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Is Accenture plc's(NYSE:ACN) Recent Stock Performance Tethered To Its Strong Fundamentals?

Simply Wall St

Accenture's's (NYSE:ACN) stock is up by a considerable 40% over the past three months. Given the company's impressive performance, we decided to study its financial indicators more closely as a company's financial health over the long-term usually dictates market outcomes. In this article, we decided to focus on Accenture's ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is an important factor to be considered by a shareholder because it tells them how effectively their capital is being reinvested. In simpler terms, it measures the profitability of a company in relation to shareholder's equity.

Check out our latest analysis for Accenture

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Accenture is:

32% = US$5.0b ÷ US$16b (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2020).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.32.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learnt that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. Assuming everything else remains unchanged, the higher the ROE and profit retention, the higher the growth rate of a company compared to companies that don't necessarily bear these characteristics.

Accenture's Earnings Growth And 32% ROE

First thing first, we like that Accenture has an impressive ROE. Additionally, the company's ROE is higher compared to the industry average of 17% which is quite remarkable. Probably as a result of this, Accenture was able to see a decent net income growth of 8.8% over the last five years.

We then performed a comparison between Accenture's net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 9.5% in the same period.

NYSE:ACN Past Earnings Growth June 21st 2020

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. If you're wondering about Accenture's's valuation, check out this gauge of its price-to-earnings ratio, as compared to its industry.

Is Accenture Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Accenture has a three-year median payout ratio of 42%, which implies that it retains the remaining 58% of its profits. This suggests that its dividend is well covered, and given the decent growth seen by the company, it looks like management is reinvesting its earnings efficiently.

Moreover, Accenture is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Based on the latest analysts' estimates, we found that the company's future payout ratio over the next three years is expected to hold steady at 44%. Therefore, the company's future ROE is also not expected to change by much with analysts predicting an ROE of 26%.

Summary

In total, we are pretty happy with Accenture's performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. That being so, a study of the latest analyst forecasts show that the company is expected to see a slowdown in its future earnings growth. To know more about the company's future earnings growth forecasts take a look at this free report on analyst forecasts for the company to find out more.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.