Is Accenture plc's (NYSE:ACN) Stock's Recent Performance Being Led By Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

Simply Wall St · 11/13/2023 10:57

Accenture's (NYSE:ACN) stock is up by a considerable 5.9% over the past month. Since the market usually pay for a company’s long-term fundamentals, we decided to study the company’s key performance indicators to see if they could be influencing the market. In this article, we decided to focus on Accenture's ROE.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Accenture

How Do You Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

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

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

26% = US\$7.0b ÷ US\$26b (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2023).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every \$1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of \$0.26.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. Assuming all else is equal, companies that have both a higher return on equity and higher profit retention are usually the ones that have a higher growth rate when compared to companies that don't have the same features.

A Side By Side comparison of Accenture's Earnings Growth And 26% ROE

Firstly, we acknowledge that Accenture has a significantly high ROE. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 15% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. This likely paved the way for the modest 11% net income growth seen by Accenture over the past five years.

We then compared Accenture's net income growth with the industry and found that the company's growth figure is lower than the average industry growth rate of 22% in the same 5-year period, which is a bit concerning.

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). Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. 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 39%, which implies that it retains the remaining 61% 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. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company over the next three years is expected to be approximately 39%. Accordingly, forecasts suggest that Accenture's future ROE will be 28% which is again, similar to the current ROE.

Conclusion

On the whole, we feel that Accenture's performance has been quite good. Specifically, we like that the company is reinvesting a huge chunk of its profits at a high rate of return. This of course has caused the company to see a good amount of growth in its earnings. 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. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.