High-performing accounting firms focus on providing high-value, specialized services tailored to their clients’ needs. If you are offering tax planning, that often means addressing industry or situational-specific solutions.   

Expanding your offerings through referral partners is a great way to add more value to your clients’ businesses while growing your revenue to service your clients at the highest level. Research & Development credits are one area of specialty that offers complexity but opportunity.  


The Biggest Single Roadblock  

A lack of technical expertise often prevents accounting firms from offering R&D tax credit services to their clients. In some ways, this is understandable. Technical expertise is critical for many businesses, and specialty tax topics are no different.  

There was a time when most CPAs and tax managers covered most topics.  

But in the age of the internet, things have changed. Becoming an expert in all things tax is no longer necessary to serve your clients well. The future of accounting also includes collaboration.  

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How Partnering with Technical Experts Makes Offering Specialty Services Easier  

Part of the concern over expanded service offerings (like R&D tax credits) lies in the belief that all expertise needs to be hired or developed in-house.  

But that is not true. This type of thinking can hold your firm back and does a disservice to your clients.  

Giving your clients the best service now involves typically focusing on your core competencies and partnering out the rest.  

Respondents to our survey cited the following as significant roadblocks to offering specialty services:  

  • Missing technical expertise in-house   
  • Not knowing how to price this type of service
  • Concern about audit protection and risks 
  • Not knowing how to identify the suitable candidates who qualify  

Of course, as your clients’ CPA, you should be able to converse on the topics. However, you do not need to be an expert.  

Instead, partnering with an external expert can allow your firm to provide specialty services without the hassle and overhead burden of doing everything yourself. An expert partner you can trust can shoulder a lot of that burden.   

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Technical Expertise and Pricing  

Specialty tax topics can be quite complex and demand much attention. The R&D tax credit is one of them. But the complexity and effort required are hard to judge upfront for the novice, which makes pricing especially hard. Many factors slightly augment the process, including the company’s industry attempting to claim the credit.  

On the other hand, someone well-versed in the topic will know how to assess both the level of opportunity for the client and the amount of effort necessary. This will help you set the best price for the service.  


Identifying Potential Clients  

R&D tax credits are available to various business sectors and industries. The only restriction is that clients are engaged in qualifying activities.   

The credit can be used by companies involved in manufacturing, software, and even agriculture.   


Reducing Audit Risks and Enforcing Audit Protection 

While it is impossible to eliminate audit risk, ensuring that all documentation is prepared correctly in advance can significantly reduce the risk of an adverse audit outcome.  

A partner specializing in R&D credits will know precisely how to prepare the documentation. And, of course, will support and protection in the event of an audit.  


What to Look for in a Technical Expert  

Deciding to partner with an expert to expand your offerings can be a big decision. While it can open many opportunities, it can also feel risky. Look for open communication and transparently with you and your clients and straightforward pricing.  

Tri-Merit offers that reliability and supports CPAs, CFOs, and owners of small-to-midsize businesses by serving as an extension of their advisory team to lessen the tax burden and increase cash flow. We work with companies to uncover the engineering, manufacturing, and product development data needed to support claiming engineering-based tax incentives such as the R&D tax credit and tax planning strategies such as cost segregation.  

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At Tri-Merit, we believe that offering R&D tax credit services and qualified activities is an excellent opportunity for CPAs to expand their portfolio and help their clients save money on taxes.  


Learn more at https://tri-merit.com/