09 June 2021

What to look for in an R&D adviser: Why not choose the cheapest?

Written By Kene Partners

What to look for in an R&D adviser: Why not choose the cheapest?

Whether you make regular R&D claims or you’re new to the process, now more than ever R&D advisers and consultants are calling out for your attention – many by offering cheap rates for dubious services. And while we appreciate that the low rates may seem appealing, when it comes to R&D claims: cheap rarely means cheerful.

The risks

R&D tax relief is a State Aid and as administrators of this, HMRC have a duty to check that claims meet the criteria set out in the legislation and guidelines. Yet, in spite of this, the sector is only partially regulated. Amongst other things, unregulated advisers do not have to follow proper AML and GDPR processes which also protect the client. Serious R&D claim preparation is therefore a technically-demanding process, and a low rate will likely mean that a provider is taking shortcuts. This results in poor claim quality and means you inherit a greater risk of errors, enquiries, and penalties.

Kene Partners’ fees

It’s important to say here: at Kene Partners, our fees reflect the quality of the service we provide. We always want to offer value, and our rates are an honest and competitive reflection of what we do – we apply the same diligence, rigour, and consistency to all our work. But we won’t cut corners or sacrifice client service in order to be that ‘cheap’ R&D consultancy. As part of our commitment to outstanding service, we invest in our highly skilled team of engineers, sector specialists, chartered tax advisers, and R&D specialists – our fees allow us to maintain that commitment.

What to look for in an R&D tax-credit consultant

To help you make a safe decision, we’ve outlined the minimum acceptable criteria that any R&D consultancy should be able to meet. Before you enter into any agreement, ask yourself:

  • Are they regulated advisers? How will they protect you and your information?
  • Do they know (and have regular training) on the government’s R&D legislation? Are they able to explain how – and to what extent – your work aligns with the legislation?
  • Do they take the time to speak to your technical staff, understand your business, and the shape and nature of your R&D? Will they visit your business in person (or, at the very least, speak with your team via video conference)?
  • Do they prepare a technical narrative to represent some of your key R&D projects?
  • Do they have staff with specialist, sector-specific expertise?
  • Can they offer testimonials from previous clients?
  • Do they ask you to prepare your own technical documentation or send generic templates and questionnaires?
  • Do they report back to you on their calculations and discussions, sending claim documentation for your approval before submission?
  • Do they have a quality assurance process?
  • Does their fee include enquiry support if HMRC have further questions about the claim or conduct a spot-check?

Any R&D adviser or consultant should be able to answer all of these points in the affirmative. If they can’t, then it’s best to look elsewhere.

How we work: 

  • We are regulated advisers: we adhere to all the relevant AML and GDPR to protect our clients.
  • We have a team of engineers and sector specialists from various disciplines.
  • Our clients come from a wide variety of sectors, and they love us for what we do.
  • We have regular training on the R&D legislation.
  • We take the time to get to know your business; this means we’re often able to find more qualifying expenditure than other advisers. We will visit you in person, or, if preferable, we can conduct our technical workshops via video call.
  • We will compile the report and all claim documentation on your behalf.
  • We have rigorous in-house quality assurances processes.
  • We sit on the R&D Consultative Committee Advisory Panel and have a large amount of interaction with HMRC on the various nuances of the legislation.
  • Our fee is success-based only and includes support through any questions or an enquiry from HMRC.

Remember, what matters most is the adviser’s commitment to the robustness of your claim. You should always check with the adviser to see what’s included in the scope of the work, as well as ascertaining how much input will be required on your part, and the ways in which you’ll be supported in the event of an enquiry from HMRC.

Our commitment

At Kene Partners we support you all the way. We always take the time to get to know your business; we deliver value by deploying a team who can understand the technicalities of your innovation, and accurately capture and quantify all the relevant costs and expenditures in line with the governing legislation. If you’d like to find out more – about the R&D tax incentives, or how we might work together – get in touch with our team at Kene.Partners

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