It is a nice to have cash injection, meaning that we will look at projects differently from an R&D perspective moving forwards. This is a benefit we weren’t aware of and it was nice to get cash back as it helps our balance sheet and may allow us to employ additional technical staff who can specialise in this area and win more work in the future.
MPN UK are Consulting Structural Engineers; they prepare drawings, specifications & calculations to enable clients to construct and/or refurbish buildings. They have both commercial and private clients and the majority of their employees are engineers. MPN work with clients to develop superior, practical, safe, efficient and economical designs for all stages of building construction projects in the UK, Europe and Australia. The company was established in 1965 and in the UK since 2001.
MPN UK are often tasked with the conversion, reuse and re-purposing of existing buildings, this involves working around live tenants and the public. They made the case that many of their design solutions must be bespoke and innovative in order to meet the clients requirements, minimise disruption to the existing users of the building and maximise the commercial value of the existing structure. MPN work sustainably by avoiding demolition and rebuilding of properties. They look at different ways of analysing the building, in addition to researching and testing new methods to maximise the value of the existing building. MPN hadn’t submitted a claim before and weren’t aware the work they did qualified for the R&D scheme despite the fact that they had been carrying out this kind of innovative work for years.
The process wasn’t onerous, I had to provide some technical detail on the qualifying projects and the finance manager provided the numbers, this took around two days of her time. Carrying out this process for the first time you are more involved, whereas in future it should require less time as we will be doing this on an annual basis. For companies that do similar work to us, I would say it is good to be aware there are many different types of work you do that can be classed as R&D. The scope is quite broad in the engineering and technical sector, there are a number of bespoke systems and unusual situations which most engineers aren’t aware qualifies as R&D.
The benefits of the scheme are that it has definitely helped cash flow as currently the business’ margins are fairly tight. This financial support means they can ensure their staff are paid on a timely basis and they aren’t dependent on customers paying on time.
For MPN the result was a nice to have cash injection, meaning that they can look at projects differently from an R&D perspective moving forwards. This is a benefit they weren’t aware of and it was nice to get cash back to help their balance sheet and may allow them to employ additional technical staff that can specialise in this area and win more work in the future. They will be building this cash injection into their annual budget forecast in the future.