My JC Path: From Agriculture studies to rural accounting

Peter Innes

Peter Innes

Stirling Office Head & Business Advisory Partner

Peter Innes joined Johnston Carmichael in 2004 after completing his CA training in Inverness. Having worked across both our Elgin and Stirling offices over the last 18 years, Peter is now back in our Inverness office working with a range of businesses across the country, with a particular focus on our Rural clients.  Here, Peter tells us about his background and what led him to specialising in the Rural sector.

Why did you join JC and what led you to having a particular interest in working with Rural businesses?

I studied Agriculture at the University of Aberdeen before moving into accountancy. I had studied accountancy at Standard Grade and Higher at secondary school and quite enjoyed it, and there was a farm management aspect to the Honours year of my degree course at University, which again I quite enjoyed. Knowing the profession offered good career opportunities was also a key attraction.

I was originally attracted to Johnston Carmichael because of the reputation of the firm and its profile in the rural client space in particular. Given my background as a dairy farmer’s son from Nairn, working with a firm who could give me experience in this field (pardon the pun) appealed.

Tell us what you do for businesses and how your role has developed since joining Johnston Carmichael

Working mainly with rural businesses and in particular farms, unlike some businesses, you tend to be involved in most accounting aspects that we see looking after small to medium sized businesses. In addition, farms are quite unique in that they quite often cover all the key taxes and have something going on all the time; whether it be routine annual trading and exposure to income taxes, or capital gains tax when selling a plot for housing or development for example. Succession in farming businesses, which brings in inheritance tax and capital gains tax, is also regularly on the table with our clients.

Throughout my time here I’ve seen significant change - in particular the developments that we see annually to the tax system, with initiatives such as Making Tax Digital for VAT, digitisation, real time reporting for payroll, devolved tax systems and so on.

What has stayed constant however, is the fact that our clients still need the ongoing reassurance and support that they always have from their advisers.

What do you enjoy most about working at JC?

The colleagues that I work with and introducing these colleagues to our clients. Being able to cross-refer work to the many specialist teams we have within the firm, for example the Construction & Property Incentives team, is great and it is always well received when you introduce more JC names to the client relationship.

What professional learning are you doing at the moment?

In my area of practice, participating in events with other professionals such as lawyers and land agents is always a great learning piece. I recently participated in a webinar with a land agent, lawyer and Head of Agriculture at Virgin Money, which had over 300 attendees. Although it’s not always in one’s comfort zone to do these things, it does push you on, make you do your research and importantly gets your own and the firm’s name out there. Getting involved in these types of things really does help with career progression and sector recognition.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I have just built a new house at the family farm in Forres, so getting moved in and getting the landscaping done is a priority – helps to have some farm machines to do this! I am also kept occupied on the farm during the busy periods – unsurprisingly, to date I have not yet managed to find a volunteer to take on the Xero bookkeeping!


For more information on what we can do to help your Rural business, get in touch with Peter or another member of our Rural team.

We also have opportunities available to join our Rural team - visit our Careers page to find out more.