Do It Yourself Tax Software: Introducing Intuit

Intuit develops the personal finance programs Quicken and TurboTax, as well as the small business accounting program QuickBooks. Intuit also produces QuickBooks Point of Sale, professional tax solutions ProSeries and Lacerte, and the Web-based corporate workgroup productivity solution QuickBase. Intuit was co-founded by Thomas Proulx and Scott Cook in 1983.

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Where Are They Now?

Proulx, Intuit’s first programmer and a pioneer of usability testing, was the recipient of the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1992. Proulx resigned from Intuit in 1993 and is now CEO of Netpulse, a fitness entertainment company based in San Francisco, CA.

Cook served Intuit’s Chairman of the Board from February 1993 to July 1998. From April 1983 to April 1994, he also served as President and CEO of Intuit. In 2002, Cook and his wife, Signe Ostby, established the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Business, the nation’s first university-based center focused exclusively on training MBAs in brand and product management. In 2005, Cook was #320 on the Forbes 400, with a net worth of $1.1 billion

Notable Moments

  • Intuit patented a technique for a computer to verify that a user had correctly inserted blank checks in a dot matrix printer. This was essential to the near universal use of such checks in future accounting programs.
  • In 1984 Intuit recruited people off the street to test Quicken while being timed. After each test Proulx used feedback to improve the software. This is believed to be one of the first cases of usability testing with engineers.
  • In 1991 after Microsoft introduced a competitor to Quicken, Intuit became the first software company to offer a rebate.
  • In 1985, Intuit became the first company to shrink wrap floppy disks and manuals. This became standard practice in the software development industry.

Today, Intuit has more than US$4 billion in annual revenue and has been ranked one of Fortune’s “most admired software companies”.

 

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