The number of businesses folding in Scotland has dropped by almost a quarter in the last year, new figures show.
New statistics from KPMG show, for the three months to September 30, the total number of insolvency appointments have decreased by 23%.
Bosses at the firm said the decline was down to the “steadying of the ship” in the oil and gas industry. However they warned about the effects the weakening exchange rate may have on businesses.
Blair Nimmo, head of restructuring for KPMG in the UK, said: “Scotland’s corporate insolvencies continue to show encouraging signs when compared to the same period last year, with a marked fall in failing businesses both during and in the last 12 months.
“The data reflects what we are seeing on the ground, with decreases in the number of liquidation, administration and receivership appointments across most, if not all sectors, compared with last year.
“Following a challenging time for the oil and gas sector, it appears the ship has been steadied. The adoption of new business models and significant cost-cutting measures have left the energy industry in a more comfortable position, and as a result, we have seen fewer insolvencies in that sector.”
Mr Nimmo said that elsewhere it was difficult to detect an obvious sector weakness with most companies understandably adopting a cautious approach to business, given the broader political and economic climate.
He added: “The impact of Brexit remains on the horizon, with no obvious influence yet being felt. Looking ahead however, uncertainty in a broader sense may leave a negative impression on consumer and corporate confidence. The weak exchange rate may take its toll on certain sectors, and inflation is at its highest level in five years.
“In all three quarters of this year, insolvency figures have improved compared with 2016. What will be key to the success of many Scottish firms, however, is how they cope with the coming 12 months and beyond.”
In the 12 months to September 2017 there were 802 insolvency appointments, a fall from the 1040 in the year up to September 2016.
There was also a 24% decrease in liquidation appointments (710 down from 931), and a 16% fall in administration appointments (92 down from 109) in that period.
The statistics from the professional services firm showed the number of businesses failing in Scotland also fell in the third quarter of 2017, compared to the same three months in 2016.
The decrease marks the third consecutive quarter of improvement in insolvencies compared to the same period last year. In the three months to September 30, the total number of insolvency appointments decreased by 23% (217 down from 282) compared to the same period in 2016.
There was a 24% decrease in liquidation appointments (193 down from 255), which tend to affect smaller businesses, and an 11% decrease in administration appointments (24 down from 27), which usually involve large businesses.
KPMG prepares its own insolvency statistics based on announced administration appointments broken down by liquidations and receiverships on a monthly basis.