(Adds forecast, share price, analyst comment, background on sector)
By Arjun Panchadar
Sept 27 (Reuters) - Accenture Plc's profit forecast for the year fell short of estimates, overshadowing better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and profit and sending its shares down about 2 percent.
The consulting and outsourcing services provider said the forecast assumes impact from a stronger dollar, and that the possibility of a "hard" Brexit and the ongoing trade war could impact its business.
The company said it expects full-year profit between $6.98 per share and $7.25 per share, below the average estimate of $7.28 per share. It also said it expects full-year revenue growth between 5 percent and 8 percent in local currency.
"Accenture reported solid numbers, driven by growth across all its segments. They provided FY19 guidance of 5-8 percent local currency revenue growth; and commented that the macro is incrementally more volatile, primarily due to disputes around global trade and the potential for a hard Brexit," Arvind Ramnani, analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets said.
Like its peers, Accenture has been focusing on cloud computing, cyber-security and analytics to reduce its reliance on IT services, where margins are falling as clients demand more work for less money.
Accenture has spent about $3.4 billion over the last three years — nearly half of it in fiscal 2017 — on some 70 acquisitions, to boost its digital and cloud services in order to compete better with Cognizant and IBM.
Much of the company's recent growth has been driven by these services, which include everything from managing clients' social media marketing strategies to helping them move operations to the cloud.
Revenue from its digital, cloud and security-related services, which the company terms as "the New", made up more than 60 percent of total revenue.
Net income attributable to the company rose to $1.03 billion, or $1.58 per share, from $932.5 million, or $1.48 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, a year earlier.
Accenture's profit beat the average analyst estimate of $1.56 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Net revenue rose to $10.15 billion, ahead of estimates of $10.01 billion.
The company also raised its semi-annual cash dividend by 10 percent to $1.46 and said its board had approved an additional share repurchase program of $5 billion.
Accenture's shares were down 2 pct at $169.29 in early trading. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)