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About: DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards recognise impactful, wide-ranging examples of design that have had a tangible and measurable impact upon business success.

Judged by business leaders and entered jointly by client and designer, the Awards draw focus onto design’s strategic and commercial value to business. They celebrate what’s possible when the best brains from design and business come together in true partnership and provide powerful evidence that design thinking combined with business acuity can bring about the right conditions for business transformation to occur.

View the 2018 winners at the Design Effectiveness Awards website.

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Main Content

cashNick, tell us a little about the innovation that you’re doing at Uniform.

We have an R&D programme that falls into two parts. The first is every day R&D that involves client work. With each client project, we look at how we can achieve results quicker, produce something better, or develop something smarter. We look at how we can innovate to solve our clients problems.

Secondly, we have a more formal and long-term R&D innovation programme, run by a specific team that explores two to three big tech driven themes per year, or longer if necessary. Right now we’re focused on AI, we’re looking at prototype projects, and some immersive AR and VR product development that sits in-between R&D and client work.

As a small business, how have you been able to fund this kind of work?

We made a conscious financial and business decision to forward fund our R&D and innovation programme as an investment about six years ago. We wanted to be a front-runner and externally it sent a strong message and cemented our position as innovators. Internally, the team know it’s not a luxury, while the innovation department sits outside our day-to-day services, their work and influence bleeds into client work every day.

The establishment of our R&D / innovation department has meant that the work being produced as a part of that is fully eligible for R&D tax credits, so there is an element of continuous self-funding as we reinvest in innovation.

Has claiming changed your approach to innovation (and risk)? 

In a way claiming de-risks the innovation work. It’s easier to launch into a project that might be deemed risky or unusual if we know we’ll receive a percentage of that spend back. It’s much easier to justify any spend or cost of investing in innovation work.

Has it changed the culture of your business at all? 

Well, we’re about to re-launch our website and re-communicate our offer more clearly, with R&D at the core. Innovation as a commercially significant part of our business is increasingly important, and with a focus on design thinking, sprints, innovation workshops – lots of this stems from the culture of R&D from within the business and the ability to continue practising this – made easier with the success we’ve had through claiming R&D tax credits and the opportunities this has opened for further innovation.

How easy is the process, and how much time does it take, and what would your advice be to design companies cashthinking about making an R&D tax credit claim, but not sure if it’s for them?

Explore the option – even if you’re sceptical. We were claiming on our own, with support from our accountants, and while that was successful, we didn’t realise until we started working with ForrestBrown that we were eligible to claim so much more. ForrestBrown are highly competent, they know the rules, what you can and can’t do. Working with them has been quite eye opening for us, in terms of understanding what were eligible costs – in a way that is robust and defensible. ForrestBrown has almost doubled what we were already receiving from our own claim, they helped us to interpret the process and the rules, and shaved about a two thirds off the time it took us to claim on our own.

We explored the market and chose ForrestBrown from three different specialists, purely on the basis that we felt ForrestBrown understood the design industry the best. They’re very strong in digital and in their understanding of design and innovation.

What are R&D tax credits worth?

How much R&D tax credits are worth depends on how much money you have spent on qualifying R&D activity. You can include the following costs in your claim: staff, subcontractors, materials, and consumables (such as heat, light and power).

SMEs are able to recoup up to 33p for every pound spent on qualifying expenditure using the SME R&D tax credit scheme. This means if you have qualifying costs of £500,000, you could receive a benefit worth £166,750.

How to claim

As Nick mentions, it’s best to work with true experts in this specialist area when submitting a claim. They will optimize the value of your claim. This means including everything that is valid, whilst also ensuring it can be robustly backed up should HMRC challenge it.

We can arrange for ForrestBrown’s team of chartered tax advisers – complemented by industry experts and former HMRC R&D unit tax inspectors – to handle your claim. They will gather information from the relevant people in your business, prepare all the paperwork and liaise with HMRC on your behalf.

For a free eligibility assessment or review of a claim you have already submitted, get in touch with the ForrestBrown team on 0117 926 9022 or hello@forrestbrown.co.uk and quote the code DBA.

About: ForrestBrown

ForrestBrown is an award-winning tax consultancy specialising in research and development (R&D) tax credits. Their team of chartered tax advisers help innovative businesses grow. This level of specialism means their chartered tax advisers have a deep understanding of the R&D tax legislation and its application to businesses throughout the UK, and creative businesses in particular. 

W: https://forrestbrown.co.uk/

Image credit | Uniform

jason-leung-unsplash

DBA Roundup


A roundup of need-to-knows, industry expertise, and exclusive resources, along with details of the direct support the DBA can provide to your design business.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
beazy-unsplash

Inside the judging room


Celebrating two years chairing the Design Effectiveness Awards judging panel, Clive Grinyer takes a look behind the judging process. Read on for insight to help you grab the judges' attention, prepare your submissions and enter by 27 November 2020.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
image-1

The DBA interviews Diageo’s Jeremy Lindley


Delve into the business of design with Diageo's Global Design Director Jeremy Lindley, as he discusses the company's approach to design effectiveness in this interview with the DBA.

28/09/2020


News


Read more >>
dba-dea-judges-at-work

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards: Take a look inside the judging


Take a look at the people who determine who takes home a Bronze, Silver or Gold DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. Nowhere is the quality and effectiveness of the design industry’s offer more evident than across the case studies recognised in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

09/09/2020


News


Read more >> >>
ian-schneider-tammbr4okv4-unsplash-1

DBA member catch-ups: a glimpse into the moments that shape our week


Amongst the idea-churning, problem-solving and lively discussions, agency leaders use our regular member catch-ups to share a little creative inspiration. Take a glimpse into some of the moments that have shaped past weeks within the design industry through 2020.

26/08/2020


News


Read more >>
The Arçelik Experience Centre, Fitch

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: Open for entries


The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021 is now open for entries. Download your entry pack to evidence your success and demonstrate the results that your design delivers.

20/07/2020


News


Read more >>
maddi-bazzocco_unsplash

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021: A note on COVID-19 as an influencing factor on your entry


Read the latest update to entry rules for the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2021.

17/07/2020


News


Read more >>
training-workshops-2-22

DBA community: we are listening


A message from the DBA team.

11/06/2020


News


Read more >>
lina-silivanova-6ykbeudk7rm-unsplash-2

Thoughts and insight from DBA CEO during COVID-19


Coronavirus resource: Our weekly roundups include a message from DBA Chief Executive, Deborah Dawton. If you have missed any of her key takeaways or pointers from previous weeks, watch them here.

08/06/2020


News


Read more >>
image-4

Guinness Hero Harps wins Grand Prix


Guinness restored its impact at bar with the disruptive new Hero Harp fount, which has won Diageo, Bompas & Parr, Design Bridge and Dolmen the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix.

03/06/2020


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Read more >>
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