The Hackett Group, Inc. :HCKT-US: Earnings Analysis: Q3, 2017 By the Numbers : November 16, 2017

The Hackett Group, Inc. reports financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2017.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of The Hackett Group, Inc. – Edgewater Technology, Inc., Information Services Group, Inc., FTI Consulting, Inc., Huron Consulting Group Inc., MAXIMUS, Inc., ICF International, Inc., Exxon Mobil Corporation and International Business Machines Corporation (EDGW-US, III-US, FCN-US, HURN-US, MMS-US, ICFI-US, XOM-US and IBM-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Summary numbers: Revenues of USD 71.46 million, Net Earnings of USD 5.29 million.
  • Gross margins narrowed from 32.17% to 31.48% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now 12.62% from 13.36%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of -23.54% is about the same as the change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Narrowing of operating margins contributed to decline in earnings.

The table below shows the preliminary results and recent trends for key metrics such as revenues and net income growth:

2017-09-30 2017-06-30 2017-03-31 2016-12-31 2016-09-30
Relevant Numbers (Quarterly)
Revenues (mil) 71.46 73.57 71.43 70.05 74.12
Revenue Growth (%YOY) -3.58 -2.7 3.85 5.57 10.27
Earnings (mil) 5.29 4.75 7.87 6.23 5.49
Earnings Growth (%YOY) -3.63 -12.78 79.69 53.51 79.46
Net Margin (%) 7.4 6.46 11.02 8.89 7.4
EPS 0.17 0.15 0.24 0.19 0.17
Return on Equity (%) 5.57 5.06 8.64 7.36 6.88
Return on Assets (%) 11.85 11.32 19.31 15.53 14.1

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Market Share Versus Profits

Revenues History
Earnings History

HCKT-US’s change in revenue this period compared to the same period last year of -3.58% is almost the same as its change in earnings, and is about average among the announced results thus far in its peer group, suggesting that HCKT-US is holding onto its market share. Also, for comparison purposes, revenues changed by -2.87% and earnings by 11.35% compared to the immediate last period.

Revenues Growth Versus Earnings Growth

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Leader, Earnings Focus, Laggard, Revenues Focus

Earnings Growth Analysis

The company’s year-on-year decline in earnings was influenced by a weakening in gross margins from 32.17% to 31.48%, as well as issues with cost controls. As a result, operating margins (EBITDA margins) went from 13.36% to 12.62% in this time frame. For comparison, gross margins were 31.77% and EBITDA margins were 12.51% in the previous period.

Gross Margin Versus EBITDA Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Differentiated; Low Cost, Commodity; Low Cost, Commodity; High Cost, Differentiated; High Cost

Gross Margin Trend

Companies sometimes sacrifice improvements in revenues and margins in order to extend friendlier terms to customers and vendors. Capital Cube probes for such activity by comparing the changes in gross margins with any changes in working capital. If the gross margins improved without a worsening of working capital, it is possible that the company’s performance is a result of truly delivering in the marketplace and not simply an accounting prop-up using the balance sheet.

Gross Margin History
Working Capital Days History

HCKT-US’s decline in gross margins has not produced any significant offsetting improvement in its working capital . This leads Capital Cube to conclude that the decline in gross margins are likely from operating issues and not trade-offs with the balance sheet. Working capital days are currently 33.66 days, compared to last year’s level of 21.05 days.

Gross Margin Versus Working Capital Days

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Customer Financed, Cash Starved, Supplier Financed, Cash Rich

Cash Versus Earnings – Sustainable Performance?

It is important to examine a company�s cash versus earnings numbers to gauge whether its performance is sustainable.

HCKT-US’s change in operating cash flow of -23.54% compared to the same period last year is about the same as its change in earnings this period. Additionally, this change in operating cash flow is about average among its peer group. This suggests that the company did not use accruals or reserves to manage earnings this period, and that, all else being equal, the earnings number is sustainable.

Operating Cash Flow Growth Versus Earnings Growth

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Cash Flow based Earnings, Likely Non-cash Earnings, Low Cash Flow Base, Likely Undeclared Earnings


The company’s decline in earnings has been influenced by the following factors: (1) Decline in operating margins (EBIT margins) from 12.15% to 11.02% and (2) one-time items that contributed to a decrease in pretax margins from 11.97% to 10.76%

EBIT Margin Versus PreTax Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Operation driven Earnings, One-time Favorables, Low Earnings Base, One-time Unfavorables
EBIT Margin History
PreTax Margin History

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Company Profile

The Hackett Group, Inc. is a property-based strategic consultancy and leading enterprise firm, which engages in the provision of advisory, benchmarking, and transformation consulting services. It also offers shared services, offshoring, and outsourcing advice; working capital solutions; and strategy and operations consulting services in the consumer and industrial products, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and financial services industry sectors. The firm offers business application consulting services that help maximize returns on information technology investments. The company was founded by Ted A. Fernandez and David N. Dungan in 1991 and is headquartered in Miami, FL.

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