What are financial ratios? Definition and meaning


Financial StatementFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company’s management to present the company’s financial affairs over a given period . Ratio measures the effectiveness with which a firm uses its financial resources. Perhaps the most straightforward measure of a firm’s use of debt financing is the total-debt ratio.

  • This ratio is particularly important for lenders of short-term debt to the firm, since short-term debt is usually paid out of current operating revenue.
  • Several financial ratios can be used to measure a company’s risk level, particularly in relationship to servicing debts and other obligations.
  • The dividend payout ratio represents the percentage of a company’s net income that was paid out to shareholders as dividends.
  • So, when inventory is illiquid, this ratio is a better liquidity indicator than the current ratio.
  • The fourth type of financial ratio analysis is the business risk ratio.
  • Slow paying customers reduce a business’s ability to generate cash from their accounts receivable.

A lower https://quick-bookkeeping.net/ payables outstanding implies that a business is letting go of cash too quickly and may not be taking advantage of longer credit terms. On the other hand, when the DPO is too high, it means a company delays paying its suppliers, which can lead to disputes. For companies in the manufacturing and production industries with high inventory levels, inventory turnover is an important ratio that measures how often inventory is used and replaced for operations.

Profitability ratios

It is the ratio of net income to turnover expressed in percentage. However, if the ratio is less than 2, repayment of liability will be difficult and affect the work. The Client commits to make his own research and from external sources as well to make any investment. The net incomeis usually from the most recent time period and the numbers in the denominator are either from the start of that period or an average value over the period. Proportion of a stock’s (asset’s) risk that can be explained by the market.

  • Dividend policy ratios help us determine a firm’s prospects for future growth.
  • The line between gross and operating profit is an artifical one.
  • Shareholders and analysts compare the dividend per share to the company’s share price using the dividend yield ratio.
  • External users include security analysts, current and potential investors, creditors, competitors, and other industry observers.
  • Liquidity ratios tell us about a company’s ability to meet its short-term financial obligations.

An investor can easily compare the two companies and conclude that ABC converted 50% of its revenues into profits, while DEF only converted 10%. Benchmarks are also frequently implemented by external parties such lenders. Lending institutions often set requirements for financial health. If these benchmarks are not met, an entire loan may be callable or a company may be faced with an adjusted higher rate of interest to compensation for this risk. An example of a benchmark set by a lender is often the debt service coverage ratio which measures a company’s cash flow against it’s debt balances. Examples of ratio analysis include current ratio, gross profit margin ratio, inventory turnover ratio.

Financial ratio

If an investment’s DCF is calculated as being greater than its present cost, then it may result in positive returns. Because investors can only estimate future cash flows and the value of investments, DCF has the potential to be inaccurate. Financial ratios are powerful tools to help summarize financial statements and the health of a company or enterprise. Investors can use ratio analysis easily, and every figure needed to calculate the ratios is found on a company’s financial statements. Operating IncomeOperating Income, also known as EBIT or Recurring Profit, is an important yardstick of profit measurement and reflects the operating performance of the business.

Non-operating income includes items not related to operations, such as investment income, contributions, gains from the sale of assets and other unrelated business activities. There is no cut and dry rule for what makes a good financial ratio. There are many types of financial ratios, and each ratio must be interpreted based on the historic ratios of the company, as well as how it compares to its competitors. It is useful for evaluating the total profitability of a company’s products and services.

What are the four types of financial ratios?

For example, if someone refers to a firm’s “profit margin” of 18 percent, are they referring to gross profit margin, operating margin, or net profit margin? Similarly, is a quotation of a “debt ratio” a reference to the total debt ratio, the long-term debt ratio, or the debt-to-equity ratio? These types of confusions can make the use of ratio analysis a frustrating experience.

Are financial ratios important?

Why is financial ratio analysis important? Analyzing your company's financial ratios can provide you with valuable insights into profitability, liquidity, efficiency and more. These ratios can help you visualize how your company has performed over a given period of time.

Again, we can find both in the balance sheet, in the liability and shareholder equity section. This ratio reflects the amount of cash flow being applied to total outstanding debt (all current liabilities in addition to long-term debt) and reflects how much cash can be applied to debt repayment. The lower this ratio, the more likely a hospital will be unable to meet debt payments of interest and principal and the higher the likelihood of violating any debt covenants. Understand what a financial ratio is, identify the types of financial ratios, and see what constitutes financial ratio analysis.

Economic ratios

When service oriented and retail firms want to grow, their invstment is often in short term assets and the non-cash working capital measures this reinvestment. Non-cash Working Capital Change in non-cash working capital from period to period New investment in short term assets of a business. An increase in non-cash working capital is a negative cash flow since it represents new investment.


Return on equity tells the rate of return obtained by shareholders on the capital they invest in the company. It measures a company’s efficiency in generating profits from equity capital and shows how well it uses it to generate net income. Second, we divide net income by balance sheet items, such as assets, equity, and capital. In this case, the ratio shows how high the company’s rate of return is for each asset, equity, and capital used. The debt to equity ratio shows how much the company’s debt is relative to equity capital.