More than 50 teams of H&R Block engineers across India, Ireland and the U.S compete and collaborate to design what could be your next favorite application
H&R Block hosts its first internal hackathon to inspire tech talent & encourage innovation
Kansas City, Mo – (March 14, 2023) – H&R Block’s (NYSE: HRB) culture of innovation was on display as more than 300 associates from across the globe competed in the company’s inaugural Open IT hackathon. Fifty teams of IT associates demonstrated their talent in an event created to promote and foster innovation, creative problem solving and experimentation.
“I’m proud to say that H&R Block’s IT culture is one that craves tough problems and loves to leverage technology in creative ways to solve for business needs,” said Alan Lowden, Chief Information Officer, H&R Block. “To foster and celebrate this culture, we created a hackathon called OpenIT to give our teams a chance to innovate on new ideas that will drive meaningful impact. I was blown away by the incredible concepts the teams developed in 24 hours.”
Team “Taxformers” took the top prize at the competition for their “TaxGPT” concept, an AI-driven virtual help assistant conceptualized for H&R Block DIY Clients. The team designed this technology as an H&R Block digital overlay for existing pages as clients go through the tax Interview. It is meant to provide online expert assistance to H&R Block clients.
“It was a great experience for the team who collaborated to showcase a working product. The event was well organized and really brought out the belonging and connected culture at Block,” said Vin Kamat, Principal Architect, H&R Block and member of the Taxformers team.
Teams Prime Savants and 404 Error tied for second place in the competition. Team Prime Savants created an H&R Block App Catalog, displaying all the various company application interactions, enriched information and other metadata all in one place. This allows data from the applications to be continuously tracked in one platform and leveraged to see trends and improve performance. Team 404 Error designed a location-based application for Assisted tax clients, designed to promote a smooth process for walk-in tax clients, including suggesting alternate options for working with H&R Block of which they may not be aware.
“It was insightful to see teams come together and collaborate on projects to create innovative solutions,” said Syamlal Nair, Technology Manager, H&R Block India. “The energy in the building was palpable and it was great to see the diverse range of skills and backgrounds represented. This event provided an incredible opportunity for our associates to network and learn from each other.”
Open IT is a reflection of the company’s diverse and growing engineering culture that champions innovation year-round through programs like IT Accelerate, which is designed to attract early career professionals, or those transitioning into tech roles from other career fields. It’s a 12-month program built to engage top talent and provide an immersive onboarding experience, introducing candidates to the variety of technology opportunities at H&R Block and training them for long-term success within the company.
Be on the lookout for more tech recruitment and innovation stories from H&R Block. And click here to see engineering job openings within the company.