ForrestBrown’s people are what sets us apart. We pride ourselves on the quality of our team and how they come together to deliver the UK’s leading R&D tax relief advice.
Alongside our full end-to-end R&D tax relief claim support, we can manage the resolution of an HMRC enquiry, advise on the potential R&D tax implications of a transaction, or any other tailored consultancy service. Our clients have access to a multi-disciplinary team that is best-in-class.
Our Day in the Life series shines a light on the people and skillsets that make ForrestBrown the best.
Meet the expert: Katy Long CTA CA
- Career background: Katy started her tax career in the Big Four at EY. She joined as part of EY’s graduate program in 2011, first working in the audit practice. After gaining experience in audit, working with businesses in the pharma, utilities, telecoms and manufacturing sectors, she moved to private client tax where she served a portfolio of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients, including business owners and investors.
- Role at ForrestBrown: Senior tax manager.
- Key responsibilities: Client advisory work, tax policy, team management, strategic consultancy.
Meet Katy Long CTA CA
In our third edition of A Day in the Life, we meet Katy Long, a chartered tax adviser, chartered accountant and associate director at ForrestBrown.
As an associate director, Katy leads a number of our most complex and largest client cases. Her focus is on building lasting relationships with each client, helping them to improve their understanding of how R&D factors into their wider business goals and strategies. A big part of this is viewing client R&D claims holistically, ensuring the claim process is smooth and simple for each and every client.
Katy is also involved in ForrestBrown’s tax policy work. She was part of the team that drafted our response to the government’s far-reaching R&D consultation, researching and drafting our key recommendations regarding the government’s proposal to restrict relief for overseas R&D activities.
This work is a vital part of how we deliver value to clients by helping to shape the future of R&D tax incentives in the UK, ensuring that the relief remains effective and well-targeted towards genuine innovation.
Katy manages a multi-disciplinary team of tax professionals and technical specialists, and is also an apprentice counsellor, taking a key role in helping to support those in our team studying towards professional qualifications. As a leader, she oversees a diverse portfolio of client work while also providing specialist insight on a case-by-case basis. R&D tax relief is a highly specialist and complex area of tax law, so her expertise is often required.
06:30 AM: I start my day with a bootcamp at Victoria Park, right near my home. It’s a tough way to start the day – but it really helps me get in the right frame of mind and motivated for the day ahead. This morning, we did boxing. We haven’t used the pads and gloves since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was a small but welcome sign that normal life is slowly returning. I find that these early morning workouts wake me up and help me focus on my clients once I get to work.
I should get back to cycling, but at the moment I just walk into the office. Once I get in, coffee is my first priority. It’s also a nice way to catch up with colleagues not in my direct team.
Once I have my caffeine, we go straight into a team standup. In these meetings, I get a good overview of capacity and priorities in my team. I look at what client cases we have on the radar and how we are progressing with current work. With some of our team in the office and some working remotely, the stand-up helps everyone stay in touch, which improves collaboration. It also flags up any challenges requiring my attention.
At 10, I hop on a kickoff call with a new client. This one is a construction firm with lots of areas of the business to investigate and different technical teams we need to speak with to review all of their potential R&D activities.
The client has a statutory deadline looming, too, as they have not yet looked at their previous accounting period. This means it’s a tight turnaround to complete our work – but we’re always happy to work quickly to ensure a client doesn’t miss out on any relief due!
It’s time for me to present on a webinar we are running alongside one of our industry association partners. Our relationships with industry associations are an avenue to speak with businesses in specific sectors about challenges they are facing and any relevant changes to R&D tax reliefs. Sectors often face unique challenges when it comes to R&D tax relief, so presentations and webinars are an effective way for association members to keep their knowledge up to date. This webinar includes a mixture of existing clients and new ones. We cover what costs qualify, things to think about when engaging with an R&D tax adviser and a discussion of recent and future R&D tax policy changes.
Today, I’m delivering a ‘Lunch and Learn’ alongside our policy director Jenny Tragner and one of our software sector specialists, Tree. This session covers our consultation response and the key recommendations that we have made.
We do these sessions to make sure the impact of our policy work reaches our team and therefore each of our clients. It would be easy for high-level policy work to be siloed – but we make a big effort to keep our people abreast of what’s happening and what’s changing. This leads to more effective, up-to-date client service.
Good news: HMRC has closed its enquiry into a client’s R&D tax relief claim. I phone the client to give the good news. I worked on this case alongside a few of my colleagues, including one of our ex HMRC inspectors and one of our engineers.
Although we were able to quickly provide the information HMRC needed to accept the R&D projects the company had identified, they had asked several questions on the claim calculation and made some assumptions which we’d challenged in our response, explaining why our treatment was correct.
Experience is crucial in these situations and maintaining a positive working relationship with HMRC, while ensuring we get the right result for our clients, is really important to us. It’s a skill we’ve honed at ForrestBrown.
In the mid-afternoon, I meet with a client because they’ve told me about a grant they want to apply for. We discuss how this grant could affect their future R&D tax relief claims. During the call, they also ask me about overseas R&D. One of their key competent professionals is moving overseas.
We talk about how to prepare for the changes to eligibility of R&D activities carried out overseas, which were announced in the Autumn Budget 2021. In our response to the proposals, we recommended that the new measures incorporate critical protections where it is necessary for businesses to carry out R&D overseas, and it was recently confirmed in the Spring Statement that these protections would be incorporated.
We’re awaiting the draft legislation, which will give us more detail on the changes, and I make a note to check back in on this point in the Summer after its release.
I run through the emails I’ve received during the day, make a list of actions, and check in with my team. This is always a good time to start planning out my next day. I prepare for my client calls scheduled for tomorrow.
I like to hit the ground running on client calls, which means being prepared and proactive. As with the start of the day, I check on the availability of my team to ensure everything is flowing well. These operational catch-ups are crucial to our efficiency, client service and wellbeing.
As I wind my day down, I catch up on LinkedIn and the industry press, which is full of updates and features on the R&D tax policy landscape at the moment. In particular, the happenings at the Treasury. The Spring Statement and the Budget are always big events in my calendar. I need to understand these events so I can communicate to my clients and advise on strategic adjustments.
ForrestBrown – Partner with the best team
Experienced chartered tax advisers like Katy spot opportunities other advisers miss. They think about your R&D strategically, and make sure you receive the very best advice. Katy is just one of the specialist advisers at ForrestBrown who are dedicated to delivering to our clients.