Why Sticking With A High Street Generalist Accountant Could Cost You Hundreds Of Thousands

Accounting tips global

“You know you were entitled to several hundred thousand pounds in tax relief for that, don’t you? Did your current accountant not mention it?”


“But, my accountant never said anything!”

Her face shifted from surprise to anger.

That was the first awkward conversation we had when a new client using a well known high street accountant came to us looking for help.

She was running a tech firm developing certain technology and had been granted numerous patents. Rob our managing partner took the first meeting and as soon as he heard the words ‘patents’ and ‘tech’ his ears pricked up. Being very experienced in the tech industry his very first question was: “Has your current accountant claimed your R&D tax relief?”

The business owner had never heard of it. Nor it seems had her current accountant. Or perhaps they just hadn’t bothered to find out that R&D tax credits of around £200,000 were due… Now that’s an expensive mistake to make.

Would You Choose A GP For Your Heart Surgery? Often people ask – well why do I need a sector specialist? Numbers are numbers right, any accountant can do that. To some extent that is true, the basic number crunching all businesses need to do can be done by most qualified accountants. But it’s the nuances of the sector that matter.

  • The potential sector specific reliefs
  • The common pitfalls found in that sector
  • The tax breaks
  • The accountancy methods

Think about how you choose companies to work with.

If you needed to recruit an IT person into your business, would you choose a general recruitment company? or one specialising in IT? Most probably the IT specialist, you’d assume they knew the industry, had loads of experience and so wouldn’t be making mistakes at your expense.

Same with let’s say a digital marketing company: You’re going to choose the company who has experience and specialises in your sector.

That’s exactly why using an accountant with considerable experience and specialism in your industry is crucial.

Sure, we accountants can all crunch numbers (well most of us…) but understanding the quirks, specialisms and nuances of your industry can, as we’ve seen, potentially save you hundreds of thousands.

HMRC don’t shout about many of the reliefs, credits or breaks available to some sectors. You have to know about them to even search for them on HMRC’s website.

Then there’s the business-related perspective. Having seen and worked with many businesses in a sector a specialist accountant is able to guide and advise based on patterns they have seen before. Pitfalls, opportunities, raising investment, preparing to sell etc – the list goes on and on.

Specialist experience is priceless, and sure, maybe you think all your business requires is someone to do the books, submit the returns and pay the correct tax. But you’ll never know what you might be missing out on until you speak to a specialist.

RJF specialise in recruitment, digital agencies, tech and startups. So give us a call today and let’s make sure your business isn’t losing out to bad generalist accounting advice.