Rainbird technology empowers Grant Thornton to automate the assessment of R&D tax claims

  • BLOG POST
  • 06/12/2018
AI-powered automation utilises valuable knowledge of the accountancy firm’s R&D specialists to speed up assessments

Rainbird has been deployed by global accounting firm Grant Thornton to automate the assessment of Research & Development (R&D) tax claims to HMRC.

Historically, Grant Thornton experts processing R&D applications endured lengthy processes to qualify cases. Case success is typically dependent on whether the project was breaking new ground, the expertise of the individuals involved and other organisational factors. Now, with the implementation of Rainbird technology, Grant Thornton is enabling the accounting firm’s clients to perform their own R&D tax assessments, which reduces both the time and cost of consulting with advisors.

Thanks to the platform’s in-built audit trail, clients can also produce evidence reports of their claims assessments to the firm, saving both parties time in the claims sign-off process.

Modelled on human expertise, the Rainbird platform is designed to replicate the human judgement process and handle uncertainty and ambiguity just like a human subject matter expert would. Rainbird’s Implementation Team has collaborated with Grant Thornton’s R&D specialists to capture their valuable expert knowledge in their respective fields, including experience from past applications and processes. This has enabled the team to identify multifarious factors and determine which tasks qualify for tax credits, which was then applied to a Rainbird model capable of automating this process.

Through the use of Rainbird technology, Grant Thornton is able to readily view the rationale and certainty factors behind each Rainbird decision, and therefore avoid processing risk-heavy claims to instead focus their efforts on claims that are more likely to be accepted by HMRC.

“Assessing R&D claims can be a convoluted undertaking as there are so many factors to consider when determining whether or not it qualifies as R&D. By using Rainbird technology we’ve been able to harness the valuable background knowledge of our R&D specialists to automate the assessment process.  It has two significant benefits:  for our clients it is a more intuitive way for data to be collected; and for our people it frees them to focus their time on value-added advice to our clients which can have most benefit and be more rewarding. Early feedback from clients has been positive and we are looking at other applications for this powerful technology.” said Karl Eddy, Partner, Grant Thornton.

Ben Taylor, Rainbird CEO, said: “It’s great to see the benefits that Grant Thornton is already gaining from implementing Rainbird technology. Not only have there been time and cost-saving benefits, but our technology is also enabling the firm to broaden the horizons of its employees, educating them on how they can harness AI to streamline previously long-winded processes.”