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The benefits of creating and maintaining a strong professional network

20th Sep 2023
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R&D tax relief training and support

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Amid the ever-evolving world R&D tax relief, a strong professional network can be the key to staying ahead of the curve.

Abstract depiction of a network of professionals
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Today’s R&D tax relief landscape has a lot of industry professionals feeling isolated, and it can be all too easy to feel like you’re in a bubble. Between competing with irresponsible providers and adapting to HMRC’s more aggressive approach, this is hardly surprising.

Seeking out a professional network can provide valuable reminders that you aren’t alone in your struggles. Plenty of people are in a similar position, and they are usually keen to help others avoid it! Networks are also a great avenue for professional development, and a broad range of opportunities can open up to you through establishing industry connections. A network becomes especially effective when those professionals are confident in their expertise and businesses, and they collaborate freely without fear of future competition. 

Access to opportunities and knowledge sharing 

One of the most obvious benefits of a strong professional network are the opportunities that open up to you once established. Strong networks can lead to partnerships, collaborations, and joint ventures. Access to wider variety of opportunities allows your business to be more adaptable and agile, and collaboration can make your business more robust even if you are smaller in size. You can also tap into the collective knowledge and expertise of your network to help solve tricky problems.

If you have a potential R&D claim from an industry you have not dealt with before, it is prudent to seek advice from someone who has met that issue before. The same goes for enquiry defence. HMRC employs similar tactics when dealing with similar types of claims, so bouncing some ideas around your contacts who have dealt with similar claims can help inform what stance you should take. Your network is a great resource for staying current, especially considering that guidance from HMRC can be a bit spotty at the best of times.

Professional development and growth

Personal and professional growth are often closely tied to the strength of your business network. Networking provides opportunities to learn from others, receive mentorship, and gain exposure to new ideas and perspectives. With so much to learn about R&D tax relief, a little bit of guidance from your peers can help keep you on the right track.
Being part of a network also boosts your confidence and helps expand your horizons. Interacting with a diverse range of individuals from various backgrounds and industries broadens your perspective and helps you become a more adaptable and well-rounded professional. Of course, we might all be looking for the same sort of clients, but we can still take some time to offer a helping hand to our peers from time to time.  

Building credibility and trust

A network of trusted connections who can vouch for your abilities and character greatly enhances your reputation and credibility. This is especially relevant in today’s market. With HMRC taking a much harder line on compliance checks, clients are more wary than ever about submitting claims. A good word from previous clients as well as other R&D services can go a long way in securing future business.

Trust is the foundation of successful business relationships and the currency for building strong partnerships. Being willing to share your knowledge with other professionals makes it easier to build bridges. When you have a strong network, people are more likely to trust your recommendations, consider your proposals, and be open to collaboration. 

Whether you have developed your network through face-to-face meetings or by joining an online community of likeminded individuals, the importance of maintaining a strong business network can’t be overstated. For everyone from SMEs to large-scale businesses, cultivating and nurturing your network should be a priority. Your network is not just a collection of contacts; it is a valuable asset that can help you achieve your goals and thrive in the evolving landscape of R&D tax relief. If you want to build your network but aren’t sure where to start, check out our Guide to Support and Training for some more in-depth information.