It’s fair to say Saul Green didn’t rush his choice of research and development (R&D) tax credit adviser. Before choosing a partner for London Electrical, Saul interviewed four different companies.
Only then did he make his choice: ForrestBrown. “When I ran through your process with someone on the phone, I felt the most confident,” Saul explains. “Not only the advice you give but the clarity in how you operate.”
Founded in 2016, London Electrical is an electrical and mechanical contractor trading in the commercial, leisure and residential development sectors. As the company’s name suggests, it operates out of the heart of London.
The value of specialism
Within the Capital’s booming construction sector, London Electrical faces stiff competition from other firms like it. However, the company has gone from strength-to-strength, due to its willingness to take on technically difficult jobs requiring a high degree of specialist knowledge.
In one such project, London Electrical was employed by a client to convert one-sixteenth of a 4000m² office building into a school. Initially, London Electrical was contracted to carry out some relatively simple, routine works, such as adding lights, extra power supply sockets and switches. The project evolved, however, and the firm was also required to move and alter the existing air conditioning and heating systems.
We’ve reinvested the money we got straight back into the business: Hiring staff, buying new machinery, new offices, and general expansion activities. It’s also allowing us to go after bigger projects because we’ve got an extended balance sheet.Saul Green, London Electrical
Due to the infrastructure already installed, London Electrical was not able to simply install standard systems and was instead required to provide a bespoke solution. Alongside the fact that standard components would be incompatible, London Electrical had to ensure its solutions were compliant with current building standards and regulations.
The new school’s systems needed to function independently but share common supplies with the wider building. This means the school’s capacities and loads on the supplies had to be matched, albeit with different efficiencies.
In particular, the fire system for the school had to meet demanding regulations and integrate with the building’s lower-specified system without compromising safety. To solve this challenge, London Electrical first created a dedicated power input for the school.
Next, they employed a coding expert to allow connections to be made between the fire alarm system and new components for the school. This allowed for a cost-effective solution to be achieved when compared to the cost of a full upgrade to the fire alarm system for the entire building.
Already claiming R&D tax relief but want to move your business to ForrestBrown? Find out more about switching R&D providers.
London Electrical was doing complex and highly bespoke work for its clients. As soon as a peer told Saul about the R&D tax credit, he knew it was a good fit. That’s when he kicked off his hunt for an R&D tax credit adviser.
On one hand, some providers offered R&D tax credits as one part of a wider service offering. There were also cheaper, more DIY options that were nominally R&D tax credit specialists but would’ve involved a lot of work on London Electrical’s part. In the end, it was ForrestBrown’s in-house specialist technical expertise that swung it for discerning Saul.
“Working with ForrestBrown was quick and easy,” Saul explains. “Altogether, it took two weeks. The ForrestBrown process didn’t swallow up valuable work time”. And for this rather minimal time investment, London Electrical got a big saving from the taxman.
“We’ve reinvested that money straight back into the business: Hiring staff, buying new machinery, new offices, and general expansion activities. It’s also allowing us to go after bigger projects because we’ve
got an extended balance sheet.”
But even more than the cash benefit, work with ForrestBrown has been a mindset change, according to Saul. “Some things you think aren’t R&D, are,” he says. “ForrestBrown provided a forum to provoke thoughts of what R&D is.
“Now we keep an active list of our projects rather than working backwards.” The company is currently in the process of preparing its second claim with ForrestBrown, armed with better records and now more confident than ever about what qualifies as R&D.
ForrestBrown thinks – R&D tax credits for electrical contractors
If you do specialist work, why settle for a non-specialist adviser? That really is an important question to contemplate. Too many UK businesses pride themselves on doing highly technical, difficult work but plump for sub-standard service from third-party partners.
There’s a lot of competition in the R&D tax credit market. Businesses on the lookout for an adviser will find a dizzying array of options, many of them making unrealistic and, sometimes, spurious claims.
London Electrical’s fastidious search for an R&D tax credit adviser is prudent. And as the company soon
discovered, cheap is not synonymous with good. We’re open about the fact that we’re not the cheapest R&D tax credit adviser. We’re not interested in a race to the bottom. Instead of such false economies, our clients can be confident that, with us, their claims will meet HMRC’s high standards and are fully maximised.
That’s the value of expertise. Don’t settle for second best. If you want the best R&D tax credit advice, be sure to investigate your choices carefully.
As a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, ForrestBrown is a regulated tax adviser unlike some of our competitors. If like Saul, you’d like to work with an award-winning, regulated R&D tax adviser, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0117 926 9022