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Meet the Team - David Gilmour

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Nico Fell

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Meet the Team - David Gilmour

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In the latest of our Meet the Team series, I caught up with David Gilmour, one of our Senior Technical Consultants here at Momentum Group to discuss being the youngest member of the team, post-lockdown life and why being a bit of a nerd helps in his role.

How did you end up working in R&D Tax Credits?

I started at the Momentum Group back in 2015 as a technical researcher, after several years working in copywriting for various marketing agencies and also freelance technology journalism for a couple of U.K. and U.S.-based publications. I learned the ropes working closely under the company directors and since then I’ve progressed to become a Senior Technical Consultant, with my own roster of clients.

Despite being the youngest member of the team, I have been at the company the longest, so it’s been exciting to see the business evolve over the years and to always be surrounded by businesspeople and professionals of real experience.

What is the most fulfilling part of your role at Momentum?

The most fulfilling part of the job is meeting the people doing the work: the developers, the scientists, the engineers, the designers and the inventors. I have a real affinity for technologists and problem-solvers, so I love to hear their stories. People really open up during our assessments if you show an enthusiastic curiosity. Asking the right questions and showing a simple willingness to listen, that’s when it gets rewarding both in terms of acquiring what I need for the job but also personally. I am a nerd at heart, I think, so the curiosity, at least, comes quite sincerely.

It’s never hard to walk away from those conversations motivated by creativity and ingenuity when meeting innovators every week from all kinds of industries, backgrounds and disciplines.

Why would you recommend R&D Tax Credits to a potential client?

Absolutely, it’s always worth looking to see if a company is eligible. The government’s motivation in introducing R&D tax credits was to create reward and encouragement for those taking on the financial risks associated with pursuing innovation. As such, these tax credits are a really important source of additional cashflow for businesses involved in research and development activity.

Not only would I recommend companies look into R&D tax credits, but I also would recommend that they partner with a company like Momentum. Our experienced professionals include chartered accountants and technical personnel familiar with his specialist area of tax legislation, passionate about the benefits and aiming to make the process as straightforward as possible.

What is the most important piece of business advice you’ve been given?

“There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” one of my colleagues would regularly say when I was first on the job.

It’s actually part of a longer piece of writing by scientist Carl Sagan worth adding: "There are naïve questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question"

Knowing you can ask questions without fear of being embarrassed creates such a liberating culture within which to learn and grow. It permits curiosity and communication. In our line of work, dealing with so many brilliant experts across so many disciplines, it’s good to feel totally comfortable asking questions.

What do you do when you are not at work?

Outside of work I enjoy podcasts, cooking and running. In the past year especially, with the pandemic lockdowns, these things (and the odd beer) have pretty much kept me sane. I’m fortunate enough to have a few very creative friends (one of which took this header photo), into books and movies and music, who I love to spend time with.

I’ll also always have some hobby on the side, usually a little (sometimes passing) obsession. Most recently, it’s computer science and programming, which I’m really taking a deep dive on. It can be hard to find the time to commit to it these days, though, with two young children running around.

Apart from that, my wife and I bought our first house about a year ago so we always have plenty of DIY plans and home décor projects on the go. The house and our two kids keep us well occupied. Really, we’re both dreaming of our next chance to escape to Europe for a city break.

If you were able to tell your 18 year old self one thing, what would you say?

I think I’d remind my 18-year-old self to log out and switch off as much as possible. Give the people around you and every moment your full attention. As Warren Zevon put it, “enjoy every sandwich.”

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