Chris Heijdens is Counter’s director of product development and maker of CounterMeasure, our intelligence augmentation software for tax litigation. Chris has a long software-building history, but while he does love casual Fridays more than most, that’s where any programmer stereotypes end. He says that the best thing about working with him is his charming personality.
He’s not wrong, but Chris also brings some serious brainpower and experience. He preaches the gospel of automation, really believing that the world has yet to use the full potential of computers – in fact, creating our robot overlords is his life’s mission. He uses the dishwasher on principle because if we’ve made a machine for washing dishes, we should use it.
Counter has been a great resource and basis of support for my accounting practice and my clients.
— Robert D. Petroff, CPA, CGA & LPA, Robert D. Petroff Professional Corporation
It is our view that Counter’s deep commitment to our case resulted in our success before the courts…. We are forever grateful for the support shown by Counter in our time of need. clients.
— Stephen Kaegi
But CounterMeasure is no dishwasher, and Chris has his work cut out for him. The thing is, nobody’s really built anything like this before, and tax litigation falls decidedly more within the realm of art than science – which makes it tough to map out the process with the scientific rigour required for software. To figure it all out, Chris has been adding more books on Bayesian networks, decision trees, and influence diagrams to our library.
Luckily, Chris lives and breathes custom software solutions. A cofounder of Tristan Interactive, a tech company producing apps for museums and similar institutions, Chris worked with clients like the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian, and the Musée du Louvre developing custom guide apps. The company was sold to Espro Acoustiguide Group in 2013. Before that, Chris made games for mobile devices. That job taught him the joy of building things that people will actually use – and love to use. And we certainly love to use CounterMeasure. It’s the Candy Crush of tax law.
We hope that Chris finds CounterMeasure just as fun. The program analyzes multi-year tax returns, legal and factual issues, procedural paths, and complex tax calculations, which together can result in hundreds of possible outcomes for even simple tax appeals. It’s all a lot more than we can wrap our heads around–which is why we’re building it in the first place–but Chris is used to masterminding complexity, and he handles the many facets of his role with ease.
That might be because he’s spent a lot of time learning how to go with the flow. A fixture at Second City, Chris is working hard to get the Counter team to embrace the improv comedy lifestyle. According to him, it teaches honesty, trust, commitment, and an ability to embrace failure, and he tells everyone that they should really try it.
We suspect that we won’t escape him completely, but we’re satisfied for now to have a teammate who’s quick on his feet and consistently makes us laugh until our abs hurt. And that’s great because, if we’re honest, we’re too busy solving tax issues to hit the gym.
Ontario College Advanced Diploma in Computing Science, Algonquin College