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Accenture (NYSE:ACN) Might Be Having Difficulty Using Its Capital Effectively

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  • ACN

There are a few key trends to look for if we want to identify the next multi-bagger. In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. So while Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has a high ROCE right now, lets see what we can decipher from how returns are changing.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. The formula for this calculation on Accenture is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.28 = US$7.6b ÷ (US$43b - US$16b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2021).

Thus, Accenture has an ROCE of 28%. That's a fantastic return and not only that, it outpaces the average of 14% earned by companies in a similar industry.

See our latest analysis for Accenture

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for Accenture compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Accenture.

So How Is Accenture's ROCE Trending?

On the surface, the trend of ROCE at Accenture doesn't inspire confidence. To be more specific, while the ROCE is still high, it's fallen from 41% where it was five years ago. Although, given both revenue and the amount of assets employed in the business have increased, it could suggest the company is investing in growth, and the extra capital has led to a short-term reduction in ROCE. If these investments prove successful, this can bode very well for long term stock performance.

What We Can Learn From Accenture's ROCE

While returns have fallen for Accenture in recent times, we're encouraged to see that sales are growing and that the business is reinvesting in its operations. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 217% to shareholders in the last five years. So while the underlying trends could already be accounted for by investors, we still think this stock is worth looking into further.

If you're still interested in Accenture it's worth checking out our FREE intrinsic value approximation to see if it's trading at an attractive price in other respects.

High returns are a key ingredient to strong performance, so check out our free list ofstocks earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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