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A real-time approach to R&D tax credits with WSP

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WSP is one of the world’s leading engineering professional services firms. Headquartered in Canada, the company comprises more than 500 offices spanning over 40 countries.

It provides consulting services to the built and natural environment across multiple sectors, including transport & infrastructure, property & buildings, planning & advisory, utility services, and industry.

WSP initially enlisted the help of Ayming in 2017 to optimise its claims process and uplift a claim that another advisor had prepared. WSP works on approximately 16,000 projects per year, so Ayming helped devise and agree on a sampling methodology with HMRC to streamline the claim delivery and minimise time spent by WSP’s engineering teams providing information to the delivery team.

In 2020 Ayming transitioned to a real-time claims process, reviewing projects throughout the year and ultimately providing WSP with better visibility of its innovation portfolio and delivering the final claim report earlier.

“Innovation is a core element of the successful delivery of projects to our clients, and much of this innovation is enabled by research and development.  Utilising the R&D incentive scheme and reinvesting the benefit it brings only helps enhance our innovation and the solutions that WSP brings to its clients.”

Miles Barnard, Chief Financial Officer, WSP

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Real-time: a new way to deliver value

WSP’s Ayming delivery team is led by Njy Rios, Director and Jamie Earl, Assistant Manager, with a supporting team of assistant managers and senior consultants, many of whom have sector-specific experience.

The Ayming delivery team has worked closely with WSP to develop a real-time sampling methodology that uses existing timesheets and project cost reports used by WSP. This minimises the time spent by WSP creating additional reports for use in preparing the R&D Tax claim.

Ayming regularly meets with WSP’s senior stakeholders throughout the claim period to discuss the sample of projects taken from their portfolio for the relevant financial year. These projects are reviewed by both Ayming’s team and WSP’s lead engineers to assess their eligibility against the BEIS guidelines.

Ayming’s real-time methodology calculates WSP’s total expenditure on qualifying activities, including a forecast to the end of the financial year when appropriate.

Real-time results

Rolling out a real-time methodology for WSP has delivered many benefits to the business in addition to the more obvious financial ones, including:

  • WSP has visibility of its qualifying R&D expenditure captured in real-time, so planning and forecasting are made more accurate
  • The time investment by WSP’s engineering teams is minimised, allowing more time to be spent undertaking further R&D
  • WSP has visibility of which of their business units invest most in qualifying R&D, allowing the resulting RDEC benefit to be reinvested in the teams undertaking the most innovative projects.

“Changing to the real-time capture of projects for the 2020 R&D claim has delivered more benefit and reinvestment than in previous years.  It facilitates better preparation for the technical discussions with Ayming as the projects are either ongoing or only recently finished. Therefore technical information is very much still fresh in the minds of the people delivering the project, leading to more efficient conversations and increasing the likelihood of identifying qualifying activities.”

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Our client


  • World leading professional services consulting firm
  • Revenue: £636.36m (2021)
  • Founded in 1885

WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services firms. Based in Canada, the company comprises more than 500 offices spanning over 40 countries.