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Haines Watts Hereford Phone icon 01432 273189

In my work as an R&D tax specialist, I have the pleasure of working with a wide range of businesses. I enjoy the fact that every R&D claim I work on is unique and offers insight, not only into the business’ innovations, but also into the motivation of the entrepreneurs behind the innovation.

Now most people are in business to make money and it’s true to say that a large proportion of the claims I have done centre on advances which seek to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. The beauty of R&D tax relief is that you can save money in the pursuit of saving money – if you get what I mean.  It’s a win win if your motivation is producing more for less.

Another driving force behind innovation, which I see every day, is professional pride – the need to be the best. The pursuit of perfection will almost inevitably give rise to an R&D claim as entrepreneurs seek ways to do things better and keep trying until they get there. The R&D case studies on our website show professional pride in abundance including Ark Stained Glass, who have reinvented lost artisan skills to respond to client’s requirements, and Apreco, who have established market leadership through continual product development.

Many of the businesses I come across are making efforts to reduce their environmental impact and, in some cases, this has given rise to advances which have qualified for R&D tax relief. Environmental and conservational concerns as the impetus for innovation are demonstrated in the case of Whites Textile Services, who significantly invested in research to reduce water and detergent usage and enable washing at lower temperatures.

For those who have built their business on reputation, quality assurance is crucial. The pursuit of formal or informal quality management standards can often instigate bespoke systems and processes which can qualify for R&D tax relief. The case of Central Roofing & Building Services is an excellent example of quality as a driver for advancement.

It would be remiss not to mention perhaps the most fundamental reason to innovate – need. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and an element of this is evident in most of the claims I handle. True entrepreneurial businesses don’t let the fact that something doesn’t exist get in the way of progress. If they need a better way of doing things they make it happen, if a client needs a bespoke component they create it. Our client Nicholsons is one such company. With off-the-shelf stock management software unable to handle the types of stock they deal with, Nicholsons took matters into their own hands and developed a tailored system to meet their needs.

I am fascinated by what drives entrepreneurs to take risks and innovate, what propels them to do what no one else has done before. Luckily these are the stories I get to hear every day.

Want to know more? Call us on 01432 273189 or email

About the author

Sophie Powell

Sophie joined Haines Watts in February 2017. She qualified as a Certified Accountant in 2005 and has over 18 years’ experience working in local and national practices. She has experience in a wide range of accountancy and taxation services.

As a Manager in the specialist R&D Tax Team at Haines Watts Hereford, Sophie helps companies to identify qualifying expenditure for R&D tax relief and drafts claims submissions for HMRC.

Sophie lives in Hereford with her husband and two sons. She is an avid film fan and enjoys spending her spare time with friends and family.

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