How to polish the bottom line? Microsoft makes it really hard to claim expenses, say staffers

If even Captain PowerShell can't automate this, what hope is there for the rest of us?

As Microsoft toasts another quarter of soaring profits, The Reg can't help but wonder if the bottom line is being ever so gently assisted by something that seems to be blighting its staff: difficulty claiming expenses.

Jeffrey Snover, Microsoft Technical Fellow, beloved by administrators for PowerShell and stockholders for the likes of Azure Stack, kicked things off last night by airing niggles in that most measured of places – Twitter.

By way of explanation, Snover told The Register "I'm just terrible at following instructions so I'm sure I play a big role here."

Normally he has an administrator to navigate Redmond's systems "because," he said "I suck at doing these things."

We know the feeling.

He was soon joined by fellow Microsoft employees in a lengthy thread bemoaning the app habits of beancounters that all too often seem designed to inhibit rather than assist in the claiming of work expenses. A complaint all too familiar in the corporate world; Microsoft is certainly not alone in foisting internal systems on workers that seem to almost take glee in their obtuseness.

Then again, we're a little surprised that Snover didn't simply automate the heck out of it. If the architect of Windows PowerShell can't sling together a script to satisfy the whims of accounts then what hope is there for the rest of us?

"I would love everything to have a PowerShell interface," said Snover, "but I think that wouldn't help most people doing expenses."

Oh, we don't know. Some systems we've endured make writing one's own cmdlet look like an iteration of "Hello world!" in TI BASIC.

Other posters stated the obvious – how can it be that a software giant like Microsoft seems unable to get the basics right internally? A cynic might posit that quality is occasionally amiss in Microsoft's emissions and, as it famously enjoys chowing down on its own dogfood, employees will get to experience the same joy as the administrator faced with patching the patch because someone forgot Hyper-V was a thing. Just via the medium of an expense claim.

"Apparently," Snover told us, "my timing is really bad as the company is supposed to be rolling out a new Expense tool any minute now."

Still, Microsoft isn't alone. This hack well remembers being behind the corporate barricades and playing the "pick a cost centre" game on a system that refused to run on anything other than Internet Explorer 8. Happy days.

Is it just us and Snover? Perhaps take a bit of satisfaction in knowing that even if Microsoft's financial results are way up, delight with some of its internal systems seems way down.

Oh, and leave us a comment on the byzantine methods your beancounters have employed to avoid coughing up for that late-night pizza. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Seriously, you do not want to make that cable your earth
    Network? What's that when it's at home?

    On Call This week we bring you a shocking incident for a Register reader who was party to an electrical engineer's earthly delights.

    "Andrew" takes us back to the 1980s, the days of DECNet, DEC Rainbow PCs, and the inevitable VAX or two.

    Back then, DECnet was a big noise in networking. Originally conceived in the 1970s to connect PDP-11 minis, it had evolved over the years and was having its time in the sun before alternative networking technologies took over.

    Continue reading
  • Protecting data now as the quantum era approaches
    Startup QuSecure is the latest vendor to jump into the field with its as-a-service offering

    Analysis Startup QuSecure will this week introduce a service aimed at addressing how to safeguard cybersecurity once quantum computing renders current public key encryption technologies vulnerable.

    It's unclear when quantum computers will easily crack classical crypto – estimates range from three to five years to never – but conventional wisdom is that now's the time to start preparing to ensure data remains encrypted.

    A growing list of established vendors like IBM and Google and smaller startups – Quantum Xchange and Quantinuum, among others – have worked on this for several years. QuSecure, which is launching this week after three years in stealth mode, will offer a fully managed service approach with QuProtect, which is designed to not only secure data now against conventional threats but also against future attacks from nation-states and bad actors leveraging quantum systems.

    Continue reading
  • China’s GitHub clone making all repos private pending mysterious ‘review’
    Gitee apologises but won't explain why this is happening

    China’s approved GitHub clone, Gitee, has warned users that it will make all existing repositories private pending a mysterious review of their content.

    Gitee offers Git and Apache Subversion as a service. But while GitHub has occasionally been banned in China, Gitee was anointed as China’s designated open source development hub in 2020, after the nation’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology conducted a bidding process.

    The Reg keeps an eye on Gitee and sees a steady stream of blog posts about product and service updates, plus news of open source software in China. The service is sufficiently committed to the cause of open source to have signed up to mirror Linux Foundation code and is thought to have around eight million users.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022