Intuit founder Scott Cook this week laid out how the latest software market trends will impact accountants and their clients at the California Accounting & Business Show and Conference.

Addressing accounting professionals and consultants on the importance of listening to customers, Cook said that product simplicity, which he said has fueled Intuit's success for the past two decades, will be the driving force for all software in the future.

"To be successful, product development must trend towards easy-to-use, customer-driven products that change people's lives," said Cook. "Accounting professionals and small businesses want to be able to manage their businesses the easiest way possible."

Other trends Cook addressed in his keynote included:

-- One size does not fit all: Traditionally, the onus has been on customers to customize a product to meet their needs. Now businesses are looking for instant gratification. They need products to be right, right out of the box. Companies that deliver 'Right for Me' solutions like Levi's or Sirius Satellite Radio have shown that tailored products sell.

-- On demand is in demand: From the way consumers get their TV to the way businesses get their software, they want anytime, anywhere access. Companies that can instantly deliver the most recent, secure and reliable services will ultimately win the hearts of customers.

-- Power lies with the people: Reference sources need to be current and open. There are an increasing number of information sites based not on closed and static sources, but on what the users contribute. The work of everyone contributing together is greater than one person output. The explosion of tools like Wikipedia and blogs prove the value of user-based contribution systems.

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