Accenture (NYSE: ACN) reported earnings on Dec. 15. Here's what you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Nov. 30 (Q1), Accenture beat expectations on revenues and beat them on EPS. Gross margins shrank, operating margins improved, and net margins expanded.

Accenture reported revenue of $7.1 billion. The 15 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated a top line of $6.9 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS came in at $0.96. The 17 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.94 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.96 for Q1 were 20% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.81 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

For the quarter, gross margin was 29.7%, 30 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 12.9%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 8.5%, 20 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods.

Looking ahead
What does the future hold?

Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $6.6 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is for $0.86. (There are 14 revenue estimates and 16 EPS estimates.)

For the full year ending 2012, the average estimate for revenue is $27.6 billion. The average EPS estimate is $3.82. (There are 19 revenue estimates and 23 EPS estimates.)

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating out of five at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,232 members out of 1,295 rating the stock outperform and 63 members rating it underperform. Among 397 CAPS All-Star picks, 386 give Accenture a green thumbs-up, and 11 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Accenture is outperform, with an average price target of $62.79.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Accenture. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.