Accenture has reported first-quarter results that have exceeded net revenue expectations.
Net revenue for the quarter, which ended 30 November, came in at $3.26bn, above the $3.11bn expectation from analysts.
Compared with 2003's first quarter, net revenue rose 11% in US dollars.
Net income grew 37% with the one-time benefit - a reduction in reorganisation liabilities related to Accenture's transition to a corporate structure in 2001 - but fell 30%, compared with 2003's first quarter.
Gross margin fell to 34.1% from 39.4% in 2003's first quarter, partly because of the company's increasing shift toward outsourcing, whose gross margins tend to be lower than those in consulting; pricing pressure; and lower-than-expected margins on three contracts.
Net revenue broke down into 64% from consulting, and 36% from outsourcing.
Accenture will take a one-time charge of between $75m and $100m in 2004's second quarter related to property consolidation, primarily in the US and the UK. The process of consolidating locations and disposing of related fixed assets should be "substantially" completed during the second quarter.
In 2004's second quarter, net revenue is expected to be in the range of $3.10bn and $3.25bn.
Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service