Champion Accountants has helped its SME clients secure £25million of tax relief through the government’s Research & Development (R&D) tax credit scheme.

The accountancy group, with practices in Manchester, Chester, Preston and Blackpool, maintains its 100% success rate, with every R&D claim submitted to date resulting in a tax benefit or cash payment for its clients.

With an average claim size of £46,425, Champion Accountants’ tax and R&D specialists have submitted claims for clients operating in engineering, digital, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, food & drink, utilities and more.

Among its success stories is Kent-headquartered Aquaflow Services, which provides 24-hour emergency plumbing and drainage solutions for challenging environments, 365 days a year. Operating throughout the M25, Aquaflow Services’ work includes HMS Belfast and the Canada Square skyscraper in Canary Wharf, which was originally designed for 6,000 staff and now holds double this figure.

Having never considered R&D relief, despite having a number of eligible activities, Champion Accountants’ tax advisers identified a £575,000 R&D spend and successfully claimed back £150,000 in tax credits.

Keith Borrett, managing director at Aquaflow Services, explains: “Our last accountant had never told us about R&D and our eligibility to claim. Champion came highly recommended and they didn’t disappoint.

“The entire process was really simple. It’s made us rethink our R&D activities and we’re now having regular internal meetings to see what more we can do in terms of research and development and bring new innovative solutions to market.”

Another successful claim for Manchester-based Swinton Electro Plating identified £124,195 in qualifying R&D expenditure, resulting in a tax benefit of £35,933.

Godfrey Evans, managing director at Swinton Electro Plating, comments: “At first I was sceptical and worried about the amount of work that may have needed to be done by my team. From start to finish Champion made the entire process simple and have made us more aware of what we do on a day-to-day basis that can be used for future R&D claims.’’

Although HMRC figures indicate that claims under the SME R&D Relief Scheme are on the rise, Champion Accountants remain concerned that many businesses are missing out on the money they are entitled to.

David Herd, lead R&D tax adviser at Champion Accountants, added: “Although there’s increased awareness of R&D, we’re still seeing businesses come to us with misconceptions about what can be claimed. R&D isn’t just for people in lab coats and software developers. In fact, there are a whole host of qualifying activities where businesses are investing in innovative technologies and processes. We’ve an experienced and qualified tax team here at Champion, so if there is an eligible activity to be found, we will find it.

“I’d advise anyone who is apprehensive about making a claim, to get in touch for a chat. We can advise quite quickly whether a claim is worth pursuing or not. There’s nothing to lose, and if successful, that’s money you can reinvest in your business to promote further innovation.”