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SR&ED consultant: A guide to selecting the right one

A waitor sets the table in anticipation of the dinner rush at a posh restaurant, the attention to detail matches that of a good sr&ed consultant

Imagine you’re looking for a new lawyer or an accountant. You would consider their: credentials, expertise, experience,  reputation, and track record. You may look for recommendations amongst peers.

These exact same points apply when you’re looking for an SR&ED consultant. Let’s unpack some of them.

SR&ED experience 

Consultants with years of experience and a proven track record can demystify the SR&ED program for you with ease. Their expertise will allow you to concentrate on innovation while they track the SR&ED components of that work. 

Industry-specific knowledge 

Consultants with an extensive understanding of your industry are a huge win because they hit the ground running once they are onboard. Even in instances where they may not specialize in your sector, their experience enables them to quickly pick up nuances and get to work. 

A solid team of experts

Since different areas of expertise feed into a good SR&ED claim, a good consultant should be able to draw upon a pool of trusted experts from diverse backgrounds including law, accounting, and more.

Decoding your SR&ED consultant situation

One of the key misconceptions about consultants is that they have a magic wand for SR&ED, or access to some secret knowledge that others can’t get. On the contrary, all of the detailed information about SR&ED is easily available, either online or helpline.

What is more difficult is deciphering all of the rules and jargon, and keeping track of regulatory changes. A good consultant will help you overcome these challenges.

As you begin your search, ask yourself:

  • How much help do you actually need? Is a simple year-end claims preparation and review interaction enough? Or do you want a full-fledged partner from start to end – i.e. from tracking through to filing and reviews? 
  • Would you want a hands-on consultant who is also willing to teach and train your staff on SR&ED?
  • Consider in detail how boutique, mid-sized, or Big 4 consultancy firms would address your specific concerns.

These questions serve as an overview of the factors that will help narrow down your options.

What to avoid…

Not all SR&ED consultants have the same approach towards SR&ED tracking and claim preparation. Here are some pointers to help you identify who might not serve you best:

  • Be wary of tall, overconfident promises from consultants who haven’t yet started the job or sat down with you to understand your business. 
  • Steer clear of consultants who claim to have special ‘insider access’ to the CRA. 
  • Avoid consultants who promise tech solutions to replace a human consultative approach
  • Avoid consultants who engage in unethical practices, such as exaggerating claims or providing inaccurate information. Such behavior can not only harm your business but also lead to legal consequences.
  • Ensure that your consultant has a comprehensive understanding of the SR&ED legislation and guidelines. Inadequate knowledge may lead to errors in the preparation of your claim, potentially resulting in a rejected application.
  • Be wary of consultants who do not provide a transparent and clear fee structure. Hidden fees or unclear payment terms can lead to unexpected costs and create a lack of trust.

In the end, you may choose to work with large corporations or niche, boutique consultancies. In either case, we strongly believe that the best solution is one that is primarily human-led because nothing can ever replace the perceptive insights that a human mind can bring to your SR&ED claim. 

Download our checklist: 10 questions to ask before hiring an SR&ED Consultant.