Transitioning talent into R&D tax consultants : insights from our senior recruitment consultant !

Transitioning talent into R&D tax consultants : insights from our senior recruitment consultant !

Research and development tax reliefs play an integral role in encouraging new scientific developments, product innovation, and technological offerings globally. Last year, despite the economic turmoil brought about by the pandemic, the top 2,500 industrial players worldwide increased their R&D investment by 8.9%, showing there are no signs of slowing down. Top industries driving this growth include the automotive, ICT and health sectors, with German pharmaceutical company, BioNTech, leading the way in 2020 with the development of one of the first COVID-19 vaccines to be authorised.  

However, while R&D activity continues to soar high across the continent, the need for R&D tax consultancy continues to rise. In the UK alone, start-ups claim an average of £57,876 in R&D tax credits, with this rising to £81,000 in London. This growth has resulted in a dwindling pool of R&D tax consultants as demand for such specialists increases rapidly.   

So, what’s the solution? We have grabbed one of our busy Senior R&D tax recruitment consultants, Emily Roullier-Anderson to extract some of her unique insights and knowledge on sourcing R&D tax specialists for an ever-growing industry.  

Hey Emily! What influenced your decision to become an R&D Tax Recruitment Consultant?

With a Neuroscience background and experience in the Life Science/Pharmaceutical industry, I understood the importance of government incentives for companies investing in R&D. More importantly, in the current political climate (post-Brexit and Covid crisis), more companies than ever are looking to benefit from the innovation incentives schemes to support continuous developments.  

 The idea of sharing my enthusiasm for R&D and my passion for innovation, as well as helping indirectly support companies' R&D efforts; is what motivated me to join Leonid. Catering to such a niche industry has its challenges, however, with Leonid’s unique focus on the Innovation Incentive sector, we’re able to make a real difference to R&D consultancies across Europe.  

What transferable skills do you look for in candidates who become R&D tax consultants?

With there being such a demand for R&D tax consultants, I began working on mandates that asked me to find candidates from outside of the industry. Candidates who can join the R&D tax industry come from varied backgrounds but often share similar skills and aptitudes. These include:  

Communication skills 

  • Effective client and stakeholder management skills.   
  • Interviewing skills and the ability to extract information from subject matter experts.
  • Finding relevant information and sourcing information that is missing.

Technical skills  

  • Ability to assess the viability of a project based on a frame of reference.    
  • Ability to extract and compile technical information related to R&D and Innovation.   
  • Report writing: Compiling complex technical information into a structured narrative; presenting the compliance with legislative guidelines to be eligible for the R&D incentive'.  

Personal skills 

  • Curiosity and willingness to learn
  • Strong organisation skills   
  • Perseverant    
  • Strong attention to details   
  • Interest to broaden technical skills and become financially literate; ordinarily in the case of SME claims also taking responsibility for financial computation. 

What candidate profiles are most suited to becoming an R&D tax consultant?

After finding what qualities are most effective for candidates that become R&D tax consultants, Leonid’s extensive research and talent sourcing methods have found those transferable skills with the following profiles: 


 They have a good understanding of the research environment and the importance of funding. These kinds of candidates always want to learn new things and are highly curious people. They also have high-quality technical writing skills. There often comes a time when PhDs want to get out of the lab, and this is when they are great candidates!   

Technical Consultants 

Technical consultancy is another field where we find great R&D tax consultants. As a civil engineer, for instance, it can make sense to move to an engineering consultancy. These candidates have developed strong transferable skills, including knowing how to manage and develop a technical project, in addition to knowing how to deal with clients. When they like innovation, want to be less operational, have a broader exposure and are more business-oriented, they make excellent candidates - in which the team get excited about working with these kinds of people.  


Pre-sales consultants usually have both a technical background and excellent interpersonal and sales skills. When they want more technical challenges and less direct sales exposure, they are often open to becoming an R&D tax consultant.

Technical journalists/Technical writers

Technical journalists and technical writers have outstanding writing skills and are used to interviewing people and finding out specific information. It is this experience that sets them up to be highly effective consultants. These candidates can deliver extensive value; seeking out the most complex information from technology innovators and translating this into the relevant context needed to make an effective and accurate claim.  

Employee bias aside, why would you recommend working with Leonid as an R&D Tax Consultant Recruiter? 

At Leonid – as R&D tax specialist recruitment consultants - we are one of the few specialist recruitment businesses that work interpersonally with R&D Tax Consultancies and candidates to match up the best talent there is. Leonid consultants actively form relationships with high-quality candidates that are often hidden from the market, providing extensive opportunities for these candidates to move into an industry so full of potential.  

The Leonid team pride ourselves on forming strong relationships with both our clients and candidates, focusing not only on the knowledge and experience needed to join this niche industry, but the individual quirks and soft skills of every person, to create a long-term match with the culture of our client's organisation. 

If you want to discuss your transition to R&D Tax or if you are looking for R&D Tax candidates, please feel free to reach out!