The use of financial figures to gain significant information about a company
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Financial ratios are grouped into the following categories:
Market value ratios
Uses and Users of Financial Ratio Analysis
Analysis of financial ratios serves two main purposes:
1. Track company performance
Determining individual financial ratios per period and tracking the change in their values over time is done to spot trends that may be developing in a company. For example, an increasing debt-to-asset ratio may indicate that a company is overburdened with debt and may eventually be facing default risk.
2. Make comparative judgments regarding company performance
Comparing financial ratios with that of major competitors is done to identify whether a company is performing better or worse than the industry average. For example, comparing the return on assets between companies helps an analyst or investor to determine which company is making the most efficient use of its assets.
Users of financial ratios include parties external and internal to the company:
External users: Financial analysts, retail investors, creditors, competitors, tax authorities, regulatory authorities, and industry observers
Internal users: Management team, employees, and owners
Liquidity ratios are financial ratios that measure a company’s ability to repay both short- and long-term obligations. Common liquidity ratios include the following:
The current ratio measures a company’s ability to pay off short-term liabilities with current assets:
Current ratio = Current assets / Current liabilities
The acid-test ratio measures a company’s ability to pay off short-term liabilities with quick assets:
Acid-test ratio = Current assets – Inventories / Current liabilities
The cash ratio measures a company’s ability to pay off short-term liabilities with cash and cash equivalents:
Cash ratio = Cash and Cash equivalents / Current Liabilities
The operating cash flow ratio is a measure of the number of times a company can pay off current liabilities with the cash generated in a given period:
Operating cash flow ratio = Operating cash flow / Current liabilities
Leverage Financial Ratios
Leverage ratios measure the amount of capital that comes from debt. In other words, leverage financial ratios are used to evaluate a company’s debt levels. Common leverage ratios include the following:
The debt ratio measures the relative amount of a company’s assets that are provided from debt:
Debt ratio = Total liabilities / Total assets
The debt to equity ratio calculates the weight of total debt and financial liabilities against shareholders’ equity:
Debt to equity ratio = Total liabilities / Shareholder’s equity
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