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Challenge: Many of BSG Valentine’s diverse client base were not maximising their research and development (R&D) tax credit claims or were carrying out innovative work and not claiming at all.

Value: BSG Valentine joined our accountant partner programme to help their clients harness the full power of R&D tax credits, and to help partners proactively identify new opportunities for their clients.

Impact: We helped the firm’s clients – many working in highly technical fields – make the most of the R&D tax incentive. And by working in lock-step with us, the firm has been able to create a culture of R&D that will help businesses flourish and deepen the client-accountant relationship.

The first time BSG Valentine became aware of ForrestBrown was through a client conversation. The client had worked with ForrestBrown on a research and development (R&D) tax credit claim and spoke in glowing terms of the experience, says BSG Valentine partner Simon Poluck.

BSG Valentine is a central London firm with 11 partners that offers audit, tax and advisory services. The firm works with a wide array of clients across the world, from listed businesses and entrepreneurs through to professional footballers.

Many of BSG Valentine’s diverse clientele do innovative work, and the positive testimonials kept adding up as more clients worked with ForrestBrown. “Our clients have always been very impressed with their work,” he said.

“One client, for example, a large data and technology firm have told me how good ForrestBrown was in understanding what their firm did – something which is not an easy feat. They got into the detail of it, formulated an excellent report and discussed it in full with the team there.” Simon Poluck, partner at BSG Valentine.

A new way to add value

As Simon became more familiar with ForrestBrown’s work, he identified a new way to add value to his clients. By putting his clients in contact with us, these businesses could unlock a source of funding they hadn’t realised was meant for them.

Of course, there’s a high cost to getting it wrong when an accountant makes a recommendation to a client. Whether that’s recommending a software supplier, or advocating a specialist consultancy like ForrestBrown.

“When you introduce another professional to a client, you want to make sure they are bringing something positive to the relationship rather than damaging it,” says Simon. “Clearly, the whole R&D tax credit claim should be a positive process for the client as they are receiving tax relief – but if things go wrong, it could easily turn from a positive to a negative.”

For your clients – and for you

Accountants want to know that the services and businesses they recommend will add to the client relationship. And it’s a responsibility ForrestBrown takes very seriously, placing professionalism and customer service at the front of what we do.

We don’t take risks with your client’s claims. Our team of specialist tax advisers – including former HMRC inspectors – know how to maximise an R&D tax credit claim without overstepping the mark, and we offer robust enquiry support if HMRC should want more detail.

ForrestBrown’s value isn’t solely reserved for your clients. We see accounting practices as key partners in harnessing the full power of the R&D tax benefit. That’s why – as we did with BSG Valentine – ForrestBrown helps firms proactively identify R&D.

At BSG Valentine, our R&D tax credit experts have made numerous presentations, across the business and with all the partners, to educate our team on what is and isn’t R&D. More than that, proper understanding of R&D isn’t just the black-and-white ‘it is’ or ‘it isn’t’.

Not all claims are created equal

A business might claim R&D tax relief but not harness its full potential. With BSG Valentine – and other accounting partners – we work proactively to help identify not just R&D tax credit claims, but opportunities to effectively and safely maximise existing R&D tax credit claims.

“ForrestBrown is always willing to invest a bit of time with us or a client,” says Simon. “Some meetings lead to something, some not. But there has never been any reticence in terms of investing time in something.”

We don’t work in an ad-hoc way. ForrestBrown – through our R&D tax credit accountant partner programme – ensures you and your client are supported at every step. A dedicated relationship manager will keep you up-to-date on our progress as we help your clients with their R&D tax credit claims.

The accountant should not be left in the dark at any point during the claim process. ForrestBrown works with you and your client. ForrestBrown’s remit is clear: we’re R&D tax credit specialists. That is our sole focus. And by partnering with us, you can help your clients flourish and create relationships that last.

ForrestBrown thinks:

When advising clients, accountants face unique pressures. After all, you’re dealing with your client’s livelihood, getting it wrong is simply not an option. That’s why accountants and accounting firms pride themselves on being meticulous and accurate in how they work.

What separates the best accountants from the competition, however, is adding professional insight and expertise to the process. Many accounting firms now position themselves as advisers, for instance.

But as more-and-more firms migrate to the ‘advisory’ model, the onus is on progressive firms to seek new ways to separate themselves from the pack. The R&D tax incentive is a ready-made opportunity to do this.

The incentive is generous and open to a wide array of businesses. This is a good thing of course, but it also provides challenges. Common questions like ‘What is or isn’t R&D?’. Or, ‘How can I safely maximise my client’s claim without putting them at risk?’

By working with a specialist R&D tax consultancy like ForrestBrown, these questions are easier to answer. We don’t work with just your client, but also you. Our specialist advisers will help educate your firm and create a culture of R&D.

And like you, we pride ourselves on meticulous, end-to-end service that’s safe, reliable and simple. ForrestBrown’s proactive approach means we are efficient with your time so that you can get on with working for your clients.

Advances sought:

BSG Valentine wanted to implement a formal R&D tax credit process for its clients by partnering with a trusted specialist. The firm also wanted to educate its partners and accountants on what constitutes R&D and what costs qualify.

This article was last updated on 27 September 2019.