Covid-19, accountants and R&D tax claims – how do they hang together?

14th May 2020
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Our business founders noticed some key trends in the R&D tax market whilst working together at a successful R&D tax consultancy some years ago. We felt that automating the process of preparing R&D tax claims would be hugely beneficial to the industry, enabling smaller companies to access support through cost effective service delivery and accountants to expand their offering without relying on third party service providers.

Accountancy firm consulting on R&D tax

Accountants have been a vital part of the R&D claim process right from the very start of the scheme, as each and every claim is made via a company’s tax return. Nevertheless, many accountants take a conservative approach, only suggesting R&D tax relief if they know that their client’s work is on particularly strong ground, and perhaps lacking in either the confidence or simply the capacity to do the claims themselves and to pro-actively promote the service.

So, how does that relate to where we are now, deep into the current pandemic and the economic challenges that has generated?

Well, who’s the person that your average SME owner is going to turn to in a cash crisis, and a pretty serious one at that? Inevitably, to their most trusted business advisor, their accountant.

Right now, perhaps more than ever before, the calm, friendly and most of all professional voice of their accountant is exactly what an SME owner wants to hear.

But what does the accountant have in their kit bag right now that can help overcome a business critical cash crisis?

Amongst the plethora of support that has hit in recent weeks, whether that be furlough, CBILs, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Business Support grants and more, the R&D tax credit scheme has continued to be available and represents (for qualifying firms and projects) an opportunity to generate a real cash benefit for businesses in crisis.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, back to the start of this article – many accountants lack either, or sometimes both, the confidence or the capacity in their firm to handle R&D claims.

Right now, when both time and cash are at a premium, there is a need to deliver R&D tax claims quickly and cost-effectively to qualifying clients.

The challenge for many accountants, therefore, really revolves around four things:

  1. Lack of confidence in the scheme (there are over 500 pages of guidance)
  2. Lack of capacity to produce effective and compliant claims
  3. A need to generate claims quickly, in response to the cash needs of their clients
  4. Needing to do all of this cost effectively, adding the most value possible to the client whilst, of course, keeping their own heads above water with a profitable service

Is there a solution?

WhisperClaims was launched in response to demand from the accountancy sector for a software solution that simplifies the process of preparing R&D tax relief claims and empowers accountants nationwide to support their clients in recouping business sustaining tax benefits. These drivers have never been more relevant.

Our fully automated, cloud-based R&D claims preparation software can be used by accountants to prepare robust claims in as little as an hour without the need to outsource work to R&D tax specialists, but with all of the help necessary to build your confidence in the scheme at your fingertips; either within the app itself or at the end of a phone call.

Jen Badger and Richard Edwards WhisperClaims

In the past 18 months, over 200 accountants have used WhisperClaims to process over 500 claims. This equates to over £50m of eligible spend identified by accountants using our technology.

In recent weeks, volumes of claims through the platform have almost doubled, as our accountant users see the benefits, amongst helping their clients with other positive cashflow related projects, in getting R&D claims done both quickly and cost-effectively whilst having the confidence that these claims are compliant with HMRC’s needs.

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To find out more about the WhisperClaims solution and to book a demo, go to www.whisperclaims.co.uk