomax mean for us to think months not days? There are some rumors about when it will come out in that thread but everything is wild speculation as there is no official answer.

So here is the mystery. What is the hold up? After all, the program was finished enough that they have a large number of screenshots and they were confident enough that its ready to hold two training workshops. Why are we going into our 4th month with still no sign of this program? What went wrong?

What do you think? Will we ever see this program?