CorporateTax & AccountingMay 20, 2016

A glimpse into the future: Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting's third annual iLab Code Games

Earlier this month, as part of Wolters Kluwer’s ongoing global drive for innovation, more than 500 employees in 10 countries participated in the third annual Tax & Accounting iLab (Innovation Lab) Code Games. Their goal: to generate a new series of innovations, celebrate the division’s coding talent, and perhaps catch a glimpse of some future expert solutions.

The art, craft and value of coding

Code powers our digital world. Every website, smartphone app, computer programme or computer game, even the keyboard you type on, relies on code to operate. This makes coders both the architects and builders of our digital age.

Coding is communication. It allows developers to articulate and share ideas, and ensures software can execute those ideas. To do that, developers learn different languages, designed with specific purposes in mind. These languages even have style guides to help articulate ideas with clarity. As Grady Booch, software innovation pioneer wrote, ‘Clean code reads like well-written prose’.

Coding also builds computational thinking: How to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable ones. Which is also how our software engineers can solve our customer problems. Naturally, we value our coders highly.

Tax & Accounting iLab Code Games 2016

What started in 2014 in a single Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting office in Irving, Texas, has quickly grown into a global event. This year’s software development coding competition was made up of 122 teams of more than 500 employees in 10 countries. It was intense, fun and highly productive.

After being briefed, the teams were given just two days to innovate a new customer solution, then code ‘on the spot’ to develop a working prototype. The promise of intense teamwork with fun activities, raffles, plenty of food and a wide range of tech and cash prizes kept participants sharp and focused, while on-site yoga and meditation helped create an environment of mindfulness. You can get an impression of the fantastic energy and ideas from the Code Games video.

The competition culminated in demonstrations by the teams, assessed by a mixed panel of judges of Wolters Kluwer executives and local customers. Entries were rated on level of innovation, technical achievement, and potential value generation.

More than 300 winners emerged globally, claiming either a first, second or third place prize in multiple categories. The winning teams not only earned the praise and respect of their colleagues, but also the potential for further development in the Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting iLab (Innovation Lab).

A glimpse into the future

As some of the entries from Code Games are still ‘on their way’ to the iLab, we’re not able to share them with you just yet. However, participating judge/customer Ira Lippel, CPA and Managing Partner at Allen C. Schneider & Co. (a leading certified public accountant in the United States) was excited by what he saw. “I found it fascinating being able to take a look into pieces of what might be in my near future,” said Lippel. “But best of all I enjoyed being a small part of that future.”

Karen Abramson, CEO Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, who was also a judge in this year’s event, said, “Events like the Code Games are core to Wolters Kluwer’s culture in that they foster a constant ecosystem of innovation across the company. This event embodies the true spirit of Wolters Kluwer and its innovative thinking. I was impressed.”

At Wolters Kluwer there are any number of innovation initiatives happening globally at any one time: over 18,000 employees generating fresh, new ideas to help grow our value for employees, shareholders and, of course, our customers. To date, this has yielded great results:

  • CCH Axcess is the tax profession’s only modular cloud-based solution
  • OneSumX is a full ecosystem of complementary and comprehensive solutions and services to manage the intersection of governance, finance, risk and compliance
  • Kleos is the only product on the market offering a next generation cloud platform supporting both the practice and business of law, and is fully compliant with local regulations.

We cannot help but wonder if some of this year’s innovations from the Tax & Accounting Code Games will be on par with our previous Company ones.

Time, as they say, will tell.

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