Accenture Earnings Call Insights: Bookings and Revenue, Major Drivers

On Thursday, Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Bookings and Revenue

Tien-Tsin Huang – JPMorgan: Great bookings here. So, I want to ask – I guess better understand, how the bookings will convert to revenue? Pam I know you mentioned that there are some (indiscernible) conversion there. Can you just help us better appreciate that, how we contract that, and them more importantly, just reconcile your bookings guidance with your revenue guidance, any change again in book-to-bill or any other metric that we should consider?

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Pamela J. Craig – CFO: Yes. Hi, Tien-Tsin. Well, first of all, on the book-to-bill, we were sure pleased with those in Q4 of 1 to 1 in consulting and probably about 1 to 6 in outsourcing. So, I think one of things I mentioned that in consulting, we do see what’s being booked to being sort of larger longer duration things and those do convert to revenue just as a basket slower, because there is less of the littler faster converting stuff in the mix. So we do expect that trend to continue.

Tien-Tsin Huang – JPMorgan: So if I think about – I guess the correlation between bookings growth and revenue growth, is it fair to say that’s going to break down a little bit in next year, because it sounds like it’s getting a little bit more complex I guess?

Pamela J. Craig – CFO: Yeah. I mean, I think bookings are lumpy, right, and I think that we did have a number of large things. I mentioned we had 11 clients where we had bookings of over $100 million. So, some those are big things over a longer time period, and so I think it’s hard to correlate it exactly just in terms of then trying to sort of link that to a revenue growth rate in the first quarter.

Tien-Tsin Huang – JPMorgan: Maybe just a quick follow-up, just in terms of contract profitability and cost containment. No surprise on the margin guidance, but I’m curious contract profitability has been a big help here. Is there still room to go on that front ore there going to be some different levers to pull for margin expansion in fiscal ’13? Thanks.

Pamela J. Craig – CFO: Well, we’ll never give up on contract profitability and particular pricing, and then how we continue to manage our cost and look at the whole value equation for clients. So, I think, that definitely continues to be a push for us, but at the same time in terms of managing our business to operating margin, we’re going to be looking for those efficiencies in SG&A to continue.

Major Drivers

Darrin Peller – Barclays Capital: Just on high level first, maybe for Pierre, your growth rate overall are clearly above industry average and clearly above your peers. Can you just give us some specific color on some of these 11 large contracts you won in the sense of what was the driver of you winning that? I mean your market share gains are unnoticeable at this point and may be some specific examples of what you know in an RFP you showed that others did not and is that sustainable and then maybe just a follow-up on the similar question – specifically to the financial services vertical given the growth, how strong it was there?

Pierre Nanterme – CEO: Regarding I mean what’s differentiating us in the marketplace and I think this is reflecting in the two illustrations. I mentioned previously with Oi and BP. First, is our constant focus on large global companies; second, is indeed what we see from a transformation standpoint in the marketplace, and the to drive transformation of such large clients, you need to combine multiple capabilities if you will, and this is what we do with those two illustrations from MC technology, BPO, AO and on top of that we’re bringing things such as the cloud or such as the advanced analytics. So, I think we have a unique positioning so far which is resonating very well with the clients and differentiating us in the marketplace of combining capabilities, operating at scale, working for these very large global organizations and really focusing on bringing an outcome. FS is a good illustration of what’s going on. FS as you know, Financial Services and especially banking and Financial Services, but it’s for insurance industries facing significant transformation from a regulatory standpoint, of course, the Solvency II, Basel III, but as well from an operational standpoint. Again, we are very pleased with what we are doing, especially from an outsourcing standpoint, where outsourcing bookings as well as revenue growth was very good. It’s reflecting again our positioning in (indiscernible) those large organizations in some major transformations. So, that’s what’s explaining our currency translation.

Darrin Peller – Barclays Capital: In financials, just to be clear, so regulatory drivers is a major variable as well as just overall cost optimization and transformation, or is there any other major drivers we should just in keep in mind for that segment just given how strong it’s been?

Pamela J. Craig – CFO: Those are the major ones, and particularly in banking, frankly, insurance has been strong for us for a number of quarters. Just other thing I would like to do is point out because these were really strong results in Financial Services is, they did include just a couple of things from a compare perspective I should point out. First of all, we talked to last quarter a little bit about pre-contract costs and of course these are costs that were in the quarter and then the revenues came through in this quarter. So, that had maybe only just about a 2 point impact on Financial Services. We also made two fairly sizable acquisitions in the beginning of last year, and those have done really well. I mentioned the Credit Services business, which has really come on strong this year.

A Closer Look: Accenture PCL Earnings Cheat Sheet>>