Bridging gaps, boosting accuracy – Seamless collaboration in the era of HMRC precision

Bridging gaps, boosting accuracy – Seamless collaboration in the era of HMRC precision

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By Jen Badger, Co-Founder & Operations Director at WhisperClaims

R&D tax relief claims have become increasingly intricate, demanding even more meticulous collaboration between advisors and their clients. Crafting a robust claim necessitates continued communication as details need verification, costs require compilation and final approval hinges on client input.

At WhisperClaims, we’ve observed a significant surge in collaborative efforts within our software, with the proportion of claims inviting in-app collaborators increasing significantly since HMRC introduced the Additional Information Form in August 2023.

We believe this surge is attributed to the heightened scrutiny from HMRC, prompting advisors to seek absolute accuracy and to make sure that their client has played a fully active part in the preparation of their claim.

A noticeable uptick…

Collaborating with your client during the preparation of their R&D claim should be a given. It’s impossible to prepare an accurate R&D tax relief claim without at least an in-depth conversation with your client about their projects. To prepare a robust and accurate claim, however, the collaboration needs to be ongoing. Our software offers accountants the ability to collaborate with their customers in real time during the claim preparation process.

It’s a priority for us to make sure that all our features offer excellent usability and recent analysis of our collaboration feature revealed some fascinating insights – this year, the proportion of claims where a collaborator has been added has almost doubled—a huge increase in a short period! We’ll get into the reasons for this later, but first, here’s a bit more about how collaboration works in WhisperClaims…

What are collaborators?

Put simply, collaborators are anyone who could or should have input into a claim. The most obvious examples are the staff of the claimant company—from the technical lead to the financial director, they will have the information that you need to put together a robust R&D claim.

Beyond this, subcontractors who worked on the projects might have insights into the technical challenges, or outsourced payroll staff may be able to contribute to the cost gathering.

How are collaborators managed in WhisperClaims?

Collaborators can be added to a claim at any point through the claim interface once the qualification checks have been answered. You have the option of giving them access to just the questions about the projects, or both the projects and the costs questions—meaning you can keep sensitive financial information restricted to only those who have permission to see it.

The collaborators set up their own log-in and access the claim as often as necessary until everyone involved is happy that all the information needed to bring a claim together has been gathered.

When should I add my collaborators?

That’s entirely up to you. We have some users who add collaborators as soon as they can and ask their collaborators to answer all the questions in the app themselves. At the other extreme, we have users who add collaborators after they have entered all the information and simply want the collaborators to review and approve everything. When you add your collaborators depends on how you work with your client and how you feel collaborators best add value to your process. 

Ok, but why are people suddenly using this feature more?

From our analysis, this increase in usage has come from two factors. Firstly, HMRC’s increased enquiry rate means our users are even more conscious of making sure that claims are 100 per cent accurate and that their clients approve all the information entered. Using the collaboration feature means that both advisors and claimants have access to the same information, and any mistakes or misunderstandings can be ironed out before the report is finalised.  Secondly, and more importantly, the introduction of the Additional Information Form (AIF) in August 2023 has changed the way that many advisors prepare claims.

An AIF is essential for HMRC to process a claim. However, within the first month of the AIF going live HMRC rejected over 50 per cent of claims as they did not have an associated AIF.

WhisperClaims’ software, Advice Line and support channels help firms to confidently prepare R&D claims effectively by introducing a repeatable structure and framework to guide and support advisors, and our AIF solution provides an output that maps the structure of the portal, allowing for easy copy and paste straight into the form.

Why work with WhisperClaims?

WhisperClaims’ software, supported by our Advice Line channels, offers advisers a structured framework whilst simultaneously addressing the challenges posed by the Additional Information Form. Whether you’re an established accountancy firm seeking efficiency or a newcomer to R&D tax advisory, WhisperClaims offers a reliable solution to streamline processes and establish compliance.

In addition, we run regular product showcases on getting the most out of WhisperClaims as well as courses and webinars focused on training and the changes in the R&D landscape that you should be aware of. Browse our Events & course page to find out more.

If you’d like to know more about how WhisperClaims is helping accountants to deliver R&D tax claims more effectively why not book a personalised 1-2-1 demo ? Or join one of our upcoming product showcase webinars

How to write an R&D tax relief technical narrative

With HMRC’s new mandatory requirement for project descriptions on all submissions, we wanted to share our experiences to help others to write their best possible technical narratives.

Available to download here.

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