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Amazing client service: R&D tax credits as a service pillar

Felicity Lowless - Client Relations Manager
Partnerships Manager
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Amazing client service for R&D tax credits

In 2020, perhaps more so than ever, businesses have relied on their accountants for strategic guidance. Between CBILs, lockdowns, furloughs and State Aid regulations, 2020 introduced a dazzling array of new phrases and acronyms.

As such, there’s been a lot of pressure to go above and beyond – but while the COVID situation has changed so much in our world, there are still only so many hours in the day. Accountants have gamely fielded loads of questions from clients about the funding measures, as well as managing applications for them.

From conversations with our accounting partners, I know they have not always felt comfortable billing for this extra work. Indeed, many accountants go the extra mile for clients without even thinking about it.

But being stretched is more than an economic issue. If you’re spread too thin, it dilutes the quality of your service offering. That’s where strategic outsourcing of services like R&D tax relief claims, or even just working with a specialist like ForrestBrown on a consultative basis can really be of benefit.

What does client service mean to ForrestBrown?

When ForrestBrown was founded in 2013, R&D tax incentives had been in existence for over a decade. The impetus behind our founding, then, was never simply a gold rush or capitalising on the valuable relief.

Instead, our founder Simon Brown noticed a lack of specialist R&D tax relief advice that combined the technical firepower of a Big Four firm with the personal touch offered by accounting practices.

ForrestBrown is built on a foundation of technical tax knowledge, but added to this is a clear commitment to client service and in-depth sector knowledge. In other words, we’ve been built in a way that enables us to shift and mould according to a client’s particular need.

Often businesses that claim R&D tax relief are doing highly technical work, evidenced by the 27% increase in £50,000-plus claims from, in particular, larger SMEs. To us, client service means having the right experts in place to serve these businesses. ForrestBrown’s experts are, in turn, supported by an award-winning process that prioritises quality and accuracy above all else.

What our exceptional client service means to your accountancy practice

When an accountant refers a client to us so that we can prepare their claim or calls us in to help with a specific consultancy project like enquiry support, it is an act of trust. Any accountant who works with us is trusting us with their reputation and that of their clients.

In tax, there’s no room for messing around. As qualified tax professionals, our clients come to us to get the details right. To do this, ForrestBrown works closely with our accounting partners to ensure R&D tax relief claims fit into clients’ wider tax positions.

More broadly, working effectively and transparently with a client’s accountant is important to a claim’s success. But we also strive to deliver a seamless experience to accountant partners too.

What our exceptional client service means to your clients

As a tax professional, you’re absolutely capable of claiming R&D tax relief on a client’s behalf. Indeed, many businesses do claim this way. But at the same time, there’s a reason why so many firms work with ForrestBrown.

Accountants outsource work to us in two ways. First, is getting us to do every part of a client’s R&D tax relief claim. This arrangement frees you up to focus your energy elsewhere, and for clients, working with us offers undivided, specialist attention.

The second way work is outsourced to us is case by case. We’re totally flexible to your requirements. If a client is facing an HMRC R&D tax relief enquiry for instance, ForrestBrown can assemble a crack team of legal, tax and sector experts to help. Or if a client does highly technical work, our sector specialists can support you on a consultancy basis.

Our client service reduces the risk and time-burden to claim for you and your client, while ultimately increasing the value.

How HSJ Accountants use R&D to serve (and win) clients

R&D tax incentives are a simple way to do more for your clients. The incentive helps deepen the client relationship – and, in fact, can actually help win client work.

One of our accounting partners, HSJ Accountants, raised R&D with a prospective client and won the work because of it. The new client got back a decent amount, so they were delighted with the new accountant. And because HSJ Accountants works with us, they scored a big client service win for relatively little effort.

Read more about our work with HSJ Accountants

Onboarding new clients

Amazing client service is about process with professionalism, personal relationships and expertise added in. One should never become so embedded in a routine that it crowds out your human instincts, but also you can’t deliver good client service by accident.

Your onboarding procedure is ground zero for setting up a healthy client relationship. It’s ideally at this stage where R&D tax credit considerations would be included. Why? Because it’s front of mind for you and the client, and it allows you to demonstrate value quickly.

Looking for some guidance or resources on referring clients to ForrestBrown? Email Alex Price CTA on a.price@forrestbrown.co.uk

Choosing an R&D tax credit partner

It’s important to choose a partner that can match your level of client service. If you refer a client and the experience is not positive, it reflects on you.

Every person at ForrestBrown, no matter their role, is focused on ensuring a positive experience for our clients. When a client is referred to us by an accountant, we realise that it’s an act of trust and we strive to meet and surpass your expectations.

It’s not just about the numbers. Alongside our award-winning tax team, we employ sector specialists, former HMRC inspectors and lawyers who can cater to whatever a client could need concerning R&D tax credits.

Read our guide to outsourcing for accountants to find out how you can choose the right external partners. Or simply get in touch: Call Alex Price CTA and his team on 0117 332 5128 or email him at a.price@forrestbrown.co.uk.