Intelligent Issue 05 | Page 46


Phil Ellerby , Founder of Northern Accountants
WhisperClaims ’ platform . When describing the user experience – compared to traditionally outsourcing R & D tax – Ellerby said : “ When we compared the quality of the output we are able to generate with WhisperClaims , in comparison to the claims that we were seeing from some of the rogue providers , we recognised that we are now offering greater quality , something we ’ re comfortable in doing , and ultimately , generating a new source of income .”
One of the key benefits of WhisperClaims ’ platforms is that it makes the R & D reporting process much easier and more streamlined , as Ellerby explained : “ It really helps us put together the claims that we were always concerned with doing . We can now pull together a report in a quarter of the time that we would spend either typing it out manually or building templates to do it . It ’ s flexible , straightforward and effectively bespoke , but on a systematic basis – as the platform can be tailored to what you need easily .”
The relationship between WhisperClaims and Northern Accountants was another fundamental reason for its partnership , as Ellerby highlighted : “ When I met Mike and the team , there was instant synergy , we clicked and we got on well . The relationship we ’ ve got is second to none , they can ’ t do enough for you . We ’ ve got their team ’ s expertise on tap to advise and provide us with the support we need . They ’ re there to help protect the R & D legislation and the industry , as well as us .”
In addition to utilising Whisperclaims ’ platform , Northern Accountants has also taken advantage of its complementary services : “ I ’ ve had a ‘ full portfolio review ’ on our clients to help us identify opportunities and an ‘ advanced review ’ for those clients to give me a better angle on how to approach them to talk about the key areas and trigger points that they felt would be particularly relevant to the industries they are in . We ’ ve also used the claims review service . Anything that WhisperClaims has done , I ’ ve got involved with because it ’ s not only lucrative for the firm , but it ’ s also a great value-add to our clients ,” said Ellerby .
Closing the door to red flags
HMRC is reinforcing its commitment to tightening up compliance and R & D tax relief is a priority . As part of this , partnering with WhisperClaims was important to Northern Accountants so that it could ensure that when it prepared
R & D claims , they were put together in the appropriate way to comply with HMRC . Ellerby said : “ There are some grey areas with R & D , and if you ’ re putting claims together on your own , you might interpret the legislation differently . Therefore , the language used , the way it ’ s structured and the points you need to meet , are all important considerations when it comes to building a robust claim . Having a platform like WhisperClaims helps give us the structure of the report , meaning we can feel confident when submitting the return as we , and our clients , know we ’ re not going to put anything forward that might be incorrect or raise a flag with HMRC .”
With new legislation coming into effect over the next year , it is crucial that accountancy firms begin to invest in such platforms . One of the new rules that is being introduced is the need for an R & D report to accompany every claim , but Ellerby explained that this is something that is commonly underserviced by R & D tax experts : “ We ’ ve done R & D claims with some pretty big firms and we ’ ve asked for the R & D report , instead we got a spreadsheet of numbers – which is how they calculated it . Where ’ s the R & D justification in it ? They might only be small claims and they might not feel it ’ s justified , but it leaves the door wide open to questions from HMRC . We welcome these new rules and working with WhisperClaims helps us to identify where the red flags are , and if red flags are raised , we can then question whether the claim should be made or not .”
Looking toward the future , Northern Accountants is planning to develop a specialist tax department within its organisation , expanding on the general practice . The team is heavily investing in having a dedicated tax team and has recently built its own software to support this . Ellerby concluded : “ We ’ re not far off launching , aiming for 2023 , but hopefully we ’ ll have specialist teams doing this day in and day out with the support of WhisperClaims . I ’ d recommend WhisperClaims to any accounting professionals who are looking to evolve into R & D tax – it ’ s a great product with a great team behind it .” �
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