You've just got to love a great cash flow story. Not only does cash flow really tell the tale as to who's winning and losing in business, but cash flow funds all sorts of shareholder-friendly goodies like share buybacks and dividends. One of the world's leading consulting and outsourcing companies, Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation Accenture
For the company's fiscal fourth quarter, net revenue rose 15% to just under $4 billion. Growth was solid around the world, but especially so in America, where revenue climbed 22%. On an operating group basis, communications and high tech led the way in absolute dollars, while the products group posted the best growth.
Accenture also continued to do well by more esoteric measures. Return on assets of 18% is an excellent result, and the company produced about $1.57 billion in free cash flow (FCF) for the full year. That strong cash flow not only fueled ongoing share repurchases, but it also led management to declare the company's first cash dividend.
It doesn't appear that concerns about the health of the economy are troubling Accenture to any significant extent. The company hired a whopping 42,000 people in the last year, bringing the total to about 123,000 employees. Just to put that in perspective, that's more than Pfizer
Whether you look at market cap, employees, or revenue, Accenture dwarfs other consulting competitors such as Bearingpoint
I wouldn't suggest that Accenture would somehow be immune to a global economic slowdown, but I don't really imagine that companies and government agencies are going to move away from consulting and outsourcing to any real extent. With an established brand, a large stable of talent, and excellent cash flow generation potential, Accenture still looks like it could be a value today.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).