Growth at chartered accountants Johnston Carmichael slowed but the firm broke through the £40million turnover mark for the first time in its 80th year and hailed the robustness of its diversified business model.
The Aberdeen-headquartered firm said revenues for the group rose from £39.6million to £40.8million in the year to the end of May 2016, while net profit before members’ remuneration rose from £11.06million to £11.61million. Its turnover had risen 8% in the prior year.
The firm, which employs almost 700 people across 11 locations, attributed the rise in turnover and profits to its ability to diversify in challenging markets.
Chief executive Sandy Manson said: “Our growth of 3% is lower than we have experienced before. But given the Aberdeen market we still think that is a very respectable performance.
“It has been a challenging year but the way I’d sum is up is we will continue to weather that oil and gas storm well.
“It’s very encouraging to report steady progress on a number of fronts despite challenging trading conditions, especially in the north-east of Scotland where the lower oil price has resulted in a significant market correction.
“Our decision to expand across the central belt over ten years ago has allowed our business to better deal with the regional impact of economic cycles such as we continue to see in the north-east.”
In Aberdeen, where the company employs 150 people, its restructuring work grew 12%, he said.
The firm has continued to grow its range of services and has targeted international work through its membership of PKF – a family of legally independent member firms operating in 150 countries.
Major hires across the year have included bringing in a new team of specialists in infrastructure and renewables, as well as expanding the firm’s capability in consultancy, internal audit, R&D and capital allowances. The business has also made significant investment in technology, including the use of data analytics in audit work and cloud technology in its SME-focused offering.
Mr Manson said that “our world has changed” following the UK’s vote to leave Europe but that his firm and others would “have to get on with it”.
“Uncertainty and unpredictability is a way of life now,” he said.
“I’m seeing that with businesses – they are not waiting to see what is going to happen with Brexit because, frankly, we don’t know and it may be sometime yet and we just have to get on with it.
“Our strategy over ten years ago expanding into Edingburgh and Glasgow was right because we are well diversified now.”
He added: “The North Sea will come again.
“This is a time to increase investment – in people, technology.
“We have 11 offices now so there is plenty of unfinished business for us in Scotland.
“In Aberdeen we still have very ambitious growth plans.”