# Ratio Analysis

Ratio analysis uses quantitative methods to assess a company's liquidity, operational efficiency, and profitability. It relies on financial statements like the balance sheet and income statement, playing a crucial role in fundamental equity analysis.
What is Ratio Analysis?
01-August-2024

Ratio analysis is a widely used fundamental analysis tool. It helps us see how well a company is doing financially. Whether you are just starting to invest, learning about finance, or running your own business, knowing about ratio analysis can help you make smart financial choices.

It lets you know where to put your money, how to manage your budget and plan for the future. Let’s understand the ratio analysis definition, its types, and practical application.

## What is ratio analysis?

Ratio analysis is a financial tool used to evaluate a company’s performance by examining key financial ratios related to profitability, liquidity, solvency, and efficiency. It helps stakeholders understand the company’s financial health by analysing data from its balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.

Ratio analysis is important because it provides insights into a company’s ability to generate profits, meet its short-term and long-term obligations, and operate efficiently. By comparing ratios over time or against industry standards, businesses can make informed decisions. The ratio analysis formula is calculated by dividing the first number in the ratio by the second number. The result is typically represented as a decimal or, in some cases, multiplied by 100 and expressed as a percentage.

These ratios are derived from a company's financial statements, which typically include the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. By comparing different ratios over time or against industry benchmarks, you can gain valuable insights into a company's financial performance.

## How does ratio analysis help?

Ratio analysis serves several key purposes and helps investors in making better investment decisions. Let’s see them:

### Performance evaluation

• Ratio analysis helps in evaluating the financial performance of a company over time.
• By examining trends in ratios you can assess whether a company’s financial health is:
• Improving
• Stagnating, or
• Declining

### Comparison with industry benchmarks

• Ratio analysis allows for comparisons with industry benchmarks or standards.
• You can compare a company's ratios against:
• Industry averages or
• Competitors' performance
• This comparison helps you to:
• Identify areas of strength or weakness and
• Assess relative performance within the industry.

### Identification of financial trends

• By examining ratios you can identify financial trends and patterns that can impact future performance.
• For example,
• A declining trend in profitability ratios signals inefficiencies or competitive pressures
• While an improving trend in liquidity ratios indicates a strengthened financial position

## What are the advantages of ratio analysis?

• Ratio analysis helps you see how well a company is using its resources to generate profits.
• It provides valuable information about the financial health and performance of a business to its stakeholders.
• It allows you to compare the financial performance of different companies. This comparison helps you to understand a company’s relative strengths and weaknesses.

It helps assess a company's ability to meet short-term obligations (liquidity) and long-term financial stability (solvency).

## What are the types of ratio analysis?

Ratio analysis can be divided into four different types or categories. Let us see them:

### Type I: Liquidity Ratios

Liquidity ratios help us see if a company can meet its short-term obligations on time. This type can be further divided into:

 Aspects/Liquidity ratios Current ratio Quick ratio (or Acid-test ratio) Meaning This ratio measures the company's ability to pay off its short-term liabilities with its short-term assets. Unlike the current ratio, the quick ratio excludes inventory and prepaid expenses from current assets. This exclusion provides for a more conservative measure of liquidity. Formula Current Assets / Current Liabilities Quick Assets* / Current Liabilities Quick assets = Current Assets - Inventory - Prepaid expenses Ideal ratios An ideal current ratio is usually considered to be around 2:1. This means that the company has twice as many current assets as current liabilities. An ideal quick ratio is around 1:1. This suggests that the company can cover its short-term liabilities with its most liquid assets.

### Type II: Profitability Ratios

Profitability ratios help us understand how good a company is at making money relative to its revenue, assets, and liabilities. Let us understand these terms first:

Revenue

• This is how much money the company makes from selling its products or services.
• Profitability ratios show if the company is making enough profit compared to its revenue.

Assets

• These are things the company owns, like buildings, equipment, or cash.
• Profitability ratios help us see if the company is making good use of its assets to earn profits.

Equity

• This is the value of what's left for the company's owners after paying off all debts.
• Profitability ratios tell us if the company is earning enough profit for its owners compared to the money they've invested.

The profitability ratios can be further subdivided into three different types:

• Gross profit margin
• Net profit margin, and
• Return on equity (ROE)
 Aspects/Profitability ratios Gross profit margin Net profit margin Return on Equity (ROE) Meaning This ratio measures the portion of revenue that remains after subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS). The net profit margin measures the percentage of revenue that remains after deducting all expenses, including taxes and interest. ROE indicates how efficiently a company generates profits from its shareholders' equity. Formula (Revenue - COGS) / Revenue × 100 (Net Income / Revenue) × 100 (Net Income / Shareholders' Equity) × 100

### Type III: Solvency Ratios

Solvency ratios help us figure out if a company can handle its long-term financial obligations. Knowing this is crucial for several reasons:

• A company with strong solvency ratios is seen as less risky and more attractive for investment, while companies with weak solvency ratios are viewed with caution.

• Creditors, such as banks and bondholders, use solvency ratios to assess a company's ability to repay its debts. A company with favourable solvency ratios is more likely to receive:

• Favourable loan terms and

• Lower interest rates

• By monitoring solvency ratios you can get early warning signs of potential financial distress.

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Solvency ratios can be further divided into two subtypes:

• Debt-to-equity ratio
 Aspects/Solvency ratios Debt-to-equity ratio Interest coverage ratio Meaning This ratio looks at how much money a company owes compared to how much it owns. It helps us see if the company has a good balance between what it owns and what it owes. If the ratio is too high, it means the company is facing trouble paying off its debts. This ratio shows if a company can pay its interest expenses on loans. It compares the company's earnings to its interest payments. A higher ratio means the company is doing well and can easily cover its interest costs, while a lower ratio signals financial trouble. Formula Total Debt / Shareholders' Equity EBIT / Interest Expenses Ideal ratio A ratio of around 1:1 to 2:1 is often considered ideal. This indicates a balanced mix of: Debt financing and Equity financing It also suggests that the company is not overly reliant on debt to finance its operations. Ideally, the interest coverage ratio should be above 2:1. This implies that the company's earnings are at least twice as much as its interest expenses. This indicates that the company has sufficient earnings to cover its interest obligations comfortably.

### Type IV: Efficiency Ratios

Efficiency ratios evaluate how effectively a company utilises its resources to generate revenue and manage its operations. We can further divide them into:

• Inventory turnover ratio and

• Accounts receivable turnover ratio

 Aspects/Efficiency ratios Inventory turnover ratio Accounts receivable turnover ratio Meaning This ratio measures how many times a company sells and replaces its inventory within a specific period. This ratio assesses how efficiently a company collects payments from its customers. Formula Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) / Average Inventory Net Credit Sales / Average Accounts Receivable

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## Example of Ratio analysis

ABC Enterprises is a manufacturing company engaged in the business of making LED lights. It has returned the following financial figures for the year ending March 31, 2024:

• Total Debt: Rs. 5,00,000
• Shareholders' Equity: Rs. 10,00,000
• Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT): Rs. 7,00,000
• Interest Expenses: Rs. 1,00,000
• Gross Profit: Rs. 15,00,000
• Net Profit: Rs. 8,00,000
• Revenue: Rs. 30,00,000
• Inventory at the Beginning of the Year: Rs. 2,00,000
• Inventory at the End of the Year: Rs. 1,50,000
• Accounts Receivable at the Beginning of the Year: Rs. 1,50,000
• Accounts Receivable at the End of the Year: Rs. 2,00,000
• Current Assets: Rs. 8,00,000
• Current Liabilities: Rs. 3,00,000
• Cash and Cash Equivalents: Rs. 2,50,000
• Purchases: Rs. 5,00,000
• Direct Expenses: Rs. 4,50,000
• Net Credit Sales = Rs. 20,00,000

Based on the above data, now, let's calculate the specified ratios:

 Type of Ratio Formula Calculation Ratio Debt-to-Equity Ratio Total Debt / Shareholders' Equity Rs. 5,00,000 / Rs. 10,00,000 0.5 Interest Coverage Ratio EBIT / Interest Expenses Rs. 7,00,000 / Rs. 1,00,000 7 Gross Profit Margin (Gross Profit / Revenue) × 100 (Rs. 15,00,000 / Rs. 30,00,000) × 100 50% Net Profit Margin (Net Profit / Revenue) × 100 (Rs. 8,00,000 / Rs. 30,00,000) × 100 26.67% Return on Equity (ROE) (Net Profit / Shareholders' Equity) × 100 (Rs. 8,00,000 / Rs. 10,00,000) × 100 80% Current Ratio Current Assets / Current Liabilities Rs. 8,00,000 / Rs. 3,00,000 2.67 Quick Ratio (Acid-test Ratio (Current Assets - Inventory) / Current Liabilities (Rs. 8,00,000 - Rs. 1,50,000) / Rs. 3,00,000 2.17 Inventory Turnover Ratio Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) / Average Inventory COGS = 2,00,000 + 5,00,000 + 4,50,000- 1,50,000 = 10,00,000 Average Inventory = (Rs. 2,00,000 + Rs. 1,50,000) / 2 = 1,75,000 Inventory turnover ratio = 10,00,000/ 1,75,000 = 5.71 5.71 Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio Net Credit Sales / Average Accounts Receivable Average Accounts Receivable = (Rs. 1,50,000 + Rs. 2,00,000) / 2 = Rs. 1,75,000 Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio = Rs. 20,00,000 / Rs. 1,75,000 = 11.43 11.43

## What can we observe?

Based on the calculated ratios and financial figures for ABC Enterprises, we can make several common observations:

• (0.5)
• ABC Enterprises has a relatively conservative capital structure, with a lower proportion of debt compared to equity.
• This indicates a lower financial risk and less reliance on borrowed funds for financing its operations.
• Interest Coverage Ratio (7)
• The interest coverage ratio of 7 indicates that ABC Enterprises is generating sufficient earnings to cover its interest expenses comfortably.
• This suggests a strong ability to meet its interest obligations and indicates financial stability.
• Gross Profit Margin (50%)
• ABC Enterprises has a healthy gross profit margin of 50%, indicating that it:
• Effectively manages its production costs and
• Generates a significant profit margin on its products.
• This suggests efficient cost management and pricing strategies.
• Net Profit Margin (26.67%)
• The net profit margin of 26.67% indicates that ABC Enterprises retains approximately 26.67% of its revenue as net profit after accounting for all expenses and taxes.
• This reflects efficient operations and effective management of expenses.
• Return on Equity (ROE) (80%)
• ABC Enterprises achieves an impressive return on equity of 80%, indicating that it generates significant profits relative to the shareholders' equity invested in the company.
• This suggests efficient utilisation of shareholders' funds to generate returns.
• Current Ratio (2.67) and Quick Ratio (2.17)
• ABC Enterprises has a current ratio of 2.67 and a quick ratio of 2.17, indicating a healthy liquidity position.
• The current assets are more than sufficient to cover its short-term liabilities
• Inventory Turnover Ratio (5.71)
• The inventory turnover ratio of 5.71 suggests that ABC Enterprises efficiently manages its inventory by quickly selling and replenishing stock.
• This indicates effective inventory management and avoids holding excess inventory.
• Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio (11.43)
• ABC Enterprises has a high accounts receivable turnover ratio of 11.43, indicating that it efficiently collects payments from its customers.
• This suggests:
• Effective credit management and
• Timely collection of receivables

## Importance and uses of ratio analysis

Ratio analysis is a vital tool used to evaluate and interpret a company's financial health, efficiency, and performance. It helps in making informed decisions by providing a clearer understanding of various financial aspects. Below are some key uses and the importance of ratio analysis in assessing a company's financial stability and operational efficiency.

### 1. Analysis of financial statements

Ratio analysis helps in breaking down complex financial statements into simpler ratios, making it easier to understand a company's performance. It provides insights into the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow, helping investors, stakeholders, and management assess the overall financial position of the firm.

### 2. Helps in understanding the profitability of the company

Profitability ratios like gross profit margin, net profit margin, and return on equity provide valuable insights into how well a company generates profit relative to its sales, assets, and shareholders' equity. It allows businesses to gauge their profitability and identify areas for improvement.

### 3. Analysis of operational efficiency of the firms

Operational efficiency ratios such as inventory turnover and asset turnover measure how effectively a company is using its resources to generate revenue. This helps firms pinpoint inefficiencies in operations and streamline processes for better productivity.

### 4. Liquidity of the firms

Liquidity ratios, such as the current ratio and quick ratio, measure a firm's ability to meet short-term obligations. This analysis ensures that the company maintains enough liquidity to cover immediate liabilities, protecting it from potential financial crises.

### 5. Helps in identifying the business risks of the firm

Business risk is linked to the volatility in a company's operational performance. Ratio analysis helps identify such risks by analysing operating leverage and variability in earnings. This assists firms in mitigating risks and stabilising their performance.

### 6. Helps in identifying the financial risks of the company

Financial risk is associated with a firm's capital structure and debt levels. Debt-to-equity and interest coverage ratios provide insights into how much risk the company is taking by using debt to finance its operations. Ratio analysis aids in maintaining a balanced financial risk profile.

### 7. For planning and future forecasting of the firm

Ratio analysis is not just a tool for assessing the present but also for planning future business strategies. By analyzing historical financial ratios, companies can predict future trends, helping in setting realistic goals and preparing for market fluctuations.

### 8. To compare the performance of the firms

Comparing financial ratios between firms within the same industry allows for benchmarking. It helps in identifying competitive advantages or areas where a company may be lagging behind, enabling better strategic decisions to enhance performance.

## Application of ratio analysis

When you use ratio analysis, you get various figures to compare. However, these numbers alone aren't very useful. You need to compare these figures with other data, like industry averages or past performance. This helps you see if the company is financially strong, weak, getting better, or getting worse. Such a comparison can be made in three ways, representing the practical application of ratio analysis.

### 1. Ratio analysis over time

By tracking changes in specific ratios over time, you can see how a company has been performing during that period. Often such an observation reveals potential risks and shows what growth trends the company might follow.

To do this, pick one financial ratio and calculate it at regular intervals (like every quarter). Then, look at how this ratio changes over time. Lay special focus on checking:

• Is the ratio improving?
• How fast is the ratio changing?
• Whether the changes in ratio align with the company’s goals?

While comparing, always remember that some changes might be temporary or due to seasonal factors. Hence, be careful when comparing monthly ratios because these fluctuations can affect the analysis.

### 2. Ratio analysis across companies

By comparing a company's ratios to those of similar companies in the same industry, you can see how well it's performing. For example, a company with a 10% gross profit margin might be doing well if the average of its competitors is 5%. However, if the average of its competitors is 25%, the company may be struggling.

To make a meaningful comparison, the following key considerations must be followed when comparing ratios between companies:

• Only compare companies within the same industry.
• Be aware that different capital structures (how they finance operations) and sizes affect efficiency.
• Consider differences in product lines (e.g., one company sells physical products while another offers similar services).
• Remember that different industries have different expectations. For example, a high debt-equity ratio might be normal for a utility company but too high for a tech company.

### 3. Ratio analysis against benchmarks

It is worth mentioning that companies often set internal targets or specific goals for their financial ratios. These goals are majorly set to maintain current levels or to achieve growth. For example, if a company has a current ratio of 1.1 and wants to improve its liquidity, it might set a target to reach a current ratio of 1.2 by the end of the year.

External parties, like lenders, also set benchmarks for companies. These benchmarks are requirements for maintaining certain financial health levels. For example, a lender might require a company to maintain a specific debt service coverage ratio (this ratio compares the company’s cash flow to its debt). Now, if the company fails to meet these benchmarks, the lender might demand repayment of the loan or increase the interest rate.

## What are the disadvantages of ratio analysis?

• Sometimes, financial statements are complex and can be difficult to understand. Such complexity makes ratio analysis challenging.
• Comparing companies from different industries can be misleading because they operate under different market conditions and regulations.
• It must be noted that financial data is influenced by various opinions and assumptions. Applying different accounting methods usually makes comparisons less accurate and reduces the usefulness of ratio analysis.
• Ratio analysis mainly looks at past data, while users are more interested in current and future information.

## Key takeaways

• Ratio analysis helps you compare different figures from a company's financial statements to see how well it’s doing in terms of profit, liquidity, efficiency, and financial stability.
• You can use ratio analysis to see how a company’s performance changes over time or to compare it with other similar companies.
• Sometimes, external parties like lenders use ratio analysis to set benchmarks and assess risk.
• Ratios are helpful, but to obtain a complete view of a company’s financial health, they should be used alongside other financial metrics.
• Some common examples of ratios you can analyse are the current ratio (liquidity), gross profit margin ratio (profitability), and inventory turnover ratio (efficiency).

## Conclusion

Ratio analysis is a powerful tool that helps in performing a fundamental analysis of a company. It helps investors know about the financial performance of a company which is key to making smart investment decisions.

We can divide ratio analysis into four broad categories with each making different indications. Through liquidity ratios, you can gauge a company's ability to meet its short-term obligations, while profitability ratios shed light on its ability to generate profits from its operations. Solvency ratios provide insights into a company's long-term financial stability, and efficiency ratios offer clues about its operational effectiveness.

By comparing a company's ratios to industry benchmarks, historical trends, and competitors' performance, you can understand which companies to pick and invest in.

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What do you mean by ratio analysis?
Ratio analysis are fundamental analysis tool. By comparing them with industry benchmarks, you can assess the financial health of a company.
What are the four types of ratio analysis?

Ratio analysis can be divided into four types, which are:

• Liquidity ratios
• Solvency ratios
• Profitability ratios, and
• Efficiency ratios

Where can I find financial data to conduct ratio analysis?

Financial data required for ratio analysis can typically be found in a company's financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. This information is often available in annual reports, quarterly filings with regulatory authorities, and financial databases.

Can ratio analysis be used for different types of companies?
Yes, ratio analysis can be applied to companies of all sizes and across different industries. However, the choice of ratios and benchmarks may vary depending on the specific characteristics of the company and its industry.
What are the steps in ratio analysis?

To perform ratio analysis, start by collecting relevant financial data from the company's financial statements. Next, calculate various financial ratios using this data. Post-calculation, compare these ratios to benchmarks such as past ratios, industry averages, or those of competitors.

Finally, interpret the results to draw conclusions about the company's financial health and performance. By performing such an analysis, you can assess how well the company is doing and how it compares with others in the industry.

What are the objectives of ratio analysis?

The objectives of ratio analysis are to make accounting information easier to understand and to assess a company's financial health. It helps determine liquidity, which is the ability of a company to meet its short-term financial obligations. Also, it assesses the solvency position of a company, which shows the company’s ability to meet both short-term and long-term financial commitments. Hence, through ratio analysis, you can obtain a clearer picture of the company’s financial stability.

What is the formula used in ratio analysis?

The ratio analysis formula is expressed as ”, where "a" and "b" are the figures from the financial statements being compared. For example, if you are calculating Inventory Turnover Ratio, “a” represents the Net Sales and “b” represents the Inventory.

It must be noted that this general formula can be used to calculate percentages that indicate various aspects of a company’s performance. Some commonly used ratios derived from this formula provide quick insights into a company’s financial condition and help make informed decisions.

What are the three methods of ratio analysis?

There are three key types of ratio analysis used to assess a company's ability to meet short-term financial obligations. Firstly, the “current ratio” measures the ability to pay short-term debts with all current assets. Secondly, several analysts use quick ratio (also known as acid-test ratio), a stricter measure that focuses on the ability to pay short-term liabilities with only the most liquid assets, excluding inventory. Lastly, the third ratio is the cash ratio, which is the most conservative. It evaluates the company's capability to cover short-term debts using only cash and cash equivalents.

How to solve ratio analysis?

To perform ratio analysis, you must start by gathering information from the financial statements of a company and then apply the following formulas:

• Current ratio = (Current assets)/(Current liabilities)
• Quick ratio = (Cash and Cash equivalents + Account receivables)/(Current liabilities)
• Cash ratio = (Cash and Cash equivalents)/(Current liabilities)

After calculating these ratios, compare with benchmarks or with competitors to assess a company’s liquidity position and its ability to meet short-term debt obligations.

What are the limitations of ratio analysis?

Ratio analysis has several limitations. First, it relies on historical data. Consequently, it might not reflect the company’s current situation. Second, it doesn’t consider external factors like economic downturns or global recessions, which can impact financial performance.

Lastly, ratio analysis doesn’t account for the human element, such as employee skills, morale, or management effectiveness. It must be noted that these intangible elements also significantly affect a company’s success and ignoring them might result in skewed or biased results.

Hence, due to these limitations, ratio analysis should be used alongside other tools for a complete view of a company’s performance.

How does ratio analysis aid in decision-making for investors and creditors?

Ratio analysis helps investors and creditors evaluate a company's financial health, profitability, liquidity, and risk levels. By assessing key ratios, such as debt-to-equity, return on equity, and current ratio, they can make informed decisions about lending, investing, or adjusting their stake in the business.

Why is profitability analysis important in ratio analysis?

Profitability analysis is crucial as it measures a company's ability to generate profit relative to sales, assets, or shareholders' equity. It helps stakeholders understand how efficiently the company is converting revenue into profit, ensuring sustainable growth and return on investments.

What is the role of efficiency ratios in ratio analysis?

Efficiency ratios, such as inventory turnover and asset turnover, evaluate how well a company utilises its assets to generate revenue. These ratios help in identifying operational strengths and weaknesses, allowing businesses to improve productivity and better manage resources for higher profitability.

How can ratio analysis be used for future forecasting?

Ratio analysis allows companies to track historical financial data and identify trends over time. By analysing patterns in profitability, liquidity, and debt ratios, firms can make accurate projections about future performance, helping them in strategic planning and resource allocation.

How does ratio analysis help in identifying business risks?

Ratio analysis helps identify business risks by highlighting areas of financial instability or operational inefficiency. Ratios like operating leverage and variability in earnings allow companies to detect potential risks in cash flow, debt management, and market performance, leading to better risk mitigation strategies.

Can ratio analysis be used to compare companies in different industries?

While ratio analysis is valuable for intra-industry comparisons, it is less effective when comparing companies across different industries due to varying business models, capital structures, and market dynamics. Ratios are more meaningful when applied to companies operating within the same sector.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when conducting ratio analysis?

Common mistakes in ratio analysis include over-reliance on a single ratio, ignoring industry benchmarks, and not considering external factors like economic conditions. Additionally, using outdated or inaccurate financial data can lead to misleading conclusions, resulting in poor decision-making.

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