How accountants and R&D tax experts can work together

How accountants and R&D tax experts can work together

As innovation is an essential part of improving the products, services and operations of a company, the majority of businesses all over the UK are innovating in one way or another – in doing so they are progressing research and development (R&D).

To gain some reward from this, many companies seek to claim R&D tax credits. Where some companies find their accountants can deal with R&D claims, others may hire an external R&D expert for their knowledge and expertise

One of our biggest sources of referrals for R&D tax are accountants. Although claiming R&D tax is an accountancy exercise, with the end-product being a reclaim submission to HMRC, it isn’t really an accountancy process that leads up to that. The most successful claim approach comes from a close understanding of the client’s actual business strengths rather than just assessing the numbers.

Simon Shuker, Director of Hafren Ousque Associates and Consultant with RandD Tax Limited.

The business of R&D

A lot of the work that goes into innovating isn’t necessarily reflected in a business’s accounts, or if it is then it’s not always easy to identify.

“Accountants are very good at dealing with the numbers, making sure that they fit HMRC rules, the regulations and that the company is getting the best advantage from those figures,” Simon explains.

“However, if you are going to build a fully compliant R&D claim that does the Client’s work justice, you need to look at all the circumstances where the Client has spent time and money overcoming the technical or scientific challenges that arise, often through many iterations, to meet their Customer’s requirements, in progressing new products or in meeting new Technical Regulations – you can’t really see that adequately in the numbers alone.”

The benefit of working with R&D experts

“Expanding their portfolio and the range of services they offer is a great way for accountants to differentiate themselves and gain an edge over their competition and many accountancy firms are now doing this,” Simon explains. “With R&D tax, rather than spend money training staff or bringing in specialists internally, by working with an R&D tax specialist such as myself they can gain that edge. At the same time, they can claim in a reward from ourselves or a reduction in our costs for their client, depending on what they prefer.”

I have a great track record on R&D claims with many pleased clients. I’ve personally covered a broad range of clients across multiple industries and business sectors. So, as well as having very good knowledge of what HMRC look for in R&D claims, as an engineer and an award-winner in innovation, this helps me understand any clients’ mindset – the skills I have are applicable to anyone seeking to do an R&D claim.

If you’re an accountant and want to know more about how you or your clients may be able to claim R&D tax credits, or you need a review of your existing R&D claim arrangements, call 07833 207643 or email

Having trained as a journalist with the UK's national news agency, the Press Association (now known as PA Media), Thomas is an accomplished writer with his work published in several business, entertainment and special interest magazines.