From our Chair & CEO
2021 Letter to Shareholders
Creating value in fiscal 2021
In fiscal 2021, we delivered both outstanding financial results and 360° value beyond our financials in the most unprecedented and uncertain period our market has ever experienced. Our results reflect the dedication and hard work of our now more than 600,000 talented people, who are focused on creating value that matters for all our stakeholders—clients, each other, shareholders, partners and communities—despite the ongoing and sometimes extreme challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to record revenues, new bookings and profitability, we celebrated more than 120,000 promotions and delivered over 31 million training hours for our team. We added approximately 118,000 people to our global workforce, creating significant employment opportunities in our communities, and donated $54 million in COVID-19 surge relief. We are now 46% women, on track to achieve our goal of gender parity by 2025, and we are honored to hold the number one position with our largest ecosystem partners. We are now using 50% renewable electricity in our offices and centers around the world, on our way to our goal of 100% in 2023.
We measure our success on how well we create 360° value for all stakeholders. We believe this commitment, along with our innovative mindset and culture of shared success, is directly linked to the trust of our clients and partners and our ability to attract great people. Together, we are helping our clients, which are among the world’s leading companies and governments, navigate a changing world and transform their organizations to thrive.
I am confident in our ability to continue to meet the urgency of the challenges and opportunities ahead for our clients and deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity for all. We are excited for the new fiscal year and new opportunities to lead and create value for our clients, each other and the world.
Creating 360° value
In fiscal 2021, we reached revenues of $50.5 billion—a significant milestone that represents 11% growth in local currency and the addition of $6.2 billion in revenue for the year. We gained significant market share, expanding our operating margin 40 basis points while investing significantly in our business and our people, and returned $5.9 billion to shareholders.
Importantly, we delivered on our financial commitments by creating value that matters for all of our stakeholders—beginning with the needs of our clients, which include more than three-quarters of the FORTUNE Global 500. Of our top 100 clients, 98 have been with us for more than 10 years. Seventy-two of our clients had bookings greater than $100 million. We ended fiscal 2021 with 229 Diamond clients, our largest client relationships. We are helping many of them achieve simultaneous and accelerated change, which we call compressed transformation.
In line with our long-standing partnership with the UN Global Compact and advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we will expand the reporting we have been doing for more than a decade based on the Global Reporting Initiative and Carbon Disclosure Project. We will include disclosure against three additional environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks: Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) and the World Economic Forum International Business Council (WEF IBC) metrics. In December, we will present our first-ever integrated 360° Value Report to more fully describe the value we created in all directions.
Delivering on the promise of technology and human ingenuity
Technology is the single biggest driver of change in companies today, and as a technology powerhouse, we are well prepared to help our clients navigate their futures. Clients are turning to us as the trusted partner of choice to help them transform and achieve their own goals.
For example, Shiseido, a leading global beauty company headquartered in Japan, launched a fundamental business transformation aiming to become a global leader in premium skin beauty by 2030, under their strategy “WIN 2023 and Beyond.” We are partnering with them to accelerate digital transformation and create personalized and seamless customer experiences by bringing together our capabilities and expertise in Interactive, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and automation, while at the same time helping employees gain high-level digital skills.
Clients value the depth and breadth of the knowledge and experience our integrated global teams bring to their entire enterprise—across Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations—and industry and functional expertise.
The power of this unique combination is in full view, for example, at Halliburton, a leader in providing products and services to the energy industry. We are helping them move to the cloud and digitally transform their supply chain and manufacturing functions, leveraging our SynOps platform, which we already use as part of Halliburton’s digital transformation of their finance and accounting function.
Our clients also value our continuous innovation mindset and count on us to anticipate and invest ahead of their needs so they can continue to lead in their industries.
As an example, we have been investing in cloud for a decade. When we saw a year ago that the pandemic would accelerate our clients’ move to the cloud, we created Accenture Cloud First to connect all of our capabilities—from migration, to cloud-native development, data, AI, industry, talent and change. In fiscal 2021, this move helped drive the growth in our overall cloud revenue from $12 billion to $18 billion.
Our cloud capabilities have become critical to our clients’ success. Our strategic collaboration with Takeda, a global biopharmaceutical leader, will modernize their technology platforms while creating tangible business value. This entails moving 80% of applications to the cloud, accelerating data services, enabling innovation, and equipping employees with new skills and ways of working, while reducing their carbon footprint and contributing to their goal of increasing plasma collection and manufacturing by 2024 utilizing these new capabilities.
Additionally, we have been investing in digital experience capabilities for more than a decade in Accenture Interactive. Today, it has grown to $12.5 billion in revenue and continues to set a new standard for customer experience, connection, sales and marketing. It sits at the intersection of data, creativity and technology, and is tied to the ever-changing needs of customers. By combining our Interactive and Operations services, together with AI-powered insights from our SynOps platform, we are helping Jaguar Land Rover transform their global marketing model to deliver a more personalized customer experience.
As we create 360° value through the things we build and nurture, we also create value by helping protect our clients. The digital threat landscape continues to evolve, and we continue to broaden our existing capabilities in Security, now $4.4 billion in revenue, to meet the expanding needs of our clients.
During the year, Accenture Federal Services acquired Novetta, an advanced analytics company serving U.S. Federal organizations. It further demonstrates what’s possible with analytics, machine learning, cyber and cloud engineering to transform how defense, intelligence and law enforcement organizations use data to better meet their missions and empower their workforces.
Overall, we continued to invest at an even higher level than ever before. In fiscal 2021, we invested $4.2 billion in acquisitions, $900 million in learning and professional development, and $1.1 billion in R&D in assets, platforms and industry solutions, to extend our capabilities in new technologies including blockchain, robotics, 5G, quantum computing and Edge computing. Our portfolio of patents and pending patent applications has grown to more than 8,200.
The combination of our own innovation and that of our ecosystem partners allows us to amplify and accelerate our scale and speed in a way that supercharges the value we deliver to our clients and all of our stakeholders.
Our continued success is possible because of our people. We are guided by our belief that people want to work for companies that create value and lead with values. We offer a strong employee value proposition through vibrant career paths. We have an unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity, and a true culture of equality, both of which are core to our values as a company and critical to our success and growth. We are proud to rank among the top three companies on the Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Index for the fourth consecutive year.
We continued making substantial impacts in the communities where our clients and our people live and work. In addition to providing $54 million in COVID-19 surge relief, we supported organizations on the front lines, from UNICEF’s COVID-19 Response Efforts to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. We also supported local relief efforts in our communities with significant challenges, including Africa, Brazil, India and the Philippines.
Beyond tackling COVID-19, we work together with our partners in a number of important areas. We are proud to report that our Skills to Succeed initiative has equipped more than 5.5 million people since 2009 with the skills to make substantive improvements to their lives. This includes a recent grant to help Upwardly Global assist 1,400 Afghan refugees and Special Immigrant Visa holders in finding long-term employment aligned with their capabilities. We continue nearly two decades of work through Accenture Development Partnerships, applying the talents of our people, capabilities and experience to improve lives by addressing complex social, economic and environmental issues around the world. As an example, we are reimagining access to health care through artificial intelligence, defining innovative opportunities and shaping the roadmap to AI maturity for low-income countries.
We begin fiscal 2022 with a strong foundation and continued momentum across our business. While we are in a time of profound digital transformation with ongoing exponential technology change, many companies are just beginning their journey. Even for companies that are transformation leaders or those working with us to leapfrog ahead, there is still a lot of work to do.
For example, both the things companies make, and the way they make things, are being dramatically changed by technology. This is the focus of Industry X, which we believe is the next big digital frontier. It is an area in which we have invested for nearly a decade and now accounts for approximately $5 billion in revenue. We recently closed our acquisition of umlaut and are excited to welcome 4,200 industry-leading engineers and consultants to the Accenture family.
As we continuously focus on anticipating our clients’ needs, another important area is sustainability, where technology is evolving along with the need to urgently address the UN Sustainable Development Goals, aligned with the UN Global Compact Principles.
Fundamentally, we believe that every business must be a sustainable business. It matters to all of us. Yet companies are at very early stages. Last year, we built on our years of investment and experience to launch our expanded suite of sustainability services for our clients. They include areas such as net-zero industry transitions, responsible value chains, sustainable technologies, ESG measurement, consumer experiences, and developing sustainable organizations, leadership and learning. We have continued to accelerate our focus in this expanding market, and we are proud of the work we are doing with leading partners like Mastercard as we enhance its ability to track and analyze the carbon emissions of its suppliers.
Of course, examples of our clients’ sustainability efforts must be matched by the example we set ourselves across the UN Sustainable Development Goals—making a positive impact to the environment and creating sustainable value now and in the future. I will share a few highlights.
We are building on our long-standing commitment to reduce our emissions, doing our part to keep global warming below 1.5° Celsius, and remaining thoughtful about how we travel and how we work with suppliers as part of our commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2025. We are also working on nature-based carbon removal projects around the world to reforest land with native species, rebuild biodiversity, make agriculture more sustainable, help build industry through green jobs, and allow natural ecosystems to rebound and thrive—all while removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
In addition, as part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity and a culture of equality noted above, we continue to make progress on our goals for gender parity, as well as increased race and ethnicity representation in our workforce by 2025.
I want to thank our incredible people around the world for their hard work and commitment to living our purpose in a culture of shared success. I also want to thank our clients, shareholders, partners and communities for their continued trust and support.
More than ever, we are committed to creating measurable, 360° value in the year ahead and in every direction, for all our stakeholders.
Chair & Chief Executive Officer
October 15, 2021