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The faces behind your R&D tax credits case: Matt Timby FCCA

Author: Gareth Smyth

Since its inception, randd has continued to recruit and develop leaders that can deliver an unparalleled R&D tax credits service.

Within the senior team, Matt Timby is randd’s finance director, boasting 25 years of experience in the accounts and tax industry, 10 of which have been exclusively focused on R&D tax credits.

Matt has shared why he thinks now could be the perfect time to explore randd’s offering and what his own role entails:

Q: Why are R&D tax credits so beneficial to a company?

A: The main advantage, of course, is the cash inflow. Although it has the word tax in its title, this is a cash award from the Government for innovation. It is best to think of it as a grant award for a project, with the Chancellor being an investor or providing part funding. I appreciate that some accountants can be nervous about their clients applying for this tax break, but when you think of it in these terms, you would not say no to applying for a grant, so why say no to applying for R&D tax credits?

Q: What advice would you give to a business owner looking to apply for R&D tax credits?

A: A good piece of advice is to do your research into what other firms similar to yours are doing in the market. This is intrinsic to most competent professionals carrying out R&D projects, but it is vital to get it documented: What research did you do? Can you demonstrate what was on the market and why it was not able to fulfil your requirements? What was the known science or technological state at that time?

This is one of the hardest things to go back and remember, potentially two or three years after the event, and if the Government asks later, it is much easier with documentation. Ultimately, the best advice I can offer is to seek guidance from your accountant or an R&D agent like randd. The rules on what is and is not claimable are complicated so there is no need to try and do it yourself — be supported.

Q: What does your role at randd encompass?

A: It can be difficult to pinpoint what my job at randd actually is! My role has grown and evolved over the last 10 years and it can change on a daily basis. Even though the company’s direction is planned meticulously, there are different challenges which arise each day and it’s my responsibility to step into the breach and overcome them.

Q: What kind of challenges do you expect in your role?

A: These can be nice as well as problematic hurdles, but when somebody, such as a colleague, client, their accountant or even a tax inspector, has a problem or is not sure how to resolve an issue, I am the one they can turn to. I guess it comes with years of experience in the accounting profession — which is getting on for 30 years now! — and I tend to have a knack for seeing through issues, leading to a resolution as efficiently as possible. I also like to think that being a good communicator is part of that too. I’d always much rather phone a client to talk through any problems rather than get lost in emails.

Q: How did you get involved in the R&D tax industry?

A: I am a practising accountant by trade and have worked for top firms as well as small practices in all areas of accountancy: VAT, payroll, audit, accounts preparation and, of course, self-assessment and corporation tax. Sometime in the mid-noughties, I was asked to calculate a client’s R&D tax credits. They had been in touch with an R&D agent — one of randd’s own co-founders! — to prepare the technical report and calculate the R&D expenditure. The agent had questions about tax implications and got in touch with my current firm. By working together, we recovered just over £90,000.

That was a lot of money and, at the time, I could not quite believe the client would receive all of that, but the R&D agent assured me it was all fine. And it was! The money was paid out and the client was, naturally, very happy. So, I got to thinking: “This is good!” and “I’d like to do more of this!” It was the feel-good factor which attracted me most to doing more R&D claims.

Q: How did the new relationship progress?

A: It was not long before the R&D agent gave me another client to work with, then another, then some more, and it continued to grow from there. A couple of years and accountancy firms later, it became a no-brainer for me to work for randd full-time. I said: “OK, but I’ll need an assistant.” As it turned out, randd knew of a young man who had just graduated from university with a degree in economics, finance and banking and was looking for his first appointment. We took him on and I met him on my first day of employment at randd. That young man turned out to be Ryan Sian — randd’s current managing director.

Q: What kind of relationships do you try to maintain within the randd team?

A: I feel a huge responsibility to our staff. I’m the overarching coach for our trainee accountants and I think it is vitally important that I pass down my experience and guidance to the team. As randd’s FD (the Fun Director!), I like to make sure everyone is okay. I am proud of our ethos and the positive environment we have created.

It is often said that we spend more time with our workmates than we do with our families, so it is important that we operate in family-like surroundings. We work hard, we sometimes work longer than usual hours and we carry out very serious duties, but everybody who has worked with us has said what a nice place randd is and what great staff we have. I like to make it that way and keep it that way.