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Claiming R&D: Who gets more juice out of your claim?

When it’s all done and dusted, outsourcing an R&D claim will normally leave you in credit (phew) – but how much do different services charge? 

R&D reclaim services usually cost between 5-25% of the rebate. Depending on the type, you will pay this as a fixed fee or percentage. An accountant may charge between £250-5,000 +VAT whereas specialist advisors take up to 25% of the reclaim amount. 

You’ll also want to consider the speed and efficiency of the service. Some will optimise your claim for you, but at a price. 

Not keen to pay 5-25% of your reclaim amount for a service? Read on to find out how Adsum measures up to other accounting options, with our record-speed funds and no upfront fees. 

How much does it cost for an R&D tax reclaim service? 

There are three main options for preparing your R&D reclaim: Accountants, specialist advisors, or software. They come with different pros, cons, and costs and will be more or less suitable depending on your sector and reclaim size.


If you prefer to keep things old school, then your accountant might be able to file your R&D claim for you (though some end up outsourcing it themselves anyway). Your accountant knows your business and has the data from software such as Xero, so they can generate the numbers and write up descriptions of where your eligible expenses are. 

Cost: Fees typically cover their wages and are around £250-5,000 +VAT.

Pros: Suitable for traditional sectors and R&D claims under £100k.

Cons: Your accountant might not be experienced enough to maximise the reclaimed amount and, since they’re not an R&D claim expert, will usually take longer. The more complex your claim is, the more costly the process.

In that vein, be warned – any disputes from HMRC will quickly rack up on your invoice.

Specialist advisors

If you tick the following boxes; large company, complex sector, or hefty claim, then you’re best served by the experts. Consultants such as Forest Brown charge between 5% and 25% of the reclaimed amount and help you get more juice out of your claim. They are experts in the field and have strong teams with previous HMRC experience.

Cost: 5-25% of the reclaimed amount.

Pros: Best for technical sectors and large recurring claims (£100k-£10M). They’ll make sure your claim is well-prepared, maximised and repaid by HMRC in full. 

Cons: It’s expensive and most specialists won’t touch small claims. Plus there’s a better option at a fraction of the price (just keep reading!). 

Software providers

New software providers can quickly screen your eligibility and auto-calculate your reclaim amount. It’s gaining popularity because it’s fast, easy, and cost-effective, and can be done over the weekend – especially if you are close to the end of the tax year. 

Cost: Fixed price ranging between £500-1,000 +VAT. 

Pros: Good for small and medium-sized companies and claims between £10-250k. It’s easy to use and cost-effective. 

Cons: There’s no guarantee your claim is optimised for a complex business and your accountant will still need to help if HMRC sends compliance inquiries, resulting in double charges.

If only you could combine the best of all three… 

Oh, wait! You can. This is the part where we introduce ourselves, Adsum, as the best value solution for claiming your R&D credits. 


Our exclusive tech calculates, maximises and accesses your R&D credit immediately. That’s cash in the bank within 24 hours. It’s everything that specialist advisors and software can offer, but with claim optimisation and minus the 25% commission. 

With Adsum, you can use your taxes to solve your cash flow – immediately. We hit the ground running so you can keep your edge and grow faster. 

Cost: Zero upfront fees, with nothing to pay until your loan is approved (or a small deposit for underwriting on large/complex claims). Read our FAQs for more information. 

Pros: The only way to get immediate funds with all the benefits of a specialist advisory service. Perfect for startups, sole traders, and small-medium sized companies, with no maximum reclaim amount (plus it’s easy-to-use and cost-effective.)

Cons: You might not want anyone else to do your R&D claims ever again…

How long does it take for an R&D tax reclaim service? 

With accountants, specialist advisors and software, timelines are loose. 

From instructing the accountant to money in the bank, an R&D refund takes around 6 months to receive. You’ll need to be on top of lots of things, like making sure your accounting software and banking are up to date, and your payroll – including the outsourced team – is accurate. 

In some cases, claims come back within 3 months and, if HMRC picks your claim for compliance, it can extend to 12 months. While most claims are approved, HMRC is strict on ensuring you only claim tax relief on eligible expenses.  

With Adsum, you receive an advance on your reclaim in as little as 24 hours. The repayment comes directly to us from HMRC, so once you’ve filed your claim there’s nothing else you need to do – leaving you to focus on innovating. 

Want to know more? 

Adsum offers fast, frictionless tax credits financing. To find out more, contact us directly or simply start your claim today. 

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