THE chief executive of prominent chartered accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael, Sandy Manson, has highlighted anxiety about the prospects of a no-deal Brexit among businesses but said there has not been a significant impact on investment so far.

Mr Manson said firms in the key small and medium sized enterprise sector urgently need to know what Brexit will mean regarding their terms of trade and how it will impact on their ability to raise funding.

However, he said clients are showing resilience in spite of the possibility that the UK may leave the European Union on March 29 without agreeing a deal with the other current members.

“We are seeing some investment decisions being reflected on but our experience of SMEs is there’s anxiety about the situation but we are not seeing a significant delay in investment,” said Mr Manson.

He added: “Despite the Brexit backdrop we are seeing a client base that remains innovative and active.”

Mr Manson said Johnston Carmichael recorded a double digit percentage increase in fee income in the first six months of the current year.

He was speaking after Johnston Carmichael posted a four per cent increase in revenues to £45.5 million for the year to May 31, from £43.7m last time.

The firm’s Central Belt operations grew revenues by 13% annually. Tax income rose 12%.

Profits per partner fell to £212,000 in the latest year from £222,000.

Mr Manson said this partly reflected challenging conditions in the firm’s north east Scotland heartlands. The fallout from the downturn in the North Sea oil and gas industry triggered by the crude price plunge from 2014 to 2016 has weighed on activity.

He welcomed signs that confidence has begun to return to the oil and gas sector following the partial recovery in the crude price since late 2016 with firms starting to approve projects again.

Mr Manson is cautiously optimistic that the recovery seen in recent months will continue. Meanwhile, the drive to promote growth in the area supported by hefty investment in infrastructure projects appears to be paying off.

The fall in profits also reflected continued investment in long term growth.

Mr Manson said Johnston Carmichael has invested in staff and technology to help it respond to changes in the accountancy market.

Seen as Scotland’s largest independent chartered accountancy operation, Johnston Carmichael has more than 750 employees compared with 700 this time last year.

The firm is supporting clients with efforts to comply with the official Making Tax Digital agenda and to make the most of data collected by digital systems.

Johnston Carmichael is planning to expand into new geographical markets and to broaden its service offering. An office opening in England remains a possibility.

The firm said it has continued to grow its international workload through membership of the PKF network.