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Financial Ratios

The use of financial figures to gain significant information about a company

What are Financial Ratios?

Financial ratios are created with the use of numerical values taken from financial statements to gain meaningful information about a company. The numbers found on a company’s financial statements – balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement are used to perform quantitative analysis and assess a company’s liquidity, leverage, growth, margins, profitability, rates of return, valuation, and more.

 

Financial Ratios

 

Financial ratios are grouped into the following categories:

  • Liquidity ratios
  • Leverage ratios
  • Efficiency ratios
  • Profitability ratios
  • Market value ratios

 

Uses and Users of Ratio Analysis

Ratio analysis serves two main purposes:

 

1. Track company performance:

Determining individual ratios per period and tracking the change in their values over time is done to spot trends that may be developing in the 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 the 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’s assets are being used most efficiently.

 

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

Liquidity ratios 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 Ratios

Leverage ratios measure the amount of capital that comes from debt. In other words, leverage ratios are used to evaluate a company’s debt levels. Common leverage ratios include the following:

The debt ratio measures the 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

 

The interest coverage ratio determines how easily a company can pay its interest expenses:

Interest coverage ratio = Operating income / Interest expenses

 

The debt service coverage ratio determines how easily a company can pay its debt obligations:

Debt service coverage ratio = Operating income / Total debt service

 

Efficiency Ratios

Efficiency ratios, also known as activity ratios, are used to measure how well a company is utilizing its assets and resources. Common efficiency ratios include:

The asset turnover ratio measures a company’s ability to generate sales from assets:

Asset turnover ratio = Net sales / Total assets

 

The inventory turnover ratio measures how many times a company’s inventory is sold and replaced over a given period:

Inventory turnover ratio = Cost of goods sold / Average inventory

 

The accounts receivable turnover ratio measures how many times a company can turn receivables into cash over a given period:

Receivables turnover ratio = Net credit sales / Average accounts receivable

 

The days sales in inventory ratio measures the average number of days that a company holds onto its inventory before selling it to customers:

Days sales in inventory ratio = 365 days / Inventory turnover ratio

 

Profitability Ratios

Profitability ratios measure a company’s ability to generate income relative to revenue, balance sheet assets, operating costs, and equity. Common profitability ratios include the following:

The gross margin ratio compares the gross profit of a company to its net sales to show how much profit a company makes after paying off its cost of goods sold:

Gross margin ratio = Gross profit / Net sales

 

The operating margin ratio compares the operating income of a company to its net sales to determine operating efficiency:

Operating margin ratio = Operating income / Net sales

 

The return on assets ratio measures how efficiently a company is using its assets to generate profit:

Return on assets ratio = Net income / Total assets

 

The return on equity ratio measures how efficiently a company is using its equity to generate profit:

Return on equity ratio = Net income / Shareholder’s equity

 

Market Value Ratios

Market value ratios are used to evaluate the share price of a company’s stock. Common market value ratios include the following:

The book value per share ratio calculates the per share value of a company based on equity available to shareholders:

Book value per share ratio = Shareholder’s equity / Total shares outstanding

 

The dividend yield ratio measures the amount of dividends attributed to shareholders relative to the market value per share:

Dividend yield ratio = Dividend per share / Share price

 

The earnings per share ratio measures the amount of net income earned for each share outstanding:

Earnings per share ratio = Net earnings / Total shares outstanding

 

The price-earnings ratio compares a company’s share price to the earnings per share:

Price-earnings ratio = Share price / Earnings per share

 

Related Readings

CFI is the official global provider of the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for investment banking professionals. To help you advance your career in the financial services industry, check out the following additional resources:

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