Most Important Financial Ratios to Analyze a Company

Most Important Financial Ratios to Analyze a Company [29 Ratios Explained]

Generally, the most important financial ratios to analyze a company divide in five major categories. It includes Profitability, liquidity, return, asset and debt management. We have created a comprehensive list of 29 accounting and financial ratios that is required for financial analysis. 

The below mentioned accounting ratios will help you to evaluate the financial statements, make a financial decision or even prepare for your accounting exams.

Without further ado, lets dive in to the list of financial ratios.

Most Important Financial Ratios to Analyze a Company

What is a financial ratio?

We take two numerical values from a company’s financial statements to evaluate the overall condition of the company. These values can be taken from income statement, balance sheet or any other financial statements. 

Accounting ratios list

We have categorized the financial ratios in five major types.

  1. Liquidity ratios
    1. Current ratio
    2. Quick ratio
    3. Cash ratio
    4. CFO ratio
    5. Defensive interval
    6. Collection period
    7. Days inventory held
    8. Days payable outstanding
    9. Net trade cycle
  2. Debt Management
    1. Debt to assets
    2. Times interest earned
    3. Debt to equity
    4. CFO to interest
    5. Long-term debt to total capital
    6. CFO to debt
    7. Cash flow adequacy
  3. Asset Management
    1. Receivable turnover
    2. Inventory turnover
    3. Fixed asset turnover
    4. Asset turnover
    5. Return on assets
  4. Profitability
    1. Gross profit margin
    2. Return on invested capital (ROIC)
    3. Operating profit margin
    4. Cash ROA
    5. Net profit Margin
    6. ROA
    7. ROE
  5. Return to Investors
    1. Earnings per share
    2. ROE
    3. ROCE
    4. Dividend yield
    5. Dividend payout
    6. P/E

Liquidity ratios

1. Current ratio

Formula: Current Assets ÷ Current Liabilities

Objective: Indicates if the business can pay its short-term obligations and liabilities. Values of current assets and current liabilities are clearly mentioned on the face of the balance sheet. 

2. Quick ratio – also known as Acid Test Ratio

Formula: Current Assets – Inventory ÷ Current Liabilities

Objective: Quick ratio emphasis to utilize the readily cash convertible assets to measure the company’s ability to settle the current liabilities.

3. Cash ratio

Formula: Cash ÷ Current Liabilities 

Objective: Cash ratio indicates if the cash and cash convertibles can settle the short-term liabilities of the company. If the result is more than 1, then its considered to be a good cash ratio.

4. CFO ratio

Formula: Cash from operations ÷ Current Liabilities

Objective: CFO ratio shows the ability of a company to pay the current liabilities from operations alone. 

5. Defensive interval

Formula:365 X Quick ratio numerator ÷ Projected expenditures (= COGS + Other operating expenses except depreciation)

Objective: This ratio shows the conservative view of the company’s liquidity position. It tells the readily available sources of finances with probable expenses needed to operate.

6. Receivable Turnover

Formula: Net Sales ÷ Average net trade receivables (opening receivables + closing receivables ÷ 2)

Objective: It shows the liquidity of the receivables and tells how early can a company collect its sales which were made on credit. 

7. Days inventory held

Formula: Average inventory ÷ Cost of goods sold x 365 (or any desired period)

Average inventory can be calculated by adding opening and closing inventory of the period and divide by 2. 

Cost of goods sold is the total cost that is incurred to produce the goods. It includes direct and indirect costs. 

Objective: As the name suggests, this ratio shows the average number of days that the company holds its inventory before it turns into sales. 

8. Days payable outstanding

Formula: Accounts payable x Number of days ÷ Cost of goods sold


Cost of goods sold= Opening inventory + Purchases – Closing Inventory

Objective: DPO is a measure that tells the average days in which the company settles the bills from the suppliers. 

9. Net trade cycle [also known as Cash Conversion Cycle CCC]

Formula:  (Average Inventory ÷ (Cost of Goods Sold ÷ 360)) + (Accounts Receivable ÷ (Net Sales ÷ 360)) – (Accounts payable ÷ (Cost of Goods Sold ÷ 360))

Objective: The net trade cycle tells how long the cash is invested in the business before its available for use again. We can say Net Trade Cycle tells us how much time the company takes to take one complete turn of current assets. 

Debt Management ratios

10. Debt to assets

Formula: Debt (Current and long term debts) ÷ Total Assets 

Objective: Debt to assets ratio shows the contribution of the debtors on the total asset. 

11. Times interest earned (TIE)

Formula: Earning before interest and tax (EBIT) ÷ Interest payable on bonds and other debts

Objective: TIE shows the company’s position to settle its interest using its income.

12. Debt to equity

Formula: Total Debt ÷ Total Equity

Objective: Debt to equity ration shows the level of debt element in the company. If the D/E number is high, it means the company is highly leveraged through debt, therefore, considered as risky for shareholders.

13. Long-term debt to total capital

Formula: Long term debt ÷ Total Capital

Objective: This ratio depicts the contribution of long-term debts in the overall business funding. Investors are usually more interested in getting to know of the long-term debts instead of short-term. If the ratio gives higher number, then it is considered to be a riskier position of a company. 

14. CFO to debt

Formula: Cashflows from operation ÷ Total Debt

Objective:CFO to Debt ratio tells shows the company’s ability to show how long it will take if the total cash generated from the operations are utilized to pay off the debt. 

15. Cash flow adequacy

Formula: Cash flow from operations ÷ (Long Term debt + Fixed Assets purchased + Dividends paid)

Objective: Cash flow adequacy ration explains the company’s ability to settle its short term cash expenses. If a company’s does not have adequate cash to pay its short term loans and expenses, then it would be difficult to attract more debts and settle its current financing commitments. 

Asset Management

16. Fixed asset turnover

Formula: Net Sales ÷ Average Fixed Assets

Objective: FAT shows how well a company is leveraging its fixed assets to generate sales. 

17. Asset turnover

Formula: Total sales ÷ Average Total Assets

Objective: Asset turnover ratio gives us a broader view as compared to Fixed Asset Turnover ration. It tells how well the company is using its total assets to generate sales. 

18. Return on assets

Formula: Net Income ÷ Total Assets

Objective: Return on assets shows how well the company is generating profits utilizing its total assets. Just like return on investment, where we see the company’s profits on the money invested. 

Profitability ratios

19. Gross profit margin

Formula: Net sales – GOGS ÷ Net sales

Objective: It shows how much money is left over if we deduct the COGS (cost of goods sold) from the total sales. Gross profit margin is a great tool if we just want to see the profit margins only considering the direct costs. 

20. Return on invested capital (ROIC)

Formula: Net operating profit after tax ÷ Invested Capital

Objective: Return on invested capital shows how well a company uses its capital to generate profits. 

21. Operating profit margin

Formula: Operating profits (before Interests and taxes) ÷ Total Sales

Objective: It tells us how much profit is being made from the main operations of a company. 

22. Cash ROA

Formula: Net income ÷ Total average assets

Objective: Cash return on Assets shows the actual cash flows to assets without being affected by income.

23. Net profit Margin

Formula: Net profit (after deducting COGS, Operating expenses, Interest and Taxes) ÷ Total sales

Objective: Net profit margin tells us how much net profit is generated in percentage after deducting all expenses. It is a great measure to see if the company is incurring unnecessary expenses on operations.  

24. ROA

Formula: Net Income ÷ Total Assets

Objective: Return on Assets shows how much income is generated on leveraging the total assets of the company. It shows the efficiency of a company to generate income. 

25. ROE

Formula: Net Income ÷ Average Shareholder’s Equity

Objective: ROE is a tool which shows the total return earned by the company on the equity invested in the business. This measure is very important for those investors who want to buy stake in a company. 

Return to Investors

26. Earnings per share

Formula: Net Income – Preferred Dividends ÷ Outstanding Shares at the End of period

Objective: It shows the net income earned by a shareholder on a single share. This metric is widely used to calculate the value of a company. 

27. Dividend yield

Formula: Annual Dividends per share ÷ price per share

Objective: This ratio shows the amount of cash out paid in terms of dividend on each share divided by the share price. 

28. Dividend payout

Formula: Dividends paid ÷ Net income

Objective: This ratio shows the actual pay out in percentage to the shareholders on their shares. 

29. P/E

Formula: Market value per share ÷ Earnings per share

Objective: P/E ratio shows the relation between the price of a share to its earning per share. 

Final words

Financial ratios are a set of numbers used to measure a company’s performance and financial health. We have explained what financial ratios are, how to calculate them, and how to use these for financial analysis. You can refer to the above-explained financial ratios to start your own business, evaluate a company for investment or just to evaluate financial aspects of a company.

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