Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 6-3 : Consultants and their prices

I like to see some very old TV shows like “The Waltons”. Some might remember this 70th TV show with “Good Night John Boy” in the end. What I really like is that these simply and short episodes have a story to tell, simple to understand and people can see the link to their own reality. Even today a lot of things have a valid point, especially when it comes to integrity of people. When I look at all the stories people telling me about their SkatteFUNN experience with consultants, you can make an own TV show out of it. It has all parts which is needed for a good movie, like greed, love, hate, loyalty, trust, lawyers, police, parties and money.  Sometimes it sounds more like Sergio Leone’s “the good, the bad and the ugly” with Clint Eastwood from 1966 or Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” with Michael Douglas.

When remembering “The Waltons” I was always impressed what level of integrity was shown by John Walton, Sr and his clear way of doing things in having principles.

Integrity is important when it comes to the relation between the client and the consultant. And we all know, when the game is about money, there is always someone who tries to find his edge, his advantage to earn better money. There is nothing bad with that, but at some stage, people react very negative when it goes a bit over the line.

This has created quite some negative reputation in the SkatteFUNN world when it comes down to consultants and that’s why I write this blog as I got “Why do you do this” questions several times now. I still believe that there is a clear need for business consultants and also a broad market demand for supporting the SkatteFUNN application. But I also believe that the time of cowboy business from the Wild West with Las Vegas Business models and unrestrained money making should be over.That’s why I try to put some light into it so people have a better understanding and can do the decision themselves if they need help or not and if yes with whom and for what conditions and prices. And I am a very strong believer in that people should have the choice. Information is the basis for every decision, so let’s move on after my disclaimer ….

It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive. It is not meant to be totally complete, comprehensive guide, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the websites of Research Council of Norway which is available in English under or call them directly.

When it comes down to consulting and their prices, one major argument I always hear is risk, that’s why I believe we should look into this a bit more since it is one major or maybe THE major criteria.


There is always risk in doing business, also in the SkatteFUNN services business. From a consultant point of view there are several risk factors to look at.

First there is the pre-sales risk.  Means talking to potential clients, meeting them, quotation work and eventually sign the contract or not. This is a standard risk, which you can find in any business. So nothing special with that, only that it has to be calculated into the final price somehow.

The first major risk is the level of rejection for the application. The Research Council of Norway self has published numbers that the success level for 2014 was over 81% for all applications. This is already quite high. Nevertheless I believe that a serious consultancy must have a success rate close to 100%. Why ?

For a professional and serious SkatteFUNN consultant, it shouldn’t be that difficult to bring the project over threshold that it gets approved, when it is eligible to be a SkatteFUNN project.  SkatteFUNN is not a competition it is a “right to get”.  And when the consultant is serious, he also says “NO” sometimes. Because when he says “YES” to every project, he will automatically sink his hit rate by trying projects which are not fitting that well. As you might remember that I am not really a supporter of “what is not fitting, we make it fit”. “Stop” is sometimes the better alternative also for the client.

In any case 81% or 100% this can be seen as marginal or – close to zero – risk of losing the SkatteFUNN project and will allow cross financing with other projects in case of loss from a consultant point of view. Means when one project gets rejected, the next 8-9 will be approved most likely. So when people talk to you with customer scaring scenarios like “Boooh, this is complicated and risky”, think about how serious this is.

There is no reason to use a consultant for the danger of getting the SkatteFUNN application rejected.

Another risk or THE MAJOR RISK in terms of SkatteFUNN is related to the “no cure no pay” business model when the remuneration is a percentage of the money received back from SkatteFUNN. In simple words, your SkatteFUNN consultant gives you a supplier credit and does not know when and how much he gets for the job, so he puts an interest rate on top. Interest rate is always a function of risk. How this looks like and how much interest rate they take, you will see in my next blog. Plenty of variations related to this does not really provide a better understanding. So I hope you have enjoyed my today’s writing and never forget to press LIKE and share it with others.

We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow Scaberia on LinkedIN.

Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 6-2 : Consultants and their prices

It is very interesting when people write to me about Live, Universe, everything and SkatteFUNN. So people tell me their “no cure no pay” SkatteFUNN experiences: the way they see it, the invoices they have received, how angry they have been after finding out how easy it is to do it yourself, and how much they have paid to their SkatteFUNN ex-consultants. As a result of my last post, I can see that even more SkatteFUNN consultants being active in marketing – this is close to perfect.  Carry on consultants – the market is waiting for you and Choice is good. More Choice even better !

One reader finished his email about SkatteFUNN like …

“… finally I have found on the web that there has been no UFO observations in Drammen. Does this mean that there is intelligent life in space ? “

I guess, this must be some kind of insider joke🙂

So welcome back for the pricing discussion and let’s move on after my disclaimer ….

It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive. It is not meant to be totally complete, comprehensive guide, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the websites of Research Council of Norway which is available in English under or call them directly.

So I guess, you have a sound of an understanding about the costs parameters as one factor by providing these services. Getting customers, deliver services and keep them is not coming for free; it has a price. Question is how much this “not for free” means. So let’s look into the next point.

The effort

From a consultant point of view there are different points to look at when it comes to the effort of making the SkatteFUNN job like:

  • Is it a new customer or a returning customer? The effort for a new customer might be a bit higher because of having first meetings, contract negotiations, answering questions and all the rest.
  • Defining and setting up the R&D project. Please note. It is a major difference if you set up the entire R&D plan and strategy for the company or just filling out the application. Some people told me that they have spent on the phone the whole day with “their” consultant. Here they have explained the project and what it is all about. Finally they were totally surprised that this was exactly written in the application and what they have paid for it.
  • And yes, when you fill out some dedicated forms and give it to your consultant, Crtl-C and Crtl-V might happen as some readers have mentioned. Here it’s just about helping to fill out the application, do some cross reading and sent the application in and the invoice out. But you cannot really compare the jobs, it has to be seen on individual level and I am always against to compare apples with peaches.
  • Keep in mind that you get SkatteFUNN money back on your real and documented costs, so you do not have to plan that much in detail when it should just hold for the application. So a difference of up to +-30% might be no problem I guess. If its more, I would simple speak to the Research Counsil and ask for advice. My experience with them is that they are very helpful, so my recommendation is to use this help in case of doubt with your application. This makes everything pretty simply actually.

The effort in writing a SkatteFUNN application is one of the first important parameters to compare price models. So let’s put the hand to the heart, forget “bullshitbingo” and customer scaring scenarios for a moment and estimate the effort for a SkatteFUNN application from the initial planning to deliver the report (without accounting and revisor services). Keep in mind we are talking about professionals, doing this most of their time.

  • There is one company who claims they can deliver high quality SkatteFUNN application for as less as 10 hours (they actually claim less, but let’s give them some hours for handling) and a fix price of 35K NOK with money-back guarantee.
  • I believe and what I have seen so far is that most applications can be done in a range below 40 hours (very good estimated, around less than 1 week in total). Sometimes I have seen that clients have to do some more thinking and discussing, which might require a bit more time. That’s why you must adapt the numbers to your individual project using your own calculator. AND you always have to be very concrete in what tasks are involved in doing the SkatteFUNN application. This might lead to some sort of irritation regarding price comparison sometimes.
  • These effort calculations are not that important when you pay i.e. per hour or have a fixed price based on effort, means the amount of hours the consultant has worked. I will come back to this in my next posts.

So let’s take these two numbers for estimating the range of final work to get a feeling for the time used:

T1 = 10 hours

T2 = 40 hours

Take your last consultant SkatteFUNN invoice and I can hear some people taking a deep breath now ….

When you i.e. have paid 200.000 NOK on “no cure no pay” basis to your consultant, the hourly rate range might have been between:

100.000 NOK / T1  = 20.000 NOK per hour

100.000 NOK / T2 =   5.000 NOK per hour

Maybe a bit more or less, it is just an indication how to look at things, therefore take your calculator and do the calculations for your own individual project. Keep in mind that in using “no cure no pay” there is a certain level of risk and payment delays for the consultant involved, that’s why this hourly rate will always be a bit higher. How much “a bit” means I will describe in my next post.

I guess, I should wait now – until my next post about risk and price models.

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We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow Scaberia on LinkedIN.


Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 6-1 : Consultants and their prices

I always try to find a good start to warm up with my respected readers and come to the topic step for step. Sorry that it took some time since my last post, but I was very busy with so many other things and meeting clients these days. First of all I would like to thank you – my global readers  – for all the nice feedback I have received. I even received a shout from the other site of the Atlantic from the Dominican Republic : “Muy buena la publicación!“, so I can only shout back right over the ocean :

Viva la SkatteFUNN revolución”.

But let’s move on after my little disclaimer. It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive. It is not meant to be totally complete, comprehensive guide, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the websites of Research Council of Norway which is available in English under or call them directly.

Originally, I wanted to write about something else today, but during the Subsea Valley Conference 2016, I had a lot of very good discussions and received plenty of feedback – people were relaxed and had time to talk!.  I started to rethink and reviewed emails and comments I have received which involving a lot of, let’s say “emotional press”.  I can clearly see the core problem, now:

The name of the disease is “no cure no pay”.

It puts politicians into defence mode and triggers pure actionism; it degrades the reputation of the SkatteFUNN instrument; and nice people, who only want to be a resource to companies, will be called with animal names which I do not want to repeat here. Why, because one business model puts everything into Casino mode and “rien ne va plus”.

At the Subsea Valley Conference, I was pointed by a friend to an article in Dagens Næringsliv about Monica Mæland who is Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry. Again and again journalists publishing articles about politicians complaining that consultants get so much money and something must be done against it.

In my eyes, the principle problem of “totally overpaid” consultants can be solved with two actions:

First, all involved parties must accept one thing. The decision in making an application self or outsource the job is a clear individual business decision. Stop this general consultant bashing. They only fulfil a market demand and should be seen as a resource to companies.

Let’s take Altinn, Norway’s online portal for electronic dialog between trader and the public sector, as an example. When I hear Monica Mæland proudly stating at NHO’s arrangement Småtinget 2015 that they have reduced the amount of time needed at Altinn, I can only applause. It is correct that several processes were significantly reduced and in some areas it takes now only minutes to go through the process. But before this, I need 5 hours to understand what I need to do (because I do not do it every day); consequently, I call my accountant and ask him to do the job for me.

The problem is not that SkatteFUNN consultants are too expensive, the problem is that a lot of people are not aware of what “no cure no pay” for SkatteFUNN application services really means, until the invoice comes. Therefore, I will put some extra effort to explain this a bit deeper in my next posts.

The medicine is choice!

Second, simple set up a website like “”, give people a transparent choice and promote this site officially like ….. OK, here is a job to do. If you do not have enough resources, here is a list of companies you can speak to, but note it is on your own risk. Everything that is needed is a name, a telephone number, a website address, the provided services and as an option the offered business model.  Serious consultants will always be open on the way they work and how they charge. We will see two things as a kind of self-regulation. On one side, it will lift up the consultants which do not have the resources to call everybody around to reach a broader audience. On the other site, we will see that consultant companies which are nothing else than a call centre with some dedicated help to fill out SkatteFUNN applications, will get serious competition. Means when a company is not happy with its SkatteFUNN services provider and the price model, it can easily call the next one as simply as that. The result will be like – when someone is offering something which the market is not accepting, they will be very soon in the private bathroom whale farming business.

Dear Monika, I am more than happy to come by for a coffee and discuss how this can be optimized. In fact, I run several times into you now, but I am always too shy to talk to a Minister directly J.  I have already some innovative ideas in how to make an application under 5 minutes, which I will explain in some posts from now. But it does not matter how simple the SkatteFUNN application process is, there will be always a market demand for help. We should start to accept this. A solution starts here, not more not less.

Anyhow, let’s move on with my original thoughts about SkatteFUNN.

I should continue this blog with a big disappointment for some of my respected readers. I DO NOT KNOW where to get hold of some living mammoths to start a mammoth riding business in Drammen downtown as a business alternative for SkatteFUNN application services; I am very sorry for this.  Orca watching in the Drammensfjord might be a good alternative and (maybe) they will film the next “Free Willy 4” in the region.

As stated in my last blog, defining, making, sending in, handling and reporting a SkatteFUNN application and project is a job and a process to do. It is not very complicated, it is in fact very simple, nevertheless there might be whatever reasons why you do not want to do it self, so you will “buy in” the services that someone is doing the job for you. I can fully understand when small companies telling me, we would like to do it self, but we simply do not have the resources – fair enough and business first.

After my experience you can split the main tasks into two groups:

  • Project development and planning, application writing and sending it in, making the reports and sent the templates in
  • Accounting and Revisor (these are different activities and costs and not part of my calculations)

So let’s talk about prices for outsourcing the SkatteFUNN application to SkatteFUNN services provider also called “consultants”. But before this, please note the following. GO and BUY your own calculator and repeat/adapt the numbers to your project yourself. A very smart lady has shown that I have problems with math and do not know the difference between 30000 and 60000 eggs (ref. Blog No 4). SO DO IT YOURSELF!

Due to the simplicity of the work to be done for a SkatteFUNN project. I believe it is possible to parametrize the effort, cost and price so you are able to estimate where you stand with your SkatteFUNN services provider and its pricing and if it’s time to do some action.

To get a good understanding of different price models and what is reasonable, we should have a look at and compare parameters like costs, effort, risk, and prices from a consultant point of view. I believe this is important for everybody who is buying-in the service. When I hear sometimes from people, that they have started to provide SkatteFUNN application services because their customers are willing to pay such high prices, I believe a serious price model discussion is overdue. Keep in mind this is tax money giving from the tax payer to companies to increase their R&D activities, be more innovative, competitive and create jobs. I am still waiting for the next newspaper story that some SkatteFUNN consultants took private flights to Las Vegas over the weekend and state “at least the hamburger was free of charge during the flight”. Anyhow, let’s have a look at the points.

The costs

Every active business has costs, this counts for SkatteFUNN services provider as well as for all other businesses. Nevertheless in the SkatteFUNN world you need to look at how the (your) consultant has structured the business and deliveries. In fact, this is quite different. This can vary in different points like:

  • Standard costs like IT, telephone, office, consumables.
  • TAX payment in Norway (I have seen some foreign consultants, not taxing in Norway)
  • Standard sales costs like talking or travelling to the client, perform meetings, support questions
  • Delivery costs (hours to work on the project) like executing the contract with agreed deliverables
  • Personal costs like labour costs, staff training or any kind of incentives
  • Weekend trips, exclusive social events, presents to employees, extraordinary incentives
  • Limousine park

Business costs are nothing bad, they are part of the business game, but always keep in mind, someone has to pay for it.  So now let’s look at the SkatteFUNN world. Here you find an amazing range.

On one side, you will find a “one or two person consultant” company with a dedicated loyal customer portfolio and realistic costs and what I have seen so far, most have a pretty fair business model towards their clients or give them choice what’s best value for price.  They are highly depend on to keep their clients happy so they remain happy, returning and loyal clients. Thumbs up!

When you move on  to the other side of the range, you will find SkatteFUNN services provider which are  nothing else than a Call Centre with “møtebooker” (translation: meeting bookers), dedicated Sales Force driving around in nice cars and few experts for delivery or in other words a Call Centre with dedicated help to fill out SkatteFUNN application. Thumbs up or down, please share your opinion with me?

Since I do not believe that a SkatteFUNN application is Rocket Science, the question I want to raise is what high skilled expertise is really needed to fill out a SkatteFUNN application? Get me right, there is nothing bad with it, but again someone has to pay for it, for the Call Centre, the Sales force, their incentives and the persons delivering the application/reporting (and also their incentives) and the weekend trips. Normally I would say, who cares, their business, their way of doing, let the market decide, but here we talk about tax money. On larger scale this money might be missing when building new kindergarten, hospitals, streets or creating jobs. Especially creating jobs due to innovation activities might be a topic these days.

OBS, I already wrote quite a lot this time. So I think I will stop here and shift the rest to the next post.  Especially the price discussion related to ‘no cure no pay” should be done properly.  So, I hope you have enjoyed my today’s writing and never forget to press LIKE and share it with others.  People need to get aware of this topic.

We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow Scaberia on LinkedIN.

Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 5 : The role of consultants


When I go back to the days of my childhood, I will always remember Ernie and Lefty the Salesman from SESAME STREET.

It went like:

Lefty : Hey, bud !

Ernie (shouts) : Who, me ?

Lefty : Shuuuuuuuuuuesss

Ernie (whispers) : Who, me ?

Lefty : Riiiiiiggght. How would ya like to buy  …

Most people can remember what happens next when Lefty tried to sell “an invisible ice cone”, “an empty box” or “air in the bottle” to Ernie and when Ernie paid his new “invisible ice cone” with “invisible money”.  Have a look at YouTube, all videos are available. Lefty the Salesman, his “riiiiiiggght” is legend. Good old memories …

When I did some research for this blog about SkatteFUNN consultants and looked around in the net, spoke to people to get their opinion, it was interesting to see the level of emotional polarization lying in this topic. Many I have spoken with have a picture of a SkatteFUNN consultants and their greedy behavior similar to Lefty. Therefore, my question has been “why so” and “where is the catch”. So, I did some more research and looked around what is available.

The range I found was from very serious SkatteFUNN services offers up to some people which simply have lost their moral compass for a longer while. You will find similarities when you look back to the Klondike or Californian gold rush where people have seen gold at every corner. I even found a SkatteFUNN services provider, which is called “gudegave” (translation: godsend). Now, we even have SkatteFUNN consultants with a “god” complex in Norway. For the case that their clients have a problem with this attitude, training courses for “telepathy with vegetables”, “mammoth riding through Drammen downtown” or “whale farming in private bathrooms” might be valid business alternatives. In any case, I can recommend free underwater feet massage for unhappy clients as a new business service.

But as always a short disclaimer in the beginning. It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive.  It is not meant to be totally complete, comprehensive guide, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the websites of Research Council of Norway (RCN) which is available in English under or call them directly.

Here’s the good news. Since I have started my blog, I have found a broad range of different SkatteFUNN provider, different business models and pricing. I even found one company providing a full blown SkatteFUNN service for as low as 35.000 NOK (plus VAT) including money return in case of rejection. I cannot say very much about their service and quality, since I do not know them,  but I think it is very positive that people have the choice and different alternatives for their needs, both in services, their provider and pricing.

When you speak to people about the consultant question you always hear two opposite positions:

  • Do it yourself, it’s so easy
  • SkatteFUNN is so difficult; you need a consultant (Boooh!)

I also found the statement “do not use SkatteFunn consultants (Booooh !) and keep the money, because consultants are so expensive”. Even I believe that SkatteFUNN is a lot but not really Rocket Science, this is an unqualified statement and I disagree totally. Why?

First of all, the use of a SkatteFUNN services consultant is a “make” or “buy” decision or in other words “make it self” or “buy in” the service; and this is a clear individual business decision.

Independent what I think is right or not it is a business decision and I do not believe that any outsider should impact on this in giving good advices to others on such general level. It’s their decision, their risk and their business. It would have been more correct in stating “OK, this is SkatteFUNN, someone has to do the job, here is what it takes, what you need to do and here are the different options …”

In addition I can also argue that there is a third alternative, using a consultant is cheaper than doing it self, because writing an own application is not coming for free. Someone has to do the work, this or that way. Of course this question is very related to the underlying price model and cash flow, so let’s put this into my next blog and I will look into the “make” or ”buy” decision now.

Maybe I should start with my definition of a consultant. For me a consultant is someone who provides temporary expertise to a business with his way of doing things, experience and network. It might also be a temporary resource in peak times or for solving problems very efficient. In return the consultant gets numerated in a reasonable way. It is between the two parties to define what is reasonable. Since I am a Management Consultant myself, I fundamentally believe that a good and professional consultant is a combination of Ben Cartwright (integrity), Derrick (integrity, professionalism) and “GrasshopperKwai Chang Caine (always remain calm, even when working under fire).  Success is based on hard work, not more not less.

When people ask me about if they shall use a SkatteFUNN consultant or not, I always use the example of an accountant.  I can do my business accounting self, been through the processes (and we all know Altinn) and open tax questions and update myself regularly. Nevertheless, first thing I do is signing up with a professional accountant (and my one is really good) and I am happy to pay him. Why ?

I have made a “make it” or “buy” decision, means “Make it self” or “Buy in” about the accounting service for my business. So I know what it takes to do it self, can estimate what it costs to do it self and compare it with the prices out there. A professional account will always be faster than I ever will be, so in this case it was clear a business decision that I will use a consultant and free up my time to concentrate on the business. Focusing is very important in today’s business challenges.

In the SkatteFUNN world you might also consider other questions like the setup of your project, means “Do you need just someone who is translating your R&D project plans into SkatteFUNN terms and only fill out the application before sending it in?“ or “Do you need someone who is planning and setting up the entire R&D project in total before sending in the application ?”. These are two different approaches, services and pricing actually. It has to been seen on individual level.

In any case, the risk of being rejected by RCN is very limited and should be no argument at all for using a consultant, keep this always in mind. Again, SkatteFUNN is not a competition, it is a tax credit where you have to bring the application quality over a certain level, that’s all. It will be you or someone who is helping you, both is not coming for free. That’s why I like the business offering from a small company from Bryne very much. First they educate their clients with what it takes to set up own R&D projects and how to make the SkatteFUNN application self and in case their clients want to do it self, fine. If they need help, here we are on a fixed price plus success fee basis. This is a very good example of a win2win business model and I am pretty sure they will build up a longer list of loyal and returning clients. No need for “mammoth riding through Bryne downtown”  as a business alternative for tourists.

Practically that’s all which comes in my mind regarding the “role of consultants” since it is not that difficult actually. In my next post I will look at and compare the different pricing models for SkatteFUNN consultants before I look into the E24 articles about SkatteFUNN.

And never forget to press “LIKE” and share it with other🙂

We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow Scaberia on LinkedIN.

Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 4 : The example

I have forgotten that my Network on LinkedIN is global. Thus, as a response to my last post, I have received the first “Great post” from Israel, followed by California, Germany, US, Drammen, Oslo and Singapore in the morning.  In addition, Google has discovered my blog under and traffic went up significantly. In the stats, you can see a tight race between Denmark and Norway (with Buskerud always in the lead in being the first one) as the top two readers of the blog. Cool,  thank you.

I did some thinking about writing a good example to show some of the points to look at. This example is purely meant for explanation purposes and to show how easy it is to join the SkatteFUNN party.

Again, I would like to start with a little disclaimer. It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive.  It is not meant to be totally complete, comprehensive guide, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the websites of Research Council of Norway which is available in English under or call them directly.

The problem with an example is that SkatteFUNN is covering the entire range of all industries. Thus, I have decided to use a real life example from my study time to show how you might attack such application.  Keep in mind that there might be different techniques and ways of doing this and I do not claim the exclusive right that this will lead to success. However, it is really as easy as it looks like.

In the city where I have studied, there has been a famous chocolate fabric. I cannot say the real name but it was similar to the famous Willy Wonka Chocolate Fabric and has produced this ultra-high quality superior chocolate, what else.

For real, to get this high quality superior chocolate there has been a group of women, each opening 3.000 eggs every day and in total 30.000 eggs every single day. They had to do it like this, because they never managed to find a machine which offers the same quality in opening eggs.

Have you ever tried to open 3.000 eggs very fast with quality first? Nevertheless, manual egg opening reaches very fast the limits when you want to expand to new markets and have to increase the production.   Having a building full with manual “human” egg opener is not really efficient at some stage.

To attack this as a potential SkatteFUNN project, there are of course several techniques and ways to do it. Best is to do it structured and sort out some things first.

So what is new and pushes the company further on and what do you have to do to get there?

Keep in mind that other people should read and understand this too.

In principle, there are three parameters to look at:

  1. What is the status today and where is the actual problem ?
  2. What are the business objectives?
  3. What do you have to do to get there and what is the impact to your business?

In our case, I would simply say that the current status and problem is :

  • A group of manual egg opener, open in total 30.000 Egg every day, 5 days a week
  • This is done due to quality of opening egg to deliver superior eggs.
  • The production is limited to high usage of manual “human” involvement.
  • You might underline this with some business numbers and costs.

Our new business objectives are:

  • The company wants to expand into new markets and needs to provide higher production with same quality. The production shall be increased by factor 10, means 300.000 eggs per day shall be opened now. In addition, the production shall run 24/7 which also creates new jobs.
  • The costs shall be down by 10% to be competitive in this markets.

We need to do the following:

  • To achieve this goal the company needs to develop new processes and a new “automatic egg opener machine” to fulfil the quality requirements since they cannot just buy such a machine on the market. Since there are no machines available which fulfil the quality requirement, there has to be a research project to find out new processes in how this can be done. It is important that the involved R&D and relayed process involved is pointed out very clear.


OK, my example is an easy one. But think about it. You ask someone for money refund, so it’s fair that you have to answer the questions “why”, “for what” and “how do you want to spend it”.

Now, some could say, this is not a SkatteFUNN project. Yes, maybe, but this is only for learning purposes and in case of doubt you can always call the Research Counsel and ask.

As explained, with everything I do, I always try to cover the three points: where are we, what is the target and how to achieve this (and what it costs). One major point is to get a “buy in” from all involved parties, especially from the management. Management always asks “what do I have to invest” and “what do I get in return”.

Now, there is another issue to solve. You need to sort out what do to, put it into a timeline and estimate the budget.  I have seen people start writing and the SkatteFUNN application was done in an afternoon. Yes, when you have some training and experience it goes fast. For the rest, I would suggest to use a mind mapper like xMind. It allows you to put the bits and pieces together, put it on a timeline, make the Gant chart and export it to MS Project. When you look under format templates it even has a project dashboard which helps to put things into context. Have a look it’s free in the basic version. Pretty cool stuff.

In our case, there might be five work packages as part of one project; but of course, you can always do it different:

  • WP1: Analysing the logistic and changes needs to be done to increase the production. 300,000 eggs every day need to be transported and stored. What about the waste? Can it be done green with a reduced CO2 footprint?
  • WP2: We need some research to find out what is the best method and tool to open eggs mechanical. This can be jointly done by the industry and research institutions.
  • WP3: Based on the result of WP1 and WP2, we have to design and develope a prototype of the new egg-opening machine.
  • WP4: We need to build a prototype of the new egg-opening machine.
  • WP5: We need to test the new egg-opening machine for Production Quality Assurance.

Now you can define the individual WPs like 1.1, 2.1, …  to a certain level and resolution that you can estimate the steps to be done.   xMind will help you very nicely in doing this. It might turn out that you suddenly have several SkatteFUNN projects which is cool, isn’t it.  This is not Rocket Science, just some thinking and some experience. SOME!

In SkatteFUNN you do not have to be that detailed, but you have to present it in a feasible and understandable way. A good plan is always good to have, also for yourself to estimate i.e. the project risk and involved costs.

So now, you have sorted out what you want to do, defined it into work packages, and in which timeline. What about costs ?

The cost part is much easier in SkatteFUNN as most people might think. Why? It does not matter that much since it is just estimated and you get money back on your real and documented costs.  This is close to perfect, but the downside is that you first need to pre-finance the project and get it back, this might lead to some cash flow issues. Keep this always in mind.

Therefore, where you have to look at is:

  • You have internal and external costs. Internal costs have limits, please check with the current status in how much you can calculate. External costs are simply a real invoice for subcontracting or consumables. Therefore, you can always ask your supplier, if they can give you a price assumption on the task to be done.
  • Look at every work package and estimate how much it will cost (limits!). In the end, you have a plan of work packages with a price tag. This is your estimated budged. What you really have in costs in the end of the day, is a different story. Things can always change.

So all you have to do in simply words to put your project and plan into the application delivery system. When you already have tested it, have spoken to RCN for questions and done the project definition properly, that’s it. It is recommended to keep some deadlines in mind, like 1st September to claim costs for the running year.

I hope that I could give some light in how to attack a SkatteFUNN application based on a simple “egg” example. Have a look at xMind, maybe it helps you. Since I got approach several times to write about SkatteFUNN consultants and their pricing models, I will write in the next two posts about it a bit more in detail. Especially, the pricing model seems to be of broad interest. So will see, what I can do.

We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow Scaberia on LinkedIN.

Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 3 : The application !

Hey there,

there has been interesting feedback on my last blog about SkatteFUNN. “Flott innlegg”, “please more”, “What is your opinion about the E24 articles and consultants” and “What about the different consultant pricing models ?”. Especially the increasing amount from Business Executives shows that SkatteFUNN is still a hot topic. So first thank you for your interest and feedback; second, I will see what I can do.

This time I would like to write a bit about the application itself, but please keep in mind that it is not my intention to provide a comprehensive “ultimate” guide for writing the famous SkatteFUNN application. Since a broad range of people reading my Blog I would like to start with a little disclaimer. It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive.  It is not meant to be totally complete, a comprehensive guide, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the websites of Research Council of Norway which is available in English under or call them directly.

But let me start to write about the “Mystic SkatteFUNN Application”.

As stated before and shown by the numbers, SkatteFUNN is not a competition, you only have to put “some” quality into it and to bring it over the hurdle. It is more a 100 meter sprint where all you have to do is reaching the finish and when you take a sleep in between, it’s OK. This is very important to keep in mind. The word “some quality” means, it is not a Doctor thesis, or let me say this directly : A SkatteFUNN application is not Rocket Science.

I should also mention that “difficult” in a SkatteFUNN sense is a very subjective thing. It is clearly a difference if you write several application a year or just one every decade. It’s more a question of understanding the process and the system.

So when you consider to write it self, you should start with the delivery. Try to find out, how to deliver the application, make a dummy account, and play around with the system. When there are open questions left, call the Research Council.  But please, do not do this after summer. When it goes towards 1st September, which is the guarantee deadline for the application and several thousands of applications moving towards their server; you can imagine what happens. Thus, do NOT wait until the last moment, this might be a very expensive mistake. Once you know the tools, you can start to look into what you have to deliver …

Let me say it like this, SkatteFUNN is a present from the Tax payer towards companies, I think it is a fair deal that there are certain criteria’s to follow and that the Tax payer ask for what you want to have the money refunded.

There is no gold shitting donkey in SkatteFUNN, this is tax money.

So I do see regularly some issues when people asking me about SkatteFUNN and how to apply.

Have a SkatteFUNN project

You should have a SkatteFUNN project at all, which is compliant to the criteria. I am not really a big supporter of “what is not fitting, we make it fit” and there is “gratis money to get” just for the “sake” of getting the money. Maybe this is a shocking news, but there is “no invisible ice”, “no gratis lunch” and especially no “gratis money”. So the spirit behind the criteria’s is that it should be something new for the company and push it further on and make it even more competitive, to create jobs and growth.

Strip off the project from the operative business

Another thing I see is that people often have issues to strip off the project out of the normal company operation and I agree this might need some training, just some. But as more as you are able to do this step, as better you can show, why you believe that you have a SkatteFUNN project after the criteria, as closer you are towards the project approval. So let’s say, one trick might be that you define the current status and work out where and when you want to be what and how this should look like. This might be easier i.e. with technical systems, where you simply define a roadmap then setting up new services for the tourism industry. Keep in mind that you have to describe your project in a way that it is feasible and understandable. Not always are the people which have written the text are the people reading it.

Make a feasible project plan

Setting up the project plan with the different work packages and targets, time lines and deliverables which then results into a budget, is sometimes a challenge and needs some understanding in how to set up projects, but here is the good news. When you do a mistake with your budget and you have totally overestimated it, it does not matter. Hey, even underestimating is not a disaster. This is only your estimated budget, you get only money back from your real costs, proven with hard facts and a “revisor”.

But there is a catch with the “estimated” SkatteFUNN project budget I got asked to mention several times now. I do not know if this is still the case, but as stated in the media some time ago some SkatteFUNN “helping” consultants are using for their invoice calculation a percentage amount of the estimated budget, which can be higher as what you might get back in your real costs. When in addition, these consultants working on incentive basis, you will have a classical “conflict of interest” in how the estimated project budget is calculated. So always try to understand this kind of invoice calculation, “No cure no pay” could suddenly become veeeeery expensive. I do not know why they do/did it like this, maybe it falls into the “I was young and needed the money” corner.

So once you have the work plan and all the rest done, make some nice Gantt charts (fancy pictures are always cool) and here we go, that’s the SkatteFUNN application.  In my next blog I will make a short example so you can see the basics in how to “attack” the application.

Another issue I meet regularly is the reporting and “revisor stamp” question. Seriously, in nearly all cases I have seen the normal company accountant has done the project accounting more or less. There is not much you can do with it, so try to keep this part as simple as possible.  The only recommendation I would give is: try to be as correct as possible and do not be creative here. Again, we are talking about real costs, which must be documented. No fictive cost, no creative numbers or fancy business constructs with Coconut Island. Documented, real costs !!!

You can say about the people from the tax authorities what you want, but in case of tax creativity they have only very limited humor.

So that’s it for the moment, for my next Blog I will see what can I do in giving a very short example for understanding purposes so people get a feeling for what they have to provide.

And never forget to press “LIKE” !

We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow Scaberia on LinkedIN.

Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 2 : The statistics !

In my last post, I have written some lines about the topics around “SkatteFUNN – What is it ?” and why is it so great that it has been ranked as No 2 in a huge EU Report comparing 80 tax incentive systems. Thus, even in an international perspective it has gained the reputation it has well deserved.

Here is now the second part of my Blog around SkatteFUNN. First of all, I also would like to thank all my readers for the nice feedback received and suggestions what I should add further on. Thus, I will do my best to answer some of the question I have received. In addition, I have opened an own WordPress Blogsite so even more people have access to my “Thoughts about SkatteFUNN” Blogs as suggested in some emails. You can visit this site under

Again, I would like to start with a little disclaimer. It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive.  It is not meant to be fully completely comprehensive guide, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the website of Research Council of Norway which is available in English under or call them directly.

In this post, I would like to put some light into the statistics behind SkatteFUNN. There is a very good yearly report about the SkatteFUNN statistics itself for those who want to find out more in detail. Simply go to the webpage of the Research Counsel of Norway ( and search for “skattefunn årsrapport 2014”.

First of all, statistics are a great thing.  In roulette, it will tell you that the bank will always win; in lotto that you must have a lot of luck; and in stock trading you cannot rely on it at all. It always comes different.

For SkatteFUNN there are many numbers available and most of them are for sure very important but for most of us not really necessary to know.

First of all, here are some overall “nice to read” numbers:

  • Between 2002 and 2014, there has been in total 35.186 SkatteFUNN applications send in, of which 27000 got approved. Thus, 77% of all applications ever got approved!
  • Between 2009 and 2014, all industry sectors have sent in applications, but the Top 3 sectors were clearly ICT, Oil & Gas and Energy.
  • Between 2002 and 2014, there has been a clear significant difference between estimated and final tax credit. That means many SkatteFUNN projects were overestimated in their budget.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, nearly 50% of all companies that has got an approval of their SkatteFUNN applications has been SMEs with a labour force below 10 employees.
  • Skattefunn applications were sent in from all over Norway. But of course when you look at the past few years, there has been a race between Oslo/Akershus and Vestlandet regarding approved SkatteFUNN projects.


And so on and so on ….

But in principle for most questions I receive there are only three numbers important to most people:


  1. SkatteFUNN is a Tax Incentive Scheme, it is not a grant competition

When I read “Between 2002 and 2014 there has been 35.186 SkatteFUNN application in total 27000 of the got approved, this means 77% of all application ever got approved !” it tells me that everybody who is compliant to the criteria and do not overstretch it, can get approved. It is not like only “the top 5% applications” get the funding and nothing for the rest. Thus, there is no competition! All the companies have to do is bringing the SkatteFUNN application over the hurdle. It’s a gift from the taxpayers to the companies that are active in R&D and Innovation activities. Thus, it is a good thing, use it!!!


  1. Overestimated Budgeting is OK and many do this

Remember there are two important numbers in SkatteFUNN. Your “estimated” project budget and your “real” costs from which you finally get the tax money back. As long as you do not have other commitments on your “estimated” budget, it does not matter that much (OK, maybe when your project is significantly under estimated). In the end, every company has to show and proof its cost with hard facts. You can find this in the “official” SkatteFUNN statistics very clear that project budget overestimating is normal. Between 2002 and 2014, there has been always an “overestimation”. So what?


  1. 77% of the total SkatteFUNN application get approved, in 2014 it has been even 81.5%

This is maybe the most important number. It simply tells me, that when you put some quality into your SkatteFunn application, there is very little risk of getting rejected.

Or let’s say it in other words, imagine the Casinos in Las Vegas would have a winning chance of 81.5%, what would happen ? Right, entire New York and Los Angeles in one big action would move to Vegas within three days and there would be a huge never ending party. So ready to join the SkatteFUNN party?


In my next post I will write about some SkatteFUNN application basics. If you have points I should write about, please sent me an email.

We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow Scaberia on LinkedIN.

Thoughts about SkatteFUNN – Part 1 : What is it ?

During these days I have many meetings with clients, this never ending Skype conferences and often people especially from my international business partner network ask me, what is the catch with SkatteFUNN in Norway.  Thus, I have spent quite some time around this topic and since people are always interesting to hear more about it, I’ve got asked to write some posts about it.

And here we go …

But maybe I should start here with a little disclaimer. It is my intention to put some light into SkatteFUNN and regularly upcoming questions I receive.  It is not meant to be totally complete, covering everything and some details might have changed. Tax rules can always change. For this, please have a look at the websites of Research Council of Norway which is available in English under or call them directly.

But let us start in the beginning. SkatteFUNN, what is it?

SkatteFUNN is nothing else than the implementation of a Norwegian Tax Incentive System for supporting Innovation or even better SkatteFUNN is a Tax Incentive Scheme of the Norwegian Government created to motivate Norwegian companies to increase their efforts within research and development (R&D) with the overall goal to stimulate innovations and strengthening competitiveness and growth of the Norwegian trade and industry.

All companies, registered in Norway and liable to pay Corporation Tax in Norway, can apply for this tax incentive program, regardless of branch of industry, size or geographic location. The incentive is a tax credit for R&D expenses and comes in the form of a possible deduction from the company’s payable Corporation Tax. If the tax credit for the R&D expenses is greater than the amount the company is liable to pay in tax, the remainder will be paid out in cash to the company. If the applying company does not generate a taxable income, the entire SkatteFUNN credit is paid out in cash.

To be eligible to apply for SkatteFUNN, the company must seek to develop a new or improved product, service or production process in form of a dedicated R&D project (“SkatteFUNN project”) and with the objective to generate new knowledge, skills and capabilities.

When I heard about this the first time in my life I felt like this funny little baby in Ally McBeal, dancing around and there is music in the room like ugachatcha, ugachatcha, ugachatcha ….

Re-read it and start to dance …

But even SkatteFUNN is made as a simple concept and it is very easy to apply for, there are some general terms each SkatteFUNN project needs to be compliant with:

  • It should not be part of the normal operational business and must be clearly separated from it (that’s the challenge sometimes)
  • It shall target to develop a new or improved product, service or production process
  • It must have defined objectives and a project plan describing planned activities and milestones
  • It must be an advantage for the company
  • It shall generate new knowledge, skills and capabilities

Another question I always get is how much is in for us or in other words how much R&D Tax Credit can be granted? For the exact numbers please consult the Research Council of Norway, but to my knowledge you can say as the rule of thumb:

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can receive a 20% tax deduction of the incurred and documented R&D expenses associated with a dedicated SkatteFUNN project. Large enterprises can claim 18 % of the R&D expenses. But the expenses of a SkatteFUNN project are limited to:

  • 3 years
  • 15 million NOK per year, when using only in-house R&D resources
  • 33 million NOK per year, when using in-house & external R&D resources (e.g. pre-approved research institutions)
  • 1850 hours per year per employee
  • 600 NOK hourly rate for own employees
  • 0,12 % of an employee’s nominal annual salary for calculation of the hourly rate

 Please notice that a company may submit several SkatteFunn applications, but the upper mentioned limitations counts per company. Also, be aware of that unpaid work effort cannot be claimed as expenses within a SkatteFUNN project. And again tax rules and limits are always subject of change. Sorry, bad news for young “Entrepreneurs”, but when you do not have “real costs”, SkatteFUNN becomes more a theoretical “low hanging fruit”.

All SkatteFUNN applications are processed, evaluated and approved by the Research Council of Norway (Forskningsrådet) in cooperation with the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) and Innovation Norway (Innovasjon Norge).

The SkatteFUNN application reflects an “estimated” or “possible” tax credit. The “actual” tax credit of an approved SkatteFUNN project is assessed and granted based on your “real” costs by the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) each year with deadline 1 March during the course of each SkatteFUNN project. In order to receive the actual income tax deduction, the company needs to submit each year a dedicated RF-1053 tax form, approved by a state authorized public account (Revisor), along with their income tax return. It’s not really a big deal.

So that was it for the moment. I guess, I will go and look for my old Ally McBeal DVDs and have a look at the dancing baby again.

If you like what you have read please press “LIKE” so others have the chance to join the SkatteFUNN party, everybody should do it.

In my next post I plan to look into the SkatteFUNN statistics, if you have other questions or thought please let me know.

We from Scaberia are different, we believe in the triangle of transparency, integrity and professionalism to deliver Excellence in Quality. Read more about it on our website or follow us on LinkedIN.