SR&ED is not just a provincial endeavor – companies across Canada can benefit from this lucrative tax credit program that offers over $3 billion a year to companies involved in R&D activities. At BeneFACT, we take great pride in our team of experts from our technical consultants out in the field to our IT team assisting here in the office.
For this week’s BeneFACT Company Employee Spotlight, we’re speaking with Chris McNeill, one of our Client Executives who works exclusively out west – mostly in Calgary. Read on to find out more about being a BeneFACT Client Executive and Chris’ experience with the program.
How long have you been working at BeneFACT Consulting Group?
I started in November of 2012, so about 17 months.
Could you give a brief outline of your previous experience?
I’ve covered Western Canada, in different capacities, since 1988, including my family’s Sales Agency business. I then moved on to financing start-ups. I’ve been meeting with business owners for over 25 years.
What is your favourite part about being a Client Executive at BeneFACT?
It is the ability to bring such a valuable service to companies that need it. It feels good to make a difference.
What kind of industries have you assisted with?
I’ve worked mostly in the Manufacturing niche, with a few clients in IT Services.
What’s your favourite story about how a client benefitted from the SR&ED program?
There are several, but there is one that is probably my favourite. A company had been claiming SR&ED for years – doing it internally with some guidance from their auditors. After I had the initial meeting, two BeneFACT managers joined me (via conference call) for the second meeting. We analyzed their Org Chart, found gaps in their SR&ED knowledge, and laid out a plan for improving both process and results. We won the business and have since wound up almost doubling their claim size over the previous years. Up to that point, I believed that the big accounting firms must have a good “handle” on SR&ED. I now feel that we’re the best.
What’s the hardest part about working in the SR&ED community?
It is definitely overcoming the misinformation that’s out there about the SR&ED program. I routinely encounter companies that haven’t heard of SR&ED or, worse, have been told by their accountant that they don’t qualify for the SR&ED tax program. It’s not easy to tell people that their accountant is wrong. Of course, that also represents a great opportunity for us to have a positive impact.
If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?
I’d leave the SR&ED rates where they were. It’s better to have more money in the hands of deserving claimants.
Where do you see SR&ED going in 2014, 2015, and beyond?
I really enjoyed CRA’s SR&ED Prairie Region Seminar in January. SR&ED helps Canada compete on a world scale, so the program’s here to stay. CRA will continue to try to maximize benefits to qualifying companies by improving their services, while also clamping down on “aggressive” claims. I hope to be a part of maximizing SR&ED throughout the Prairies by reaching out and helping more companies take better advantage.
Do you have any advice for those looking into applying for the SR&ED tax credit for the first time?
Thanks, Chris! We’ll have more BeneFACT Company Employee Spotlights in the coming months, so make sure you follow us on Twitter to keep up to date @sredconsulting.