Award-winning accountancy firm Infinity Partnership has made claims of more than GBP 5 million on behalf of its clients since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.
Aberdeen-based Infinity has successfully claimed more than GBP 2 million in government grants and loans, while the rest is made up of fast-tracked research and development tax relief payouts.
On behalf of clients it has secured GBP 1 million through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough), GBP 650,000 in the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, GBP 400,000 in Scottish Government grants and GBP 100,000 through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
During this period, the firm has also successfully secured GBP 3 million in research and development tax credit claims, an HMRC scheme that was available to innovative firms prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 2,200 Infinity clients have made some form of a claim. They operate in a variety of sectors including energy, manufacturing, service industries, hospitality and leisure, and tourism.
Infinity, a five-time winner at the British Accountancy Awards, has also advised clients on how to utilise loan and grant support, with a number of companies using the cash to pivot to add new services and markets.
More broadly, Infinity has been giving feedback to ACCA – a global professional body for accountants – which in turn has reported its findings to the UK government and the British Business Bank on what is working and what could be done better.
Simon Cowie, managing partner at Infinity Partnership, says, “Infinity has proactively helped clients to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and ensure business continuity. The grants and loans have put money back into the economy quickly. For the R&D tax relief, we accelerated claims to ensure clients received money due to them as quickly as possible.”
“The furlough scheme has saved a huge amount of jobs. Looking at our own clients, I believe there is a good chance most of these jobs will be protected. Our clients in the energy and manufacturing sectors are not losing work – it is more a case of projects being put on hold. China and Europe shutting down had a huge impact from a sales point of view and in terms of the supply of raw materials produced in those regions, but subject to those borders re-opening I would expect these projects to return,” he continues.
“We are also helping clients utilise funds from the bounce back loans and are advising them on diversification. For example, a large print management company is planning to offer a smaller, yet still high-quality print solution for use in home offices – something they would not have done before COVID-19. Another has invested in webcams fixed to glasses which they are sending overseas to allow them to guide their customers in repairing essential machinery to allow oil and gas production to continue,” adds Cowie.
Infinity adapted its website to focus on COVID-19 updates for clients within 36 hours of lockdown, and communication with clients and other organisations has been a key consideration during the pandemic.
Greg Houston, associate director at Infinity Partnership, says, “Government support has been extremely beneficial under the circumstances. It has saved jobs and ensured the economy has kept going. We have been working closely with ACCA by engaging with senior advisors to pass on information from clients and our own experiences of the funding options.”
“In turn, ACCA is updating the government and the British Business Bank. One area which may need further support is the tourism and hospitality sector, which has been dramatically affected and may take time to recover. We have put forward our thoughts on this to ACCA. There’s long way to go yet and we are constantly working with clients to support them at this challenging time. It’s been a real team effort by our staff,” says Houston.
Earlier this year, Simon won Accountancy Professional of the Year at the 2020 IRIS Customer Awards. That capped a remarkable double after Greg won the same award the previous time the event was held. The Infinity team also collected the 2020 IRIS Client Excellence Firm of the Year Award. The business was also shortlisted at the 2020 Tolley’s Taxation Awards. Those achievements followed on from Infinity winning at the British Accountancy Awards in London for the fifth year in a row in September 2019.
Infinity, which has a UK-wide base of 3,000 clients, is recognised for its accountancy, tax, mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance expertise.
It has a staff of 26 and doubled the size of its office with a move to a prestigious stand-alone building in Carden Place in 2018. Infinity was established in 2011. In 2019, Infinity identified GBP 48.5 million of research and development costs for clients in total.