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10 years of excellence in R&D tax relief

Sara Bridgen managing director
Managing Director
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Since its inception in 2013, ForrestBrown has been committed to excellence. Our aim continues to be the UK’s leading innovation incentives specialist, delivering first class service – and results – to our clients.

Simon Brown founded ForrestBrown in 2013 having identified a clear need from innovative companies for highly targeted R&D tax relief advice. Along with his fellow directors, Simon grew the business from a team of two in Bristol to more than 120.

At the time of launch, ForrestBrown was very much a disruptor in the nascent market for R&D tax relief advice. By fusing technical tax advice with specialist sector experience, ForrestBrown was able to speak to R&D intensive SMEs in fields ranging from engineering to software development in their own language.

Fast forward to today and ForrestBrown is still leading the way. As well as continuing to deliver claims for R&D intensive SMEs, we increasingly support large companies. We work with listed and multi-national businesses with more complex requirements, from due diligence to navigating global innovation incentives.

During this time, we’ve delivered more than 13,000 claims for clients, supporting a similar number of technical jobs in the UK in the process. We’ve expanded from our Bristol HQ to open offices in Glasgow and London. And we’ve continued to grow, while retaining the culture and values which were central to Simon’s founding vision.

As the innovation landscape has evolved, we’ve helped clients navigate change and uncertainty in R&D tax policy, championed professional standards in the market for tax advice, and continued to be a constructive voice in the debate over the future of R&D tax relief.

In our tenth year, we were delighted to be chosen by our peers as the Best Independent Consultancy Firm in Tolley’s Taxation awards, completing a hat-trick of wins in the category (2016, 2018, 2023) in the decade since the company was founded.

This award provides extra motivation as we continue to develop the services we offer, while maintaining the same high standards of expertise and achieving consistently high levels of client satisfaction.

At the forefront in our field

Since ForrestBrown was formed in 2013, we’ve been a member firm of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and have been putting professional standards at the heart of our culture.

Piecemeal changes to regulations and continued uncertainty about the future have characterised the recent history of R&D tax policy. Against this backdrop, ForrestBrown continues to make the case for a clear statement of intent, a modernised definition of R&D and regulation of the market for tax advice to tackle abuse by spurious advisors.

Jenny Tragner (Director and Head of Policy) appears alongside George Freeman MP, Minister for Science, Technology & Innovation to discuss the future of the UK R&D agenda.

We set out to shape the future of R&D tax policy, at the same time supporting our clients in navigating the complexity created by a series of proposed reforms and legislative changes.

Last year, this mission took us to the House of Lords, where Head of Policy, Jenny Tragner, gave evidence to the Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into R&D tax relief reforms set out in the Autumn Statement and our comments featured prominently in their subsequent report.

We worked closely with professional bodies, business groups and industry associations to create a consistent message on key issues such as support for R&D intensive SMEs.

We were also honoured to be asked to author guidance on R&D tax relief for the prestigious Tolley’s Tax Digest. All of these examples served to underline ForrestBrown’s reputation as trusted experts in R&D tax relief and highlight the investment we’ve made in improving standards in our industry, and we bring this to our clients in our advice and fresh approach.  

Earlier this year, the government published a consultation detailing the proposition for a merged R&D scheme that would streamline the accessibility and administration of the incentive. Our clients can be confident ForrestBrown will continue to play an active role in helping to shape the future of the relief.

Partnership is at the heart of everything we do

As we celebrate our latest milestone, it is fitting that last week we enjoyed our annual get together with our partners at The Ned hotel in the heart of the City of London.

Central to our success over the last decade has been our continued investment in relationships with key partners, in particular accountants and industry associations.

We work alongside our accountant partners, including several top 50 firms, to provide specialist R&D tax relief support, adding value for their clients. Our role can include claim preparation, sector specialist expertise and support in the event of an enquiry.

Forrest Brown Partner’s Dinner at The Ned. September 28th 2023.

Additionally, we continue to work with a range of industry associations across R&D intensive sectors such as software, precision engineering and renewables. We also build relationships with other valued advisers, from investors to non-executive directors.

We were delighted to be able to bring so many of our partners together to help us celebrate our tenth anniversary.

As the landscape for innovation in the UK continues to evolve, so will ForrestBrown

Although born in Bristol – which remains our HQ – ForrestBrown works with clients across the UK, from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands. We recognise the value of local market knowledge and face-to-face relationships which can be easier to facilitate from an office base in a city or region. That’s why we have invested in growing our presence in London and Glasgow, with the latter a clear recognition of the importance of the Scottish market.

Having an eye to the future requires our service to evolve. We have demonstrated this by expanding our offering to become an innovation incentives consultancy. 2023 saw Karim Budabuss join ForrestBrown to help lead our support for clients accessing innovation grant opportunities. Alongside Karim we welcomed Peter Reynolds, who specialises in capital allowances, and will lead ForrestBrown’s support for clients helping them optimise tax reliefs available to companies refurbishing commercial property.

ForrestBrown named ‘Best Independent Consultancy Firm’ at Taxation Tolley’s Taxation Awards 2023.

ForrestBrown will also continue to help shape the future of R&D tax relief, working with government on the ongoing reforms and consulting on improving standards for innovation tax incentives, ensuring we continue to deliver excellence for our clients.

Here’s to the next ten years, we very much hope to see you on that journey with us.