Who's behind The R&D Community's support and training

9th May 2022
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R&D tax relief training and support

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With a comprehensive training academy and one-of-a-kind support services, The R&D Community is an essential resource for all accountancy firms handling R&D claims.

A photo of Richard Edwards and Katie Goudie viewing The R&D Community training academy on a computer
The R&D Community

Richard Edwards founded The R&D Community in 2021. Here he explains his experience and motivation for creating support and training resources for the R&D tax relief industry.

Founded in 2021, The R&D Community fills a massive gap between HMRC’s guidance and the thousands of accountancy firms who wish to offer or expand their R&D service. We do this through:

  • Our online Training Academy, with courses specifically designed for R&D advisors
  • An R&D Helpline, to give our members on-the-spot guidance when they need it
  • Our Claim Support service, to help our members to discuss eligibility, defend enquiries and complete other tasks at their direction.

How are we qualified to provide R&D training and support?

I’ve worked in R&D tax relief since 2008, helping all kinds of accountants and consultants, and have prepared hundreds of R&D tax claims for clients of all shapes and sizes.

My first company was an R&D consultancy that grew to around 50 people and revenue of £4m. To keep our team aligned to a common standard, I created an in-house training resource that defined how we wanted HMRC’s guidance to be applied to our clients.

In 2018, I co-founded WhisperClaims to give R&D advisors a faster and more convenient way to prepare claims using software.

Why create an R&D training platform for accountants?

R&D software can bring amazing improvements in efficiency – but it’s only as good as the people using it. Many important R&D tasks can’t be automated, such as speaking to clients, making subjective judgements, and responding to HMRC. And lots of accountants aren’t too comfortable doing this type of work!

This realisation then led me to create The R&D Community. My goal was to share all my knowledge and experience in a structured way so that I could help accountants feel more confident in speaking to clients and preparing R&D claims for themselves.

It’s time we raised standards across the R&D industry

Over all my years in the R&D industry I’ve seen advisors of all stripes. Some are working to the highest ethical standards and applying HMRC’s guidance with nuance and diligence. Others are convincing SMEs that any old “innovation” entitles them to money back from HMRC, and charging hefty fees in the process.

It feels deeply unfair that unprincipled or inexperienced R&D cowboys are cashing in on the R&D scheme, leaving your clients with enquiries, repayments and penalties.

And I’m not willing to wait until HMRC do something about it themselves. 

Self-regulation and ethical practice in R&D tax relief

What I want to see in the future is a more transparent marketplace for R&D providers, in which good providers are recognised for their knowledge, experience and ethics. A market in which good providers can access high quality training and use it to win new business. There will be a recognised body of self-regulated providers, and certification to prove high standards of training and practice.

The R&D Community is my contribution to bringing this about. Members can use our training platform to standardise their service and are visible in our members directory. SMEs looking for an R&D-experienced accountant can find one there, and accountants can find good R&D consultants to partner with if they don’t want to prepare claims themselves.
Through our webinars and forums we also provide members with the opportunity to share best practice and find other like-minded practitioners to collaborate with and support each other.

If you’d like to be part of our community too, you can find all the details in our recent article Everything you need to know about The R&D Community before you join.