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How WhisperClaims quietly empowers accountants in R&D tax

8th Aug 2023
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WhisperClaims was launched in response to demand from the accountancy sector for a software...
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Accountants using WhisperClaims tools to prepare claims.
WhisperClaims

Whisperclaims are a software company—we’re here to help UK accountants to understand and navigate the complexity behind HMRC’s R&D tax scheme with confidence, in a way that’s clear and comprehensible.

The R&D tax landscape is currently moving and changing at an extraordinary pace, with lots of legislation reform, a House of Lords enquiry, a shift in HMR’s behaviour and new processes and protocols being introduced. 

For accountants new to offering an R&D tax advice service, and for those already immersed in the process, they are very understandably looking for a place to turn to seek clarity, ask questions and get help to navigate all the noise. And now, with the imminent implementation of the Additional Information Form (AIF), as well as having R&D experts to lean on, firms need to find even more efficiencies to comply with this  big new step in their processes—and technology is the answer.

WhisperClaims offers both a reliable shoulder, with Advice Line support channels to help with scheme and eligibility queries, and a unique software solution to remove friction and save time at the point of completing the AIF.

Where did it all start?

From the very beginning we understood how important a support function would be for our customers—software solutions need support right? Questions from: How do I do this, where do I input that? 

What we didn’t anticipate was how the type of support we would be delivering to our customers would evolve and just how vital it would be to our overall offering. It became apparent very quickly that our customers didn’t need tech support, they needed scheme support. That was back in 2018—and since then our team have been assisting over 160 accountancy firms and specialist advisors through a variety of services and channels that we offer as part of our comprehensive support wrap.

What services do we offer?

Advice Line

The foundation / fundamental pillar of our support offering is our Advice Line. Our customers can call, email or live chat our team to ask for help with any scheme or eligibility related queries that they are experiencing. Over the years this has been a vital and much needed channel for our customers who are new to the scheme and also to our very experienced customers who like to know we are here in the background for them to lean on.

Our customers trust us to keep informed and current which allows them to focus on delivering an exceptional service to their clients.

WhisperClaims App

Accountants have always been their client’s trusted advisor for all their financial needs and embracing technology has made the work more visible. WhisperClaims technology offers a robust process for screening clients and risk-assessing claims. By assessing client eligibility swiftly and effectively, accountants can demonstrate their commitment to delivering a full range of advisory services, while uncovering hot clients to target and avoiding potential disappointment with work that’s unlikely to qualify for tax relief.

Moving to structured, software-based processes reduces the risk of errors, streamlines the claims process and creates a scalable model that can accommodate increasing client demand. Automation also eliminates time-consuming aspects of the claims process, freeing up accountants to collaborate more effectively with clients to fully understand the scope and relevance of any R&D activity.

We’re launching a collection of new features to comply with HMRC’s Additional Information Form. All claims from 8th August 2023 will need to be accompanied by an AIF, and we’ve designed a solution to remove friction and create efficiencies to make it easier for our customer to integrate this new requirement into their existing processes.

Claim Review

Our Claim Review service is a chance for you to get feedback on a claim prior to submission. We’ll take a look at the company, review project descriptions for eligibility, analyse the costs and provide an overall assessment as to how the claim hangs together. This optional layer of reassurance is for any of our customers who are still building confidence, so would benefit from another pair of eyes looking over a claim, as well as for more experienced advisors who may have a particularly high value, or tricky claim that would benefit from being reviewed.

WhatsApp Community 

Our exclusive customer only Whatsapp group is a supportive space for our community of advisors to pose questions / seek clarification & provide help and insights to each other when addressing R&D tax-related issues etc. It’s particularly useful where a question relates to the accounting treatment of aspects of a claim or asking about experiences of HMRC the scheme in general or looking to benchmark specific client experiences.

Enquiry Support

With the more recent changes in HMRC’s approach to reduce error and fraud within the sector, many more enquiries have been triggered and we understand that this can be a daunting prospect. Our Enquiry support service offers feedback and advice on how well you’ve addressed HMRC’s queries when responding to an enquiry, with an action plan for next steps. We’ll walk you through HMRC’s concerns and check that you have sufficiently addressed each question appropriately in your response.

Portfolio Review 

Whether you are building an R&D tax service in-house from scratch, or looking to scale up your service, it’s helpful to make sure you have uncovered all of the possible opportunities that exist within your current client base. It’s also helpful to understand the weaker, less viable opportunities, so you are confident you are focusing time and resources in the right direction and managing customer expectations. Our Portfolio Review service offers you just this—have a chat with our team, share with us your client list, and we will provide you with feedback and advice highlighting your potentially most eligible clients vs those who are less likely to be doing so.

While the escalation in HMRC activity can be unsettling, it shouldn't be a reason to step away from providing this service to clients. By continuing to offer R&D tax services, accountants can protect existing client relationships and attract new business, all while ensuring that genuine clients with valid claims receive the financial support they deserve.

Ultimately, R&D tax relief is an important part of the overall service to clients. Despite the recently announced changes in rates, the scheme still represents a significant tax benefit, especially during the current economic climate. Companies that are innovative and are undertaking legitimate R&D should be accessing and gaining benefits from the scheme and more often than not, they are reaching out to their accountant for support.

For accountants, the changes should not be a deterrent—quite the opposite. The removal of bad apples from the R&D tax world is to be welcomed. It reduces the risk of clients receiving bad advice and opens the door for the introduction or scaling up of a full-service portfolio that meets client needs and further enhances client engagement. The key is to build understanding, confidence and the robust claims process model that allows the delivery of R&D tax claims in a repeatable, consistent and cost-effective manner.

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Looking to expand your service offering?

The WhisperClaims software is the only fully-automated solution designed entirely to enable accountants to deliver cost-effective, robust R&D tax relief claim for their clients, maintaining brand identity and without the need to outsource.

  • Used by 150+ firms nationally
  • Over 3,000 claims processed to date
  • £500 million identified in eligible spend, representing over £125m in tax benefits