Copyright 2010 – Bruce Madole, CMCExpert Interviewers?
Does the SR&ED world have room for the expert interviewer?
Based in part on my initial readings on the subject of cognitive interviewing, Ihave concluded that there is something to be gained by the application of improvedinterviewing techniques to SR&ED practice. This leads me to consider a second question:how essential is it that the SR&ED practitioner be a scientist, expert developer, or anengineer?A quick scan of the recruitment advertising for the world of SR&ED Practitioner Firms identifies three distinct types of posting. Apart from SR&ED experience, oftenconsidered a “nice-to-have”, the Practitioner Firms tend to be seeking engineers andscientists (all kinds), tax accountants, and, less frequently, technical writers. In-houseSR&ED teams follow a similar pattern.Given that SR&ED practice divides down the middle between the “science” and“costing” sides of the work, the allocation of these skill sets is easily done: scientists dothe science bit, and the accountants ensure that the costing and taxation sides align.Technical writers seem to be more frequently employed under the auspices of smaller practitioner firms, and often assigned the role of “wordsmithing” a project description,with or without the input of an advisory “science expert” who would have pronounced onthe eligibility of the work. (Occasionally, a technical writer will be asked to write up the project in complete ignorance of the scope or nature of the costs actually being claimed – almost a guarantee of a sub-standard project description.) In general, the technical writer types are a kind of “poor relation” or second-class citizen in the world of SR&ED practice, unless they happen to possess some of the “scientist” qualifications discussed.
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