Research & Development Can Assist Accountants To Differentiate Their Firms

Accountant's Minute 266

Mark Holton, an Accountancy Industry Consultant and Director of Smithink Pty Ltd, discussed with Peter Towers, Managing Director, ESS BIZTOOLS the opportunities that accountants have to differentiate their firms by proactively advising clients on research and development opportunities and the taxation benefits that they can obtain from the proper implementation of a research and development system.

“Research and development is a huge opportunity to assist accountants to be able to help clients create better businesses that have the ability to be worth more tomorrow (because of the investment in research and development) than what they are today”.

“Business advisory services should be part of the firm’s overall suite of products/services” Mark Holton said.

Peter Towers indicated that there is over 13,000 companies involved in the Research and Development Incentive Rebate Scheme.  He believes that a majority of these companies would have originated as sole traders or SME businesses – the “natural clients” of small and medium-sized accountancy firms”.

“ESS BIZTOOLS has developed a step-by-step process to assist accountants to deliver a research and development service”.

Towers indicated that “the Federal government has introduced a ‘trifecta of services’ which will directly benefit companies with turnovers under $20 million that have undertaken research and development activities, but also will be very beneficial to accountants who are proactively offering these services”.

The trifecta of services includes:

  • Research and development where a rebate of 43.5% of eligible expenditure is available for companies with turnovers under $20 million – if the company is trading at a loss, the company could apply for a cash refund of the amount of the rebate (subject to the loss being higher than the calculated rebate).
  • Accelerating Commercialisation – grants of up to $1 million are available on a 50% contribution basis by the Federal government to assist companies with turnovers from $0 - $20 million to be able to “commercialise” their prototype developed from the research and development process.
  • Early Stage Innovation Companies – an attractive structure for companies that have been involved in research and development activities that wish to raise capital to use because there are significant taxation benefits for the investors.

Accountants who have become involved in this process will generate significant loyalty from their clients and, at the same time, create very interesting work for their team and earn attractive fees for their firm.  Mark Holton indicated that accountants need to develop a “Research and Development Business Implementation Plan” whereby they have considered all aspects of the research and development services including an explanation of the benefits that they can distribute to clients and prospects; a decision on the fees to be charged for these services; establishment of an appropriate infrastructure for the delivery of consultancy services.

“Accountants need a proper business system which is scalable within the accountancy firm, very similar to what most firms have done for compliance work, if they are going to successfully introduce research and development and other business advisory services activities to their firm”.  Mark Holton said.  You can listen to the recording of the conversation between Peter Towers and Mark Holton by clicking here.

Protecting Intellectual Property in Research and Development

In the ESS BIZTOOLS’ Business Advisory Services Webinars/Conversation on Wednesday 31st March at 11.30am AEST (12.30pm AEDT) Peter Towers will have a discussion with Matthew Karakoulakis, Principal Legal Officer of AMK Law Melbourne and Adelaide, relative to the strategies that can be implemented to protect intellectual property that is being developed as part of a research and development process.

Some of the matters that will be discussed include:

  • The utilisation of an intellectual property protection checklist for research and development activities so as to ensure that all items have been checked.
  • A review of the intellectual property agreements relating to employees – do the general intellectual property assignments, signed by an employee, cover activities that might not be a regular occurrence for that employee that relate to research and development.
  • A check to ensure that intellectual property agreements have been signed by any contractors, consultants, experts that have been engaged to assist on the research and development project.
  • If the company is involved with other organisations relative to the pursuit of the research and development activities, has an appropriate joint venture agreement been prepared?
  • If management believe that the intellectual property should be protected by a patent agreement, what legal action needs to be required to ensure that a patent application is filed?
  • Trademark registration could be considered if it is decided that this type of protection should be obtained.
  • A decision might be made by the Board of Directors not to proceed with any formal protection of intellectual property, but to draft a full summary as a trade secret and to then license certain people and organisations to have access to the trade secret. These documents obviously need drafting.

These matters and others will be discussed in the webinar on Wednesday 31st March.  To register please click here).

Upcoming Research and Development Webinars

ESS BIZTOOLS is presenting a series of free webinars on research and development:

  • Tuesday 13th April at 2.00pm AEST. Title: “Evaluating Research & Development Product Package”.  To register click here.

The webinar will be repeated on:

  • Thursday 22nd April 2021 at 12-noon AEST. Title: “Evaluating Research & Development Product Package”.  To register click here.

Challenges Ahead

Mark Holton indicated in the video conversation that accountants need to move into advisory services if they have not already done so.  Mark said he doesn’t think firms have a choice – accountants should be seeking diversified income streams to complement the core compliance business.  Mark indicated that “I think we have got to be smarter.  I think the future is going to demand accountants offering a broader range of commercial services”

You are most welcome to visit our websites – www.essbiztools.com.au or www.essbizgrants.com.au where you can obtain information on government grants that are available for an individual client.

If you are interested in obtaining a free, no obligation overview of the Business Advisory Services Product Packages developed by ESS BIZTOOLS to assist accountants to deliver a wide range of Business Advisory Services without you having to reinvent the wheel by spending hundreds of hours in writing the material, please “Book A Demo” on the ESS BIZTOOLS homepage – www.essbiztools.com.au or contact Peter Towers:

Have a great day.

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Research & Development Can Assist Accountants To Differentiate Their Firms