Ratios and Formulas in Customer Financial Analysis

Financial statement analysis is a judgmental process. One of the primary objectives is identification of major changes in trends, and relationships and the investigation of the reasons underlying those changes. The judgment process can be improved by experience and the use of analytical tools. Probably the most widely used financial analysis technique is ratio analysis, the analysis of relationships between two or more line items on the financial statement. Financial ratios are usually expressed in percentage or times. Generally, financial ratios are calculated for the purpose of evaluating aspects of a company's operations and fall into the following categories:

A ratio can be computed from any pair of numbers. Given the large quantity of variables included in financial statements, a very long list of meaningful ratios can be derived. A standard list of ratios or standard computation of them does not exist. The following ratio presentation includes ratios that are most often used when evaluating the credit worthiness of a customer. Ratio analysis becomes a very personal or company driven procedure. Analysts are drawn to and use the ones they are comfortable with and understand.

Liquidity Ratios

Working Capital
Working capital compares current assets to current liabilities, and serves as the liquid reserve available to satisfy contingencies and uncertainties. A high working capital balance is mandated if the entity is unable to borrow on short notice. The ratio indicates the short-term solvency of a business and in determining if a firm can pay its current liabilities when due.

  • Formula
    Current Assets
    - Current Liabilities

    Acid Test or Quick Ratio
    A measurement of the liquidity position of the business. The quick ratio compares the cash plus cash equivalents and accounts receivable to the current liabilities. The primary difference between the current ratio and the quick ratio is the quick ratio does not include inventory and prepaid expenses in the calculation. Consequently, a business's quick ratio will be lower than its current ratio. It is a stringent test of liquidity.

  • Formula
    Cash + Marketable Securities + Accounts Receivable
    Current Liabilities

    Current Ratio
    Provides an indication of the liquidity of the business by comparing the amount of current assets to current liabilities. A business's current assets generally consist of cash, marketable securities, accounts receivable, and inventories. Current liabilities include accounts payable, current maturities of long-term debt, accrued income taxes, and other accrued expenses that are due within one year. In general, businesses prefer to have at least one dollar of current assets for every dollar of current liabilities. However, the normal current ratio fluctuates from industry to industry. A current ratio significantly higher than the industry average could indicate the existence of redundant assets. Conversely, a current ratio significantly lower than the industry average could indicate a lack of liquidity.

  • Formula
    Current Assets
    Current Liabilities

    Cash Ratio
    Indicates a conservative view of liquidity such as when a company has pledged its receivables and its inventory, or the analyst suspects severe liquidity problems with inventory and receivables.

  • Formula
    Cash Equivalents + Marketable Securities
    Current Liabilities

    Profitability Ratios

    Net Profit Margin (Return on Sales)
    A measure of net income dollars generated by each dollar of sales.

  • Formula
    Net Income *
    Net Sales

    * Refinements to the net income figure can make it more accurate than this ratio computation. They could include removal of equity earnings from investments, "other income" and "other expense" items as well as minority share of earnings and nonrecuring items.

    Return on Assets
    Measures the company's ability to utilize its assets to create profits.

  • Formula
    Net Income *
    (Beginning + Ending Total Assets) / 2

    Operating Income Margin
    A measure of the operating income generated by each dollar of sales.

  • Formula
    Operating Income
    Net Sales

    Return on Investment
    Measures the income earned on the invested capital.

  • Formula
    Net Income *
    Long-term Liabilities + Equity

    Return on Equity
    Measures the income earned on the shareholder's investment in the business.

  • Formula
    Net Income *
    Equity

    Du Pont Return on Assets
    A combination of financial ratios in a series to evaluate investment return. The benefit of the method is that it provides an understanding of how the company generates its return.

  • Formula
    Net Income *
    Sales
    x Sales
    Assets
    x Assets
    Equity

    Gross Profit Margin
    Indicates the relationship between net sales revenue and the cost of goods sold. This ratio should be compared with industry data as it may indicate insufficient volume and excessive purchasing or labor costs.

  • Formula
    Gross Profit
    Net Sales

    Financial Leverage Ratio

    Total Debts to Assets
    Provides information about the company's ability to absorb asset reductions arising from losses without jeopardizing the interest of creditors.

  • Formula
    Total Liabilities
    Total Assets

    Capitalization Ratio
    Indicates long-term debt usage.

  • Formula
    Long-Term Debt
    Long-Term Debt + Owners' Equity

    Debt to Equity
    Indicates how well creditors are protected in case of the company's insolvency.

  • Formula
    Total Debt
    Total Equity

    Interest Coverage Ratio (Times Interest Earned)
    Indicates a company's capacity to meet interest payments. Uses EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes)

  • Formula
    EBIT
    Interest Expense

    Long-term Debt to Net Working Capital
    Provides insight into the ability to pay long term debt from current assets after paying current liabilities.

  • Formula
    Long-term Debt
    Current Assets - Current Liabilities

    Efficiency Ratios

    Cash Turnover
    Measures how effective a company is utilizing its cash.

  • Formula
    Net Sales
    Cash

    Sales to Working Capital (Net Working Capital Turnover)
    Indicates the turnover in working capital per year. A low ratio indicates inefficiency, while a high level implies that the company's working capital is working too hard.

  • Formula
    Net Sales
    Average Working Capital

    Total Asset Turnover
    Measures the activity of the assets and the ability of the business to generate sales through the use of the assets.

  • Formula
    Net Sales
    Average Total Assets

    Fixed Asset Turnover
    Measures the capacity utilization and the quality of fixed assets.

  • Formula
    Net Sales
    Net Fixed Assets

    Days' Sales in Receivables
    Indicates the average time in days, that receivables are outstanding (DSO). It helps determine if a change in receivables is due to a change in sales, or to another factor such as a change in selling terms. An analyst might compare the days' sales in receivables with the company's credit terms as an indication of how efficiently the company manages its receivables.

  • Formula
    Gross Receivables
    Annual Net Sales / 365

    Accounts Receivable Turnover
    Indicates the liquidity of the company's receivables.

  • Formula
    Net Sales
    Average Gross Receivables

    Accounts Receivable Turnover in Days
    Indicates the liquidity of the company's receivables in days.

  • Formula
    Average Gross Receivables
    Annual Net Sales / 365

    Days' Sales in Inventory
    Indicates the length of time that it will take to use up the inventory through sales.

  • Formula
    Ending Inventory
    Cost of Goods Sold / 365

    Inventory Turnover
    Indicates the liquidity of the inventory.

  • Formula
    Cost of Goods Sold
    Average Inventory

    Inventory Turnover in Days
    Indicates the liquidity of the inventory in days.

  • Formula
    Average Inventory
    Cost of Goods Sold / 365

    Operating Cycle
    Indicates the time between the acquisition of inventory and the realization of cash from sales of inventory. For most companies the operating cycle is less than one year, but in some industries it is longer.

  • Formula
    Accounts Receivable Turnover in Days
    + Inventory Turnover in Day

    Days' Payables Outstanding
    Indicates how the firm handles obligations of its suppliers.

  • Formula
    Ending Accounts Payable
    Purchases / 365

    Payables Turnover
    Indicates the liquidity of the firm's payables.

  • Formula
    Purchases
    Average Accounts Payable

    Payables Turnover in Days
    Indicates the liquidity of the firm's payables in days.

  • Formula
    Average Accounts Payable
    Purchases / 365

    Additional Ratios

    Altman Z-Score
    The Z-score model is a quantitative model developed in 1968 by Edward Altman to predict bankruptcy (financial distress) of a business, using a blend of the traditional financial ratios and a statistical method known as multiple discriminant analysis.

    The Z-score is known to be about 90% accurate in forecasting business failure one year into the future and about 80% accurate in forecasting it two years into the future.

  • Formula
    Z = 1.2
    +1.4
    +0.6
    +0.999
    +3.3
    x
    x
    x
    x
    x
    (Working Capital / Total Assets)
    (Retained Earnings / Total Assets)
    (Market Value of Equity / Book Value of Debt)
    (Sales / Total Assets)
    (EBIT / Total Assets)

    Z-score Probability of Failure
    less than 1.8
    greater than 1.81 but less than 2.99
    greater than 3.0
    Very High
    Not Sure
    Unlikely

    Bad-Debt to Accounts Receivable Ratio
    Bad-debt to Accounts Receivable ratio measures expected uncollectibility on credit sales. An increase in bad debts is a negative sign, since it indicates greater realization risk in accounts receivable and possible future write-offs.

  • Formula
    Bad Debts
    Accounts Receivable

    Bad-Debt to Sales Ratio
    Bad-debt ratios measure expected uncollectibility on credit sales. An increase in bad debts is a negative sign, since it indicates greater realization risk in accounts receivable and possible future write-offs.

  • Formula
    Bad Debts
    Sales

    Book Value per Common Share
    Book value per common share is the net assets available to common stockholders divided by the shares outstanding, where net assets represent stockholders' equity less preferred stock. Book value per share tells what each share is worth per the books based on historical cost.

  • Formula
    (Total Stockholders' Equity - Liquidation Value of Preferred Stocks - Preferred Dividends in Arrears)
    Common Shares Outstanding

    Common Size Analysis
    In vertical analysis of financial statements, an item is used as a base value and all other accounts in the financial statement are compared to this base value.

    On the balance sheet, total assets equal 100% and each asset is stated as a percentage of total assets. Similarly, total liabilities and stockholder's equity are assigned 100%, with a given liability or equity account stated as a percentage of total liabilities and stockholder's equity.

    On the income statement, 100% is assigned to net sales, with all revenue and expense accounts then related to it.

    Cost of Credit
    The cost of credit is the cost of not taking credit terms extended for a business transaction. Credit terms usually express the amount of the cash discount, the date of its expiration, and the due date. A typical credit term is 2 / 10, net / 30. If payment is made within 10 days, a 2 percent cash discount is allowed: otherwise, the entire amount is due in 30 days. The cost of not taking the cash discount can be substantial.

  • Formula
    % Discount
    100 - % Discount
    x 360
    Credit Period - Discount Period
    Example
    On a $1,000 invoice with terms of 2 /10 net 30, the customer can either pay at the end of the 10 day discount period or wait for the full 30 days and pay the full amount. By waiting the full 30 days, the customer effectively borrows the discounted amount for 20 days.

    This gives the amount paid in interest as:

    This information can be used to compute the credit cost of borrowing this money.

    % Discount
    100 - % Discount
    x   360
    Credit Period - Discount Period
    =    2
          98
    x 360
    20
    =    .3673

    As this example illustrates, the annual percentage cost of offering a 2/10, net/30 trade discount is almost 37%.

    Current-Liability Ratios
    Current-liability ratios indicate the degree to which current debt payments will be required within the year. Understanding a company's liability is critical, since if it is unable to meet current debt, a liquidity crisis looms. The following ratios are compared to industry norms.

  • Formulas
    Current to Non-current = Current Liabilities
    Non-current Liabilities
    Current to Total = Current Liabilities
    Total Liabilities

    Rule of 72
    A rule of thumb method used to calculate the number of years it takes to double an investment.

  • Formula
    72
    Rate of Return

    Example
    Paul bought securities yielding an annual return of 9.25%. This investment will double in less than eight years because,

    72
    9.25
    = 7.78 years

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