Anchored by gains in its financial services and products operating units, consulting giant Accenture posted a 70 percent rise in second-quarter earnings, to $209.8 million for the period ended Feb. 28. Meanwhile, system-wide revenue rose nearly 15 percent, to $4.22 billion, over the year-ago period. The former Andersen Consulting said that new bookings totaled $4.88 billion, with $2.81 billion of that stemming from consulting services, and outsourcing revenue accounting for $2.07 billion. However, the company said that gross margins fell to 30.8 percent from 33 percent, as a result of deployment delays, cost overruns and delivery inefficiencies. "We had strong top- and bottom-line performance this quarter," chief executive William D. Green said in a statement. "In addition, we made great progress on the operational challenges that we identified in the first quarter, including our free cash flow, client balances and attrition."

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