144. Choosing an R&D tax adviser: why cheap isn’t necessarily cheerful

Research & development (R&D) claim preparation is a technically-demanding process and potentially distracting to a business when they are not set up to produce the correct analysis of expenditure or supporting records.

This can also be very damaging as a poor-quality claim means you expose yourself to a much greater risk of errors, enquiries, and possible penalties from HMRC.

Choosing the right team of technically competent R&D professionals will ensure you properly identify and justify all eligible R&D expenditure to get the maximum reward for your work.

What are the fees involved?

Fees typically range from 5%-25% of the total claim amount. The percentage will be your first indication of the quality and extent of the service you are likely to receive.

Lower fees mean that an adviser is less ‘invested’ in your business and is therefore not incentivised to maximise your claim. They will also probably not be there to support you when you need them most; for example, if your claim went to enquiry.

The breadth of the work (and what your adviser will do in the event of an HMRC enquiry) is a crucial consideration.

That doesn’t mean you should necessarily go for the most expensive option.

However, checking the fees in relation to the scope of work allows you to properly evaluate the service (including how much of your time will be required) and, therefore gauge value for money.

The most respected R&D advisers will always offer value – their reputation depends on it.

What to look for in an R&D tax consultant

Before entering into any agreement, you should check that your selected R&D consultancy is able to answer the following questions (and the correct answers are obvious):

  • Are they regulated advisers?
  • How will they protect you and your information?
  • Do they know (and have regular training) on the government’s R&D legislation? Are they able to explain how – and to what extent – your work aligns with the legislation?
  • Do they take the time to speak to your technical staff, understand your business, and the shape and nature of your R&D?
  • Will they visit your business in person (or, at the very least, speak with your team via video conference)?
  • Do they prepare a technical narrative to represent some of your key R&D projects?
  • Do they have staff with specialist, sector-specific expertise?
  • Can they offer testimonials from previous clients?
  • Do they ask you to prepare your own technical documentation or send generic templates and questionnaires?
  • Do they report back to you on their calculations and discussions, sending claim documentation for your approval before submission?
  • Do they have a quality assurance process?
  • Does their fee include enquiry support if HMRC have further questions about the claim or conduct a spot-check?

Tectona Tip: Any R&D adviser or consultant should be able to answer all of these points in the affirmative. If they can’t, we suggest you look elsewhere.

Making the most of your R&D claim

R&D is a form of self-assessment. You do not need to work with an R&D tax adviser to submit a claim but doing so can hugely increase the robustness of your submission. This, ultimately, will ensure you are getting the full amount you are entitled to.

At Tectona, we see the best service that we can give our clients in this area is to introduce them to someone we know will give them support where they need it most.

We have partnered with Kene Partners who have the right team and the right expertise to deliver the right solution, on time, every time.

Kene Partners have the technical knowledge, expertise and key relationships with HMRC to make sure you receive the full amount of benefit you are entitled to.

The benefit of this partnering relationship is that you can access a fast-track assessment of your potential to claim R&D. What could your claim be worth?

To book your free consultation, visit Kene Partners.

About Tectona

Tectona Partnership helps business owners sleep at night by embedding one of our 16 commercially minded finance directors in your management team.

Very often, a part time finance director is the most effective solution.

We make sure you have the necessary management information and strategic insight to make informed decisions and reduce risk; and we will absolutely tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it.

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