There’s no reason why your accountant shouldn’t take a proactive role in identifying funding opportunities for your startup.
Instead of sticking to the basics of bookkeeping, our experts at Jump Accounting are well-versed in all things accounting, as well as pursuing the many financial incentives available for UK startups.
This helps us achieve our fundamental goal of helping small businesses grow. 🚀
Two examples of innovation funding that we help our clients secure are Grant Funding and Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credits.
Grant Funding and R&D Tax Credits are both amazing ways in which the government encourages tech innovation in the UK.
These two schemes offer support at different ends of the R&D process, so it’s important for founders to distinguish their benefits and find out which route would best benefit their business.
But, the truth is, you don’t need to choose.
What many businesses don’t know is - you can take advantage of both! 🏆
This article will outline what both schemes are, what they offer, and how we can help you mutually benefit from them.
💸 Grant Funding 💸
In the early stages of a startup’s journey, well-formulated, feasible products and services can be selected for grant funding opportunities.
Grant Funding is the distribution of government-provided capital that can be spent on virtually any business cost (excluding sales & marketing) that will help set a startup’s plans into motion.
Instead of founders pouring their own money into their project, securing Grant Funding spurs them to take the plunge, by reducing capital risk and providing an upfront financial safety-net.
The biggest draw to government grants is that the money on offer is:
✅ 100% guaranteed upon success;
✅ Totally free and non-repayable;
✅ Not at risk of diluting your corporate equity.
That’s right, you can avoid the hang-ups of other funding routes, such as racking up interest from debt funding or sacrificing equity of your startup.
So why doesn’t every small business apply for Grant Funding instead?
The truth is that these perks incite fierce competition, and more startups than ever before are now applying.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get secure grant funding. That’s why we guide our clients through the application process.
With years of grant-writing experience under our belt, Jump Accounting has built up a comprehensive framework of what grant-awarding bodies want to hear. We’ll pass our secrets onto you, to maximise your chance of being awarded grant money.
For single applicants of the Innovate UK Smart Grant, projects spanning 6-18 months can receive funds of £25k - £500k. However, for joint applicants that have an 18-36 month project in mind, funds awarded can reach up to £2M.
💸 R&D Tax Credits 💸
Further into your project, when your Research & Development (R&D) spending is already well underway, startups and SMEs can benefit from R&D Tax Credits.
R&D Tax Credits offer startups the chance to claim back up to 33% of capital spent on research and development, after their first financial year. This substantial proportion of cash can be a vital way to reinvest into the business growth. Like grant funding, R&D tax relief also doesn’t sacrifice equity.
So, how much money a business can reclaim?
There are a few factors that determine what percentage of research and development costs a business is entitled to. The first of these is the type of claim available to them…
Most emerging companies will pursue the SME Scheme, provided that they have:
✅ Less than 500 employees;
✅ Less than €86m in gross assets;
✅ Achieved less than €100m in turnover
Within this, a business’ financial position at the time of claiming also plays into potential claim size.
Under the SME scheme, loss-making companies are entitled to claim up to 33% of total R&D eligible costs, which is paid directly, in cash, into your bank account. 📉
If you're making a profit, the business can be awarded up to 25% of total R&D eligible costs, this time in the form of a tax credit. 📈
If your startup exceeds the SME metrics you’ll have to file under the RDEC Scheme, which offers a fixed rate of 13% (subject to corporation tax).
Of course, 13% of research and development spending for companies of this size still represents a huge amount of cash – so it’s still very worthwhile undertaking!
That was a lot of percentages and numbers, so we’ve provided you with some examples below to further understand what you could be owed…
(Not that you need to do the workings out…that’s what we’re here for!)
a) You meet the criteria for the SME Scheme, haven’t yet been able to turn a profit and you’ve spent £100,000 on R&D over the past year. This means you could be entitled to up to £33,000 worth of cash to be refunded to your bank account.
b) You fall under the SME Scheme, your startup is profitable and you’ve spent £100,000 on R&D. This means you could be entitled up to £25,000 in tax relief.
c) Your business has scaled, you’re now eligible for the RDEC Scheme and you’ve spent £300,000 on research and development this year. After corporation tax, your claim can save you around £33,000 worth of taxes.
Can they work together?
So, Grant Funding is concerned with facilitating your business’ take-off, and R&D Tax Credits seek to enhance your growth trajectory through re-investment.
The great news is that under certain conditions, you can benefit from both, even on the same R&D project!
Let us explain the guidelines further...
The main determiner of whether you can receive grant funding and R&D tax relief is whether or not your grant is classified as ‘notified state aid’, or government funding regulated by the European Commission (EC).
The EC rules that startups are not allowed access to more than one type of notified state aid for the same research and development work.
This essentially places a limit on the amount of financial support each country can distribute, to maintain a level playing field across the continent.
If the grant you received is classified as notified state aid, such as the Innovate UK Smart Grant, you won’t be able to file under the more lucrative SME Tax Credit Scheme.
But, good news, you are allowed to file under the RDEC Tax Credit Scheme!
So, businesses subsidised by a government grant can still take advantage of R&D Tax Relief, just at a reduced rate.
With RDEC, your potential claim size is capped at 13% (before corporation tax). But since you’re reclaiming a portion of free money, this is still a great opportunity.
Once you've figured out where your business stands in relation to R&D Tax Credits, whether it be with the SME or RDEC scheme, you can reclaim year after year.
As long as your accountant is able to identify new eligible R&D expenditure, and keep your claim application updated, your R&D Tax Credits can annually revitalise your business growth.
Here’s a scenario of how Grant Funding and R&D Tax Credits intersect…
You’ve been awarded a grant of £250k from Innovate UK to kickstart your business venture. You’ve spent the entire £250k on R&D over the past year, but you’re not yet generating profit. Because you’ve received notified state aid already, your financial position doesn’t matter. You’ll be able to claim £32,500 (13% of £250k) worth of tax relief.
That's enough for one day...
So that’s the basics of just two of our many services; Grant Funding and R&D Tax Credits, and how they can be used together and separately.
In some cases, other nuances arise that can complicate the way these systems intersect.
But there’s no need to get into the nitty gritty here, if any issues arise for our clients, Jump Accounting knows how to find the solution.
At Jump Accounting, we like to think that this sort of expertise helps us outshine your typical accountant.
Founders of startups and SMEs have enough on their plate, without having to assign bookkeeping tasks.
Choose Jump Accounting as your personal accountant and growth guru, and let us take the reigns, exploring every avenue of business growth.
Trust your accountant. Regain more time to spend on running your company.
Get in touch with our team today.