Over the 10 years they’ve been in business, Paul and Vicky have seen a significant change in the approach they needed to take with clients. Initially, their goal was to make sure that ALL SMEs who were eligible knew about the relief, and how to claim. However, things have changed since then.

Concerns about slipping standards in the R&D industry

Around 5 years ago, they noticed a significant shift where they began to spend as much time explaining to SMEs why they were NOT eligible to claim. Poor qualify providers were taking advantage of HMRC’s minimal oversight and encouraging SMEs to make claims that weren’t a great fit for the scheme.

“[We’ve seen] the increasing number of dishonest R&D advisors which has led to widespread abuse of the system. We feel this has a direct link to the cuts to SME relief later this year, which will have a sizeable impact on a number of our clients.”

After significant coverage of R&D tax relief in the press in November 2022, they signed up to join us in The R&D Community. This decision was further validated by the Chancellors decision to reduce the rates of relief a few days later.

In the long term, they see The R&D Community as a key resource for accountants and SMEs who are looking to find responsible support for their claims.

“We believe that HMRC’s increased scrutiny of R&D claims will lead to action against some of the disreputable R&D advisors. This will cause a lot of accountants currently outsourcing their R&D to a third party to question those relationships. Potentially they’ll be looking for a source to find a new, more trustworthy and qualified R&D consultancy partner which should lead some of them to The R&D Community.”

Industry updates and insider information

As experienced advisors, Paul and Vicky flew through our training courses without many bumps in the road. What they’ve continued to find especially useful has been their access to our Community Forum on WhatsApp.

“The WhatsApp group is also beneficial as a lot of activity happens in the field of R&D that others are only aware of through word of mouth and so a channel like this can be very important. For example, we were unaware of the FIS letters until we heard from others whose clients had received them which gave us a valuable insight into the measures being undertaken by HMRC to combat fraud of the R&D schemes.”

As well as the WhatsApp group, we run regular webinars to keep our members up to date on industry developments, new rules and guidance, and other timely information.

They anticipate the training courses being incredibly useful for onboarding new staff in future. As they’ve both completed our entire course catalogue, we asked them which one they’d found most helpful when working with their clients.

“It was good to see the section “How to discuss R&D with clients” take a step away from the technical aspect of claims and focus on best practice in terms of how a reputable R&D consultancy firm should operate.”

Sounds like a good fit?

If you’ve been reading Paul and Vicky’s story and feel like you share the same challenges and values, we’d love to welcome you to the community too. You can:

We hope these resources will answer all your questions, but if there’s anything you’d like to discuss, please get in touch and let us know!