Robert Warner describes himself as a “typical FD”. After qualifying as an accountant, Robert quickly made the shift into the industry and, he says, “you quickly lose touch with the minutiae of taxation”.
Most FDs and CFOs aren’t tax experts. Nor should they spend their days bogged down in the fine print. As the director of finance at Theta Technologies, Robert’s focus is on helping the business scale sustainably as it launches a new product
The R&D in non-destructive testing
Theta’s background is in research and development (R&D). It focuses on non-destructive testing (NDT). As the name suggests, non-destructive testing is a technique used to examine materials, components or systems without causing damage.
In Theta’s case, the focus is on metals, laminates and composites. The company has created proprietary NDT tech which uses sound or ultrasound to test structures, components, assemblies or finished items.
ForrestBrown really know their stuff, but never spoke down to me or assumed I knew. It was just what I needed: expert advice, quick help and a little bit of reassurance.Robert Warner, FD at Theta Technologies
Theta Technologies was established in 2007 as a spin-out from Exeter University, and in the last few years, the business has taken big leaps forward. Last year, Theta expanded its facilities to accelerate its R&D programme.
Amongst others, the firm works with the European Space Agency and the National Physical Laboratory. In other words, a lot is going on and the company’s projects are a good fit for the R&D tax credit incentive.
Getting the details right in an R&D claim
Until recently, Robert completed Theta’s R&D tax credit application himself. But after a conversation with Theta’s accountant, he realised he needed a second opinion. So he approached ForrestBrown.
“I worked with Jenny Tragner and Millie McNeill at ForrestBrown’s advisory practice,” Robert explains. “They had a tight deadline in which to work, but they turned it around in record speed and presented what was right and what was wrong.
“They really know their stuff, but they never spoke down to me or assumed I knew. It was just what I needed: expert advice, quick help and a little bit of reassurance.”
Every business is different
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: every business is unique. Especially in the realm of R&D, where companies are tackling big challenges in complex industries. These aren’t always simple matters to unpick.
We got back many times more in tax than what ForrestBrown cost us.
When it comes to applying for R&D tax credits, some businesses have tax teams that can file their claims. Others, like Theta Technologies, will not. Of the latter group, many engage ForrestBrown to handle their R&D tax credit claim end-to-end.
But this isn’t right for everyone. That’s why ForrestBrown offers strategic and technical R&D advice on a consultancy basis. These services are open to everyone, even businesses like Theta that haven’t claimed the incentive through us.
For Theta, working with ForrestBrown not only yielded a watertight claim that can stand up to HMRC scrutiny, but also a substantial claim value to help them continue their R&D investment. “I got back many times more in tax than what ForrestBrown cost me,” Robert says. “All without making me feel stupid.”
ForrestBrown thinks: R&D claim assessment from the experts
Claiming R&D tax credits is simultaneously quite easy and deceptively tricky. The incentive is ultimately a self-assessment regime and there are no barriers to stop businesses with qualifying R&D projects from claiming without specialist help.
Things are rarely as simple as they seem, though. As Theta found, the incentive’s open-ended nature can make it tricky to judge the right approach. And, as Theta’s FD explains, your finance team aren’t necessarily geared up to tackle minutiae of tax credits.
The DIY approach can go pear-shaped in all sorts of ways. There’s, of course, the worst-case scenario: an HMRC enquiry. Or it can simply be just not getting as much R&D tax relief or cash as your R&D project merits.
Our R&D advisory practice can step in and quickly assess your claim. And it’s completely hands-on: we will have a preliminary discussion with you to understand your business and your specific challenge.
The expert team we assemble is at your disposal and we tailor our work to your needs. We can visit you in person to facilitate workshops with your team, helping to identify your needs and shape the support and guidance you need. Our tax specialists work with your finance team to understand how your business and finances have been structured, and a relevant sector specialist can do the same for your innovation.
This support is about setting you up for the future, as well. You have control, and we’ll guide you through all of our findings and recommendations. We can also provide advice on R&D record-keeping processes and we can even develop training workshops for your in-house finance or technical teams.
Working with us is about both adding value now and protecting your business and R&D claims in the future too.
As a member of the CIOT, ForrestBrown adheres to PCRT guidance. If you’d like to work with an award-winning, regulated R&D tax adviser, then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0117 926 9022