Johnston Carmichael in UK top 20

ACCOUNTANCY firm Johnston Carmichael will propel itself into the UK top 20 today after taking over rival North-east firm Ritson Smith.

Commercial details of the deal have not been released but Johnston Carmichael chief executive Sandy Manson described it as a “merger” in which all seven partners at Ritson Smith will transfer to the enlarged practice.

Following the deal, Johnston Carmichael will have 54 partners spread over 12 locations and will have revenues of more than £30 million, ranking it among the 20 biggest UK firms.

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Manson said that, with clients demanding an ever-growing range of services and sometimes requiring close support through troubled times, greater scale made sense for accountants.

He added: “Our firms have similar values and a shared professional ethos.

“Our partners and staff will be integrated from the outset thereby enabling both our teams to work as one unit.”

Manson said Johnston Carmichael was on the look out for other like-minded firms as it sought to achieve even greater scale, although its focus was likely to remain north of the Border.

Ritson Smith was established in 1924 and has 60 staff based at three offices across the North-east. Manson said that the firm was particularly attractive to Johnston Carmichael because Aberdeen – booming on the back of high oil prices – was a key market for the practice.

Niall Farquharson, managing partner of Ritson Smith, is to become joint managing partner of Johnston Carmichael’s Aberdeen office, joining incumbent Andrew Walker in the role.