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The secret to growing a high-performance R&D tax relief team

1st Mar 2023
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R&D tax relief training and support

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Managing an R&D team can be an overwhelming tasking. The goalposts move frequently, and it's tough to help keep everyone in the loop. Is there a good solution?

A group of people taking training
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If you follow what’s happening in R&D tax relief, you’ll know that there’s a blizzard of changes in progress. These affect the rates of relief, the rules for foreign workers and subcontractors, and the Government looking to merge the two R&D schemes into one. And if all that wasn’t enough, HMRC is adopting some drastic new approaches to compliance. It’s a lot.

All this change is highlighting how hard it is to keep your R&D team up to speed, particularly when some of them are working flexibly or remotely. So how do you ensure that your team is giving your clients consistently good advice about their claims and what’s going on more generally?

The accountants we’ve spoken to have told us that finding good training for their teams goes a long way towards solving this problem. They're looking for training which:

  • Is structured in a way that supports staff at all different levels,
  • Includes reporting and oversight to help managers keep an eye on their staff,
  • Contains courses which are online and on-demand, so that learners can make progress on their own schedule.

As well as improving or maintaining service standards, this kind of training has some other benefits too!

Attract and retain new talent

Finding and keeping good R&D staff isn’t easy. Staff might leave if they feel standards aren’t consistently applied, or if they feel uneasy about the claims they have to prepare. Conversely, you can use high-quality training to attract people to your firm. It shows you take their training seriously and gives them a defined standard to work towards.

Find and fix inconsistent practices

As your R&D team gets bigger, it gets harder to spend as much time with each person face-to-face. That means it’s easier for inconsistencies to creep in, where staff approach things in different ways. Without any kind of diagnostic testing, it becomes very hard to know who knows what. Structured training solves that by showing you who’s taken which courses, their pass marks, and their engagement with the training and resources.

Related: Our plans for improving standards in R&D tax relief

Get up-to-date resources and a central source of information

Without a central repository of R&D knowledge, you can end up with a fragmented set of resources. Some things are captured in presentations, and templates. Other information is shared ad hoc by senior team members, based on what they learned years ago. Often this can all get outdated, and keeping everything up to date is a time-consuming task. Frequently it gets skipped in favour of more urgent work. On the other hand, third-party training resources are kept up to date for you, creating more time for you to spend with clients.

Save time to spend with clients

A structured training resource, especially one with the reporting tools we mentioned above, can save a lot of time. If you already prioritise training, there’s a good chance you are spending time checking in with each team member, finding resources, tracking, and assessing progress. With a structured training resource and great reporting tools, you can access everything you need within a few minutes. The time you save can then be spent with your clients, helping you strengthen both client relationships and their businesses.

Where to find structured training

The R&D industry is not awash with high quality, structured training resources! That’s why we built our own – The R&D Community.

If you need more information about all your training options, the pros and cons, and some example resources, you can find it all in our free Guide to Support and Training for R&D Tax Relief Advisors.

If you want to learn more about our training in The R&D Community, and the other support we offer, you can download our Prospectus.