Accounting Firm Moves Away from Manual Processes to Offer Clients a Comprehensive Value-Add Service
CB Reid, an independent firm of Chartered Accountants, tax experts and business advisors based in Dorchester, has partnered with WhisperClaims, an R&D tax fintech company, to deliver a comprehensive in-house service for R&D tax claims, and offer its clients a rigorous and accountable method for compiling and submitting claims to HMRC.
CB Reid offers a typical range of accounting services for general practice; including audit, personal business tax, and payroll. However, the firm’s niche is working with high-growth startups, specifically in the technology industry across B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer), areas well recognised for their investment in research and development (R&D) – and, therefore, the opportunity to benefit from HMRC R&D tax credits.
Removing Manual Processes
Before working with WhisperClaims, when managing the R&D claims process, Matt Haines, Director at CB Reid, explained how they would compile reports manually in-house using Microsoft Word, which is both a “more lengthy” and potentially, “less rigorous method” compared to now using WhisperClaims’ software platform. Additionally, there would be an added cost for the more complicated claims, as Matt explains: “We would outsource the most technical work, such as engineering or food product development claims.”
CB Reid identified room for improvement within its R&D tax service. This particularly came as a result of working with high-growth clients, who were accessing other forms of relief, such as EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) and grants – which can have a knock-on effect on R&D claims, and can make the process more complex.
Moreover, with HMRC clamping down on the accuracy and relevance of R&D tax claims, it was important for CB Reid to ensure that they got these technical and nuanced areas correct. Matt emphasises that because of this, and working with bigger startups with large amounts of investment, the R&D work was becoming more significant and more technical. As a result, he comments: “I was keen to get something in place, and I was loathed to outsource the claims, especially when it was something I felt that we could do in-house”.
Best of Breed
When choosing WhisperClaims, as a firm, CB Reid’s policy is to take best-in-breed software – and, having reviewed the competitive landscape for R&D tax software solutions, concluded that the WhisperClaims platform stood out for its intuitiveness; its cost-effectiveness; and its comprehensive and complementary support services. In addition, as the firm was gradually moving most of its on-premise compliance software to the cloud, WhisperClaims’ cloud-based platform was an ideal strategic match.
Matt outlines the additional benefits of the partnership: “By using the WhisperClaims platform, we get the best of both worlds whereby we can control the R&D claims process, and we also have access to the support behind it. Additionally, the platform continues to develop the team as you use it, so we improve our knowledge as we go.
“Fundamentally, it allows us to offer a profitable R&D tax service as opposed to outsourcing work – which we’re capable of doing. It’s extremely beneficial for us to keep the whole service in-house, delivering the complete service from accounts to tax, as well as R&D claims, reducing the need for us to send our clients to multiple people.”
Ahead of the Curve
Since partnering earlier this year (May 2022), CB Reid has processed a number of R&D tax claims so far, and has also benefited from the use of WhisperClaims’ complementary offerings, such as its claims review service, whereby firms can send their clients’ claims to WhisperClaims’ expert advisors, who will then review and assess the claim for its robustness and accuracy in the eyes of HMRC, and make suggestions should they be required. “The review service was excellent and very prompt,” Matt says. “And, the upshot was that from using the service, we then could go back and discuss some of the details and refine the report with the client before it was submitted. Ultimately, we now feel more empowered to deliver our clients an R&D tax claims service that is of the highest quality.”
Mike Dean, Managing Director, WhisperClaims, concludes: “The need for advisors to utilise R&D tax service tools, such as WhisperClaims, is only going to increase as the R&D space becomes more complicated, and more strict with HMRC introducing new rules around accountability and auditability. It’s key to get ahead of the curve, take control of service delivery and implement best practice.”