Ayming expands into Ireland to help local businesses innovate

06 June 2018 Consultancy.uk 6 min. read
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International business performance consultancy Ayming has expanded its global footprint into Ireland. The firm has opened for business in the Republic in order to better support businesses seeking to innovate and digitise, as Ireland’s economy braces for aftershocks from Brexit after the neighbouring UK leaves the EU.

With a global headcount of 1,400, Ayming previously maintained a presence in 16 countries; Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, the UK, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and USA. In 2017, the firm achieved a total turnover of €157 million, and as Ayming looks to facilitate further growth, it has focused increasingly on the research and development (R&D) scene in Western Europe.

In the UK, Ayming works with businesses to improve their financial and operational performance through innovation, tax and procurement, supply chain, working capital and operational efficiency services. The R&D team has subsequently claimed more than €200 million in R&D tax benefits for its UK clients and, and as a group, analyses over 15,000 R&D and innovation projects each year.

Recently Ayming warned that inaccessible funding could stunt the UK economy's growth in future. This is largely as technology is billed as a key component of the UK economy if the nation is to make a success of Brexit after 2019, and the same goes for the nation’s closest trading partner, Ireland, where experts anticipate that AI could boost the economy by some €50 billion.

Ayming expands into Ireland to help local businesses innovate

According to Martin Hook Ayming’s current Managing Director in the UK, the Brexit process is likely to drive further investment in R&D by both British and Irish governments moving forward. While in the UK this might be more to insulate the economy from the effects of Brexit elsewhere in the economy, however, Hook said that it presents a unique opportunity for Ireland, as it is positioned as a launch-pad into multiple markets.

Hook elaborated, “Ireland has the opportunity to innovate and thrive within the European Union and provide a lucrative stepping stone to America. The generous R&D tax credit regime which is inclusive of not just “blue sky” technology institute or university based research and development but more commercially driven activities (such as the incremental development or improvement of existing, materials, products, devices, processes, systems or services) can provide the additional reassurance to Irish companies. Companies who are working to not only safeguard themselves against any post Brexit challenges but positioning themselves to take advantage of the possible long lasting advantages of the transformed trading landscape.”

While, unlike the UK, Ireland might maintain access to the best of both worlds in this aspect, however, Hook warned that the nation’s close ties to British entities dependent on EU grants was something that required close consideration. He explained, “Attention will need to be paid to European grant funded research and development programmes, largely consisting of cutting edge “blue sky” innovation, that are inclusive of UK partners and research institutes. As a cut in European funding to UK bodies could have an adverse effect on some pioneering research and development activities.”

Irish R&D

The Irish economy is already driven by pharmaceuticals, technology and machinery – all of which depend upon R&D infrastructure to thrive – and with the growing fervor for digital innovation across all business sectors, this is likely to grow further in the near future. At 37.5%, Ireland has one of the most favourable R&D tax credit systems in Europe, and in order to assist local businesses in making the most of it, Ayming has opened its 17th global office in Dublin. The Fitzwilliam Hall locale is located in the Fitzwilliam Place complex in Dublin, an area currently undergoing a €2 million construction process to create state of the art office spaces for a multitude of businesses.

Ayming’s move into Ireland is to be supported by The British and Irish Trade Alliance (BITA) – a non-profit organisation aimed at fostering business relationships between the two nations – which has granted Ayming a platinum partnership to encourage the expansion of the consultancy’s R&D insight into Ireland. The firm is set to guide a diverse range of clients of all sizes, and from a variety of sectors, through the process of applying for and receiving tax credits.

Quote Martin Hook, Managing Director at Ayming UK

The Irish Government has outlined plans to expand its R&D expenditure to 3% of GDP – however the latest estimates from Eurostat rank Ireland 18th out of the EU28 for Gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP, at just 1.18%. Ayming’s arrival marks a key moment for Ireland’s R&D ambitions then, as the arrival of consulting firms of its kind will encourage businesses to apply for tax relief, as well as embuing them with the knowhow to do so. Ayming’s Irish wing will be headed up by Martin Hook, who will be supported by Orla O’Leary, Ayming’s expert in the region.

Speaking on the opportunity for Ayming and for Irish businesses, Martin Hook said, “We have had tremendous success working with UK businesses, and are proud to have helped many clients realise six-fold increases in the size of their claims. We’re now incredibly excited to emulate these achievements for our Irish clients.”

When asked if Irish innovators were fully realising the business capacity which R&D reports offer, Hook admitted that there had been a steady increase in both both the level of business R&D (BERD) spending within Ireland and use of the R&D tax incentives, with the cost of the tax credit reaching €553 million in 2014. However, he added that much of the potential for R&D remains untapped, as, “Data shows ‘mainly older, larger and non-Irish firms who derive financial benefit from the scheme, although it is typically Irish firms who benefit more from the repayable credit element of the scheme’. As such, and from understanding the current market landscape, there is still a need for smaller Irish business to understand the potential benefits that are available and to implement the correct approach to claiming the generous credit available.”