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The best way to find R&D experts for your in-house team

20th Jun 2022
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R&D tax relief training and support

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Struggling to hire R&D experts for your in-house team? You’re not alone.

5 people waiting for a job interview

If you’ve been trying to hire people with R&D tax relief experience recently, you may have been surprised at how difficult it can be to persuade people to join your team. 

The root issue is that R&D tax relief is both unregulated and lucrative, with consultants charging up to 40% of their client’s R&D claim. With the average SME claim being around £57,000, consultants’ fees can be huge. 

Many are pumping this money into expanding their teams, paying high salaries to attract people with even small amounts of R&D experience.

This means it’s now a highly competitive market. Many R&D staff have high expectations around salary, bonuses and flexible working.

So how do you compete with the deep pockets of the consultants?

Well, the good news is that you may not have to. In fact, there are several compelling reasons not to hire externally.

1.    Superstars can be destabilising

When you splash out on someone with a lot of R&D experience, they also come with their own views on how HMRC’s subjective standard should be applied. 

If they’ve been used to doing things a certain way, it’s difficult to persuade them to take a more conservative approach with your clients. When there’s a difference between their views and the rest of your team’s, inconsistencies and friction can quickly emerge.

2.    Superstars don’t stick around

The mercenary nature of the R&D consultancy market means that even when you’ve managed to hire someone, that doesn’t mean they’ll stay. Recruiters are in constant contact with R&D professionals, trying to tempt them away with a bigger salary. When it happens, they’ll be off – taking a mental list of your R&D clients to their new employer.

3.    Did we mention it’s expensive?

Someone with a science degree and a couple of years working in R&D tax relief can easily command a salary of £50k+. If you’re looking for people with enquiry and managerial experience, you’re likely to be looking at £60-80k. That’s a lot to invest in someone who may be off the next time the wind changes.

So what’s the alternative?

Grow your own R&D talent in-house

Many accountants avoid these issues by investing in their existing staff. By following a ‘grow your own strategy’, you make best use of the people you already have, and improve their job satisfaction. You also get to maintain control over the experience your clients get.

But, R&D skills and confidence aren’t easy to foster. Many firms have found themselves looking for training and support that hasn’t existed. Why not? HMRC won’t invest in it, and R&D consultants have a vested interest in not sharing.

This is where we come in. The R&D Community helps you develop your R&D team through high-quality R&D training and support that you can’t get anywhere else. 

We have a cloud-based training platform, R&D Helpline, a Claim Support service, and members-only forums and webinars. These are all designed to give you the knowledge and confidence you need to excel in delivering an R&D service to your clients.

Find out everything you need to know about The R&D Community before you join.

You can also download our guide to running an in-house R&D service.