Accountant's figures are looking good as fee income jumps by 10%

JOHNSTON Carmichael, the mid-tier Scottish accountancy firm, saw fee income jump by 10 per cent last year as it continued its expansion in the Central Belt, accounts released today show.

The firm, which has ten offices in Scotland and targets privately owned family businesses, including soup maker Baxters, shrugged off the difficult economic conditions to grow turnover to just over 26.9 million in the year to 31 May.

A continued push in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where Johnston Carmichael set up shop only eight years ago, paid dividends, according to chief executive Sandy Manson.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The two Central Belt offices collectively grew fee income by 36 per cent last year and now account for almost a third of the firm's revenues, up from 25 per cent previously.

Despite an uncertain outlook for the Scottish economy over the next 12 months, Manson said there was "significant potential for further growth" both in the Central Belt and areas such as the Borders as firms rely on advisory services more than ever to negotiate bank finance and restructure their businesses.

Johnston Carmichael is recruiting at its Edinburgh and Glasgow offices and Manson is eyeing a move into new areas.

Although he insisted the priority would be "organic growth", he did not rule out further mergers and acquisitions after the practice acquired Edinburgh peer Duncan Young last year.

Manson would not discount a move south of the Border at some stage but his short-term focus is on growing the business in Scotland. He told The Scotsman: "We are not trying to be a global brand. I would never rule out an expansion beyond Scotland but frankly we have enough on our plate (at the moment].

"We want to be the brand of choice in Scotland and there are markets in Scotland we are not yet in – for example the south-west and the Borders. These are all areas where as see growth potential."

Manson said areas such as business recovery had performed particularly well last year – achieving 12 per cent growth – but the firm has since seen a pick-up in departments such as corporate finance, which suffered during the recession as M&As fell off a cliff.

Johnston Carmichael is hoping to expand its capacity in fast-growth areas such as renewable energy and advising charities. Strategic planning services and debt restructuring are similarly in demand, Manson said, as firms adjust to a "new world" when it comes to dealing with banks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although the "dust has settled" on the financing problems seen at the height of the crisis, companies are still having to "jump through hoops" in order to secure funding, he said.