Investors in online banking and billpay software provider Corillian (NASDAQ:CORI) got an early Christmas present when the company reported earnings a couple weeks back. Profits for the second quarter were better than expected. The company, which had been predicting $0.02 to $0.04 per share, actually turned in $0.05.

Doesn't seem like a lot? It isn't. But, hey, a penny here and a penny there. Pretty soon, you're talking. a nickel. And a nickel here and a nickel there. and you've got yourself a dime.

Oh, all right. I've got to admit -- the company does seem to have fallen into a bit of a profits ditch this year. By this time last year, Corillian had already notched $0.11 in profits. So far this year, it's managed to book barely half of that. But, even so, the company seems to be sticking to its story that the second half of the year will look prettier than the first.

To make good on that promise, Corillian continues to hunt big game to add high-margin, lump sum "seat license" payments to its bottom line in the quarters ahead. Q2 saw the company net credit card virtuoso Capital One (NYSE:COF) as a client -- a good start. But the company also needs to finalize its acquisition of soon-to-be-ex-competitor InteliData (NASDAQ:INTD) and begin turning that money-losing operation around.

Judging from Corillian's projected earnings numbers for Q3 alone, that latter task will be slow going. The company predicted a sizable jump in revenues (between 6% and 18%) next quarter in comparison to Q2 2005, with InteliData's business contributing about 8% of the increase. Even so, Corillian's profits expectations are sequentially flat, somewhere between $0.02 and $0.05. If revenues are up and profits are down over the next three months -- and the biggest change during that time period is the addition of InteliData's business -- it seems likely that InteliData will be to blame for the lower numbers.

Whether that's a result of InteliData having been on life support when Corillian agreed to buy it, a matter of stock dilution (Corillian is issuing a sizable bloc of shares as part of the purchase price), or a combination of the two, should be revealed in three months' time. What's certain now, however, is that the handful of pennies that Corillian will earn in Q3 falls far short of the company's promise of "second-half results. significantly better than first-half results," made three months ago.

Which means a lot is going to be riding on Corillian's Q4 numbers. Which in turn probably means that, absent a strong case of underpromise/overdeliver in Q3, the company's stock price won't be going anywhere fast for the next six months.

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Corillian. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.