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Why do external consultants work out better for SR&ED?

There’s a lot of information and explanatory material, both online and offline, that demystifies SR&ED for potential claimants. While these resources are pretty comprehensive they are not necessarily easily comprehensible. 

For example, Take the official CRA website. The section about SR&ED section there has a wide range has an exhaustive list of information that includes definitions, FAQs, success stories, guides, and much more. The official policies, procedures, and guidelines subsection alone has 28 individual links. Each of these opens up to detailed explanatory material explanations. The problem, as many businesses know, isn’t a lack of information. It lies in understanding and interpreting all of that information to derive the maximum benefit out of it. Thankfully, there are SR&ED consultants there’s help to be had to unpack and simplify them.

Enter the expert

Consultants have a wealth of experience born out of a hyper focus on all matters related to SR&ED. They’ve accumulated this expertise thanks to years’ worth of work across various business sectors. Mastery over the program’s intricacies combined with rich practical understanding allows them to efficiently demystify the jargon and technical verbosity of information in most SR&ED knowledge resources. 

It’s not just about the expertise

As an entrepreneur, you want most of your time and focus to be on your work. Meanwhile, SR&ED can be time consuming and confusing. With so much on your plate already, why pile on additional work? As an entrepreneur, you want most of your time and focus to be on your work. However, SR&ED can be time consuming and confusing. With so much on your plate already, why pile on additional work? SR&ED consultants are here to ease the load and give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

More reasons why SR&ED consultants make sense

  • They simplify a tedious process, help cut to the chase and save time and effort.
  • In many cases, businesses don’t even know their work qualifies for SR&ED claims. Consultants can quickly pick out these blind spots. 
  • Even if a business has handled SR&ED well in the past, consultants can look through claims with a fresh pair of eyes and pick out missing elements. This helps a business submit its claim with greater confidence. 
  • For first time claimants, the SR&ED claims process can be particularly daunting. While CRA has services to help – Pre-Claim Consultation, Pre-Claim Review, First-Time Claimant Advisory Service, Self-Assessment, and Learning Tools – they’re not easy to navigate for first timers. 
  • SR&ED is a dynamic world. A consultant keeps you informed about changes in guidelines and how they might affect you and your claims. 
  • <There is a tax factor to be considered here – I need some clarity on this count>

It’s more than just subject matter expertise

An in-depth understanding of SR&ED is the basic starting point of why hiring consultants makes sense, but it’s more than that. One of the main reasons why external consultants work so well is because they truly understand businesses – the nature of the work involved and the different processes. Even when faced with a new industry or segment, thanks to their wide exposure, they can pretty much hit the ground running by quickly grasping and familiarising themselves with your work. Subsequently, they can get to the task of recording the SR&ED components of it easily. 

Picking a SR&ED consultant 

Selecting an SR&ED consultant is pretty much like selecting any service provider such as lawyers or accountants. You start with research by looking through their experience, track record, reputation, and of course, the fee structure. 

Not all consultants and consultancies follow the same approach. Some are behemoths in their field, some follow a smaller, boutique model of operation, and others are big on software-driven solutions and might only enter the picture at the end of the year to assess and help prepare a claim while others offer to be a part of the whole journey in real-time. Larger consultants bring big reputations, expertise, and resources to the table, but they may not be hyper-focused on SR&ED. It probably functions as one of their many service offerings. 

SR&ED boutique consultancies might be your best bet if you’re looking for a more personalized and hands-on experience. With smaller, dedicated teams, you’re unlikely to get lost in a sea of departments. What they lack in size, they make up for in expertise with a personal touch. Many of them are even open to helping train your employees in SR&ED.

Every business is different. Whether you pick a large consultancy or a niche one, it’s best to weigh all of your options against specific requirements before making a choice. For instance, at Checkpoint, our service offerings are divided into broad categories based on our understanding of what clients usually want.

Either way, getting external help makes a whole lot of sense whether you’re a first time claimant or a veteran. Next Read: What’s involved in making an SR&ED claim?

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