Oh, hello there...

Novel was created by the team of business strategists and software engineers at Optimal Compliance

We’ve been helping SMEs for over 15 years, including providing specialist advise on R&D tax relief claims. Wait, what? You already have a dedicated team of R&D tax relief consultants? Why did you create a software product that helps businesses claim R&D tax relief? Glad you asked.

Why we did it?

Making R&D tax relief accessible no matter the size of your business and your balance sheet

There’s plenty of support for larger companies who want to access R&D tax relief, but there’s very little support for smaller companies. We wanted to level the playing field.

Over the years, we’ve helped quite a few start-ups grow into successful, multi-million pound businesses, and we wanted to provide that support to as many businesses as possible. The best way to reach more businesses is through automation, and from the idea, Novel was born. 

Novel, R&D, our story

How we did it?

It helped that Franco Manca is in the same building as our office

We have decades of experience building tax software. Our team are behind two market-leading tax software products so we know what we are doing when it comes to tax software development.


We have our own team of R&D tax relief consultants that annually completes R&D claims worth £4.1m, and whose experience is instrumental in shaping Novel. Each conversation with a client, every question and every answer has been coded into how Novel functions.



We have one goal, which is making the process of claiming R&D tax relief as jargon-free and as understandable as possible. 

Novel, R&D tax relief, software

Meet the team

Here are some minds behind Novel so you know who to blame if you find the education pieces confusing or think the layout of the software is not user friendly or the font sucks. You can also get in touch if you need advice or have questions about the claim process. 

David Hart

Partner, BSc Pure Maths, ACA CTA

Founder of Optimal Compliance in 2009, David is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser with over thirty years’ experience advising businesses of all sizes. He is also the founder of two other tax software products which are used by Top 10 accounting firms across the UK. David wants to ‘level the playing field’ by providing affordable help and support to smaller businesses through innovative software products.

Ben Crampin

Partner, BA Geography

Leading our consulting team, Ben has over ten years’ experience working with SMEs across all areas of business structuring, accounting, and tax. His aim is to replace traditional business consulting with educational software products that allow business owners to self-serve. Through automation he hopes to reach many more businesses, and to provide a better service at a much lower cost. Novel is the first of these products.

Tom Elsbury

Product Manager, Partner

Tom is the product manager of Novel and is often the first point of contact for clients wanting to claim R&D tax relief. Having worked with SMEs for over eight years, he has built up an intimate understanding of the struggles of running a business. Through Novel, he aims to reduce the confusion surrounding R&D tax relief whilst increasing accessibility to the R&D scheme for businesses of all sizes

Ellis Taylor

Chief Technology Officer, Partner, BSc Computer Science

Ellis has been building technology teams for more than five years. His expertise across all software engineering domains allows him to build out of the box enterprise level solutions using a range of technologies that are effective, secure and reliable. He aims to create platforms that revolutionise the R&D and tax sector by making it more accessible through cutting edge technology and continuous automation.

Jón Lischetzki

Partner, MPharm MSc MRPharmS

Jón initially joined the OC and Novel team as the resident pharmaceutical expert. A childhood fascination for toxicology lead him towards pharmaceutical studies, and becoming a ward-based clinical pharmacist. Although he continues to be a qualified pharmacist, he has joined our team of R&D consultants with the goal to help more SMEs in the pharmaceutical industry benefit from tax relief via Novel.

Sergej Vlasov

Lead Front End Engineer, Partner, BSc Psychology

Sergej is passionate about writing beautiful and efficient code that translates into intuitive and user-friendly software solutions for Novel and Optimal Compliance. He can often be found bickering with the UX designer over the correct shades of blue but as someone who never gives up on a problem, he is one of the most resilient and patient front end developers we’ve ever met.

Hugo Saunders

Scrum Master, Partner, MSc International Management

Hugo has been in the consulting team for over five years helping support SMEs across all industry sectors reach their potential. He believes that access to the right software can help SMEs become more resourceful and maximise a business’s potential. With a particular interest in streamlining process, Hugo has taken on the position of scrum master within the Novel team to keep things agile.

Sanela Tomlinson

UX Designer, Partner, MA Art and Cultural Management

As the resident creative, Sanela is in charge of translating all of the ideas and logic thrown around by the R&D consultants and engineers into friendly software design. She also acts as a self-proclaimed barometer of R&D tax relief jargon and is not ashamed to call out the consultants when she feels there is a more approachable way they can go about writing content for Novel to better serve SMEs.

Andrew Godley

Backend Engineer, Partner, MEng - Systems and Control Engineering

Andy has been into tech from the days of his N64 and as a keen problem solver, backend engineering is the perfect union. He loves the repeatability and simplicity the cloud provides, making deploying and testing new features for Novel a breeze.He is also interested in developer experience and wants to make life easier for all the developers (and himself) within the team.

Join us...

We are always on a look out for bright talent. Click the image to see what positions we currently are recruiting for. 

R&D tax relief software created by those that know taxes and businesses

Pioneering a new way to produce R&D tax relief claims