As a general rule, we like to take the long view here at the Fool. Let the mainstream press obsess over quarterly earnings gyrations as it will, while we examine six-, nine-, and 12-month trends that better indicate where a business is heading (and smooth out the gyrations in the process). Problem is, if it's full-year results you're after, you generally have to wait till January or February, when most companies report their previous year's results.

Which is why we love it when, every once in a while, a company strays from the Wall Street herd and sets itself a calendar that has its fiscal years ending in the middle of everyone else's calendar year. A company like, for example, IT specialist CACI (NYSE:CAI) -- which reported its fiscal 2007 results last night.

Well, la-dee-da. Get to the point, already.
All right, I will. The fiscal year highlights read like so:

  • Annual sales up 10% year over year to $1.94 billion.
  • Operating margins down 90 basis points to 7.5% (extending a pretty long-term trend).
  • Per share profits down 8% to $2.51.
  • Operating cash flow up 57% to $168 million.

CACI also included the usual laundry list of contract awards it has won over the course of the year, including "prime positions" on Homeland Security's Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE), and on both the Army's Field and Installation Readiness Support Team (FIRST) and its Information Technology Enterprise Solutions 2 Services (ITES-2S) contracts. In each case, CACI can be expected to share the government loot with a host of team players, however. On ITES-2S, for example, other award recipients include Computer Sciences (NYSE:CSC), EDS (NYSE:EDS), General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), and SAIC (NYSE:SAI)

Looking forward, the picture is similarly good. Backlog grew 39% year-over-year to $6.4 billion, albeit the funded portion of this backlog is up only 26% to $1.2 billion. Both figures tell you that CACI has plenty of revenues in the pipeline -- enough to power faster sales growth than the 10% it achieved in fiscal 2007. And it's not just me saying that, either. CEO Paul Cofoni highlighted the "record amount of awards in the fourth quarter and for the full-year," calling this "a favorable indicator of our long-term growth." In light of the company's fourth-quarter success, CACI reiterated its previous guidance (click here to see the GAAP guidance details).  

A final note: One thing CACI did not expressly reiterate was cash flow. At last report, management expected to generate in excess of $150 million in operating cash flow in fiscal 2008. For Fools who like to track free cash flow as contrasted with net income, I'd hypothesize a floor of about $140 million for this year's FCF, based on the fact that over the last couple of years, capital expenditures averaged just under $9 million. If that's the way things play out, FCF will exceed net income by nearly twice in 2008. Nice.

Do you want to invest in a government contractor, but prefer someone a bit bigger and a bit more stable than CACI? Take a free, 30-day trial to Motley Fool Inside Value, and find out why we think SAIC might be the better choice.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. Why do we tell you this? Consult the Motley Fool's disclosure policy to find out.