Thomas Westcott is proud to be a VIP sponsor of Venturefest South West, an event which will bring together businesses from across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, championing innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

As one of the South West’s largest independent accountancy practices, it is fitting that we should throw our support behind an event that is relevant to so many of our clients. We come across examples of innovation in our daily dealings with businesses, not just among the manufacturing and technology companies we advise but across all sectors – from agriculture to healthcare and tourism. As a firm, we are also embracing new technology to ensure we provide the very best service right across our specialist teams and network of 17 offices.

Embracing new technology to make it easier to do business

We know that for our clients, accountancy is a compliance function and it is our job to make it as simple as possible for them. The introduction of cloud technology is transforming the way we work with our clients. Thomas Westcott has been using web-based Cloud Accounting software for several years. There are many benefits of us being able to monitor our clients’ accounts in real time, rather than retrospectively. An issue that would, two or three years ago, have involved us asking a business to send over copies of their accounts, can now almost always be dealt with immediately – and often without any demands on our client - via the Cloud. This is, of course, much less time consuming and disruptive for our clients. Having real time access to accounts also enables us to immediately spot potential problems, before they become bigger problems so we can provide a better service.

The benefits of greater connectivity

While most of our business clients have enthusiastically embraced Cloud technology, it is not as easy for others. The introduction of high speed internet access has made a big difference to the majority of businesses in the region. Not all, however, are enjoying the benefits of greater connectivity. Some rural locations do not yet have high speed internet. Those clients are looking at ways to get around this, for example by investigating the potential of 5G technology.

How R&D relief can support innovation

As a tax specialist, I advise a number of early stage businesses and have also developed a niche in advising on R&D relief.  Available to all companies undertaking qualifying research and development activities, R&D relief can offer an enhancement of up to 130% on qualifying costs. When I started in tax nearly 20 years ago, R&D claims were just being introduced. Initially, this led me to working with established manufacturing companies, but over time this has expanded to include growing numbers of start-ups, for whom R&D relief can be a very helpful source of cash flow. 

Celebrating innovation across the South West

Sponsoring and attending Venturefest South West is a great way for Thomas Westcott to support and celebrate our clients’ many innovations.

While there are undoubtedly exciting developments coming out of the technology and manufacturing sectors, it is perhaps in the agricultural sector where we see some of the most innovative ideas in the South West. In particular, the dairy sector is undergoing great changes, including developments in robotics and new approaches to breeding, which are boosting productivity. As well as adding to efficiencies, improving milk production could also lead to environmental benefits, as herd sizes change. My colleague Peter Brown discusses some of these innovations in his recent blog

I look forward to attending to Venturefest South West, meeting some of our clients and discovering new ways that the region is responding to challenges.

Venturefest South West takes place on 17th June 2019 at Sandy Park, Exeter.

Mark Tibbert, Partner