Revolutionising R&D Tax Credits: Strategic Advice for Finance Directors

May 15 2024 Financial Management


Navigating the rapidly evolving landscape of business finance, the strategic management of R&D tax credits emerges as a crucial facet of innovation. Gary JessonGroup MD and co-founder of EFM has over 30 years of experience advising SMEs and shares his practical insights on leveraging R&D tax credits to enhance your company’s financial health.

Integrating R&D Expenditure into Routine Financial Processes 

I am an advocate for recording R&D expenditures as part of regular financial routines. By treating these costs as routine financial activities, we can avoid the end-of-year scramble to compile financial information to support an R&D claim. Continuous, detailed documentation of R&D expenditure leads to more robust and defensible claims

You likely already have established routines and software to reconcile costs. As a result, integrating this into your finance team’s existing process shouldn’t be difficult. 

The Benefits of Early and Regular Documentation 

The importance of timely and regular documentation is paramount. I’ve found that incorporating R&D documentation into monthly financial routines not only simplifies the process when working with an R&D tax advisor, it also enhances the accuracy and completeness of the records.

This method ensures that we are always prepared for submissions, reducing processing time internally and with the advisor and improving the likelihood of successful claims.  

Strategic Financial Leadership 

As a Finance Director, my role in steering the R&D strategy is vital. Proactive leadership means overseeing the financial details and ensuring all potential R&D activities are recognised from the start.

Embedding R&D considerations into our financial planning process allows us to transform R&D expenditure into a strategic financial tool rather than just a tax afterthought. Regular tracking as described above becomes an insight for board-level discussions and decision-making on R&D spending (e.g. hiring an employee versus hiring a contractor).

By assigning associated costs monthly, I can not only keep a close eye on project costs but also estimate the return based on the current HMRC calculationsThis insight informs action throughout the financial year. 

Leveraging R&D Tax Credits for Financial Optimisation 

I highlight the strategic use of R&D tax credits as a pathway to financial optimisation. For startups and established companies alike, effectively managed R&D tax credits can yield significant cash flow benefits. These funds can be channelled back into core business operations, fostering innovation and growth without reliance on external funding like loans or equity financing

This approach conserves resources, buys critical time for generating sales, and strengthens financial health. If you are looking to attract future investors, this information can boost your valuation and appeal in the market. 


The insights I’ve shared underscore the transformative impact of well-managed R&D tax credits on a company’s financial health. Staying ahead in the financial management of R&D can significantly influence our company’s bottom line and strategic direction.

By adopting the practices I’ve discussed, we, as Finance Directors, can turn R&D tax credits into a powerful tool for financial stability and growth. 

For R&D Tax Credit support, visit

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