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  2. HSJ Accountants: “The difference R&D tax credits make to our clients is profound”

HSJ Accountants: “The difference R&D tax credits make to our clients is profound”

HSJ accountants case study

ForrestBrown has spent four or five years getting to know us and helping us easily identify R&D opportunities. Client relationships are incredibly important to us. When we refer clients to ForrestBrown, we have to trust they will be treated with the same care we show them.

Natalie Staples-Vvind, Partner, HSJ


With stiff competition for clients, research and development (R&D) tax credits offered a way for HSJ Accountants (HSJ) to separate themselves from the pack. But with limited time and clients working across diverse sectors, the firm needed a specialist partner to fully harness the power of the incentive.


HSJ partnered with ForrestBrown to offer this specialist service to its clients. The relationship has blossomed over the years, with client referrals from both sides and co-marketing campaigns designed to help generate awareness of R&D.


Many of HSJ clients either did not know about R&D tax credits or didn’t understand the value of them. By working with us, HSJ senior partners were able to approach clients with confidence, unlock a powerful source of cash for business owners and establish a dynamic new service offering.

By partnering with a specialist like ForrestBrown, accountants can offer R&D tax credits with confidence. And the difference the incentive makes can be profound, as HSJ Accountants discovered when one client was saved from shutting down.

A successful R&D tax credit claim is a valuable source of cash for clients, rewarding them for doing innovative work and keeping them on a steady growth path.

But sometimes, an R&D tax credit claim can mean even more than this. In the case of one HSJ client, R&D tax credits were the difference between them continuing to trade or not.

“A client had faced a compulsory purchase on their working premises when the M4 relief road was built,” explains Natalie Staples-Vvind, a partner at HSJ, “and the R&D tax credit that ForrestBrown secured for them allowed them to move into new premises. Were it not for the R&D tax credit, the writing was on the wall for them.”

Based just off the M4 motorway between Newport and Cardiff, HSJ Accountants prides itself on helping businesses find ways to grow. R&D tax credits have become an important part of its service offering.

By partnering with ForrestBrown, HSJ can offer safe, effective access to R&D tax credits, without eating into their own time. ForrestBrown does the heavy lifting, working directly with clients and focusing solely on R&D tax credits.

Not just R&D expertise

But HSJ’s partnership with ForrestBrown is also about more than just R&D. The firm has a wide array of clients, in different sectors. These businesses not only need specialist R&D expertise but sector expertise also. That’s where ForrestBrown stands out, according to HSJ.

In a specific case, ForrestBrown’s construction industry specialists worked with an HSJ client who had a difficult relationship with HMRC.

Not only did ForrestBrown help them to secure their R&D tax credit in full, they helped the client see the whole tax system with a new and more positive perspective. I don’t know how they did it!Natalie Staples-VvindPartner, HSJ Accountants

ForrestBrown’s approach to R&D tax credits is holistic. Yes, it’s satisfying to help businesses unlock tax credits they didn’t realise they could claim, but the broader aim is to cultivate a culture of innovation – not just in the business they work with, but with accountants too.

Without being too time-consuming, ForrestBrown helps HSJ review its existing portfolio periodically to ensure it captures every opportunity to add value to their clients. Once opportunities are identified, ForrestBrown’s specialist tax advisers are on-hand to deliver coaching and insight on R&D tax credits.

“Sometimes you have clients who don’t understand R&D fully or who dismiss it out of hand. But we’ve been able to revisit those with the confidence of knowing what to look, helped by ForrestBrown.”

Attracting new customers with R&D tax credits

Beyond existing clients, offering specialist R&D tax credits guidance is a powerful way to attract new customers, too. The competition for clients is stiff, and offering the incentive is a unique selling point.

When new clients are acquired, ForrestBrown works closely with HSJ to ensure potential R&D is identified. But the partnership goes even further than the onboarding process. HSJ has conducted co-marketing campaigns with ForrestBrown to help generate awareness among potential clients.

It’s a two-way relationship. HSJ refers clients to ForrestBrown, but the reverse is also true. “ForrestBrown has always sent carefully selected, quality referrals to us too.”

The boundaries are clear: ForrestBrown only does R&D tax credits, and a dedicated relationship manager keeps HSJ up-to-date on how each claim is progressing.

ForrestBrown’s R&D tax credit partner programme for accountants is just that: a partner programme. Each relationship is completely bespoke, tailored to each accounting partner’s needs

ForrestBrown thinks – the power of accountant partnerships

We believe there is no one-size fits all approach to R&D tax relief. That’s why ForrestBrown has different teams specialising in different sectors.

The work we’ve done with HSJ Accountants is a prime example. HSJ has clients in a wide array of sectors and these specialisms have different requirements when it comes to R&D.

To harness the full power of R&D tax credits, businesses and our accounting partners rightly expect that we understand their sectors. Generalism will only ever get you so far, and every successful R&D tax credit claim is built on a base of understanding.

And we’re keen to impart our expertise to more accounting partners. Our sector specialists hold regular update sessions at HSJ and other firms, focusing on a particular industry. The more you understand R&D, the better. With emerging technologies, there’s always something new to learn.

In every claim we prepare, with every partner we work with, the aim is to share our passion for R&D. A network of mutual support, where your success is ours too.

If you want to unlock more value for your clients and deepen your relationship, contact us to find out more about partnering with ForrestBrown