Current Ratio: Formula, Definition, and Examples


If a company doesn’t have enough liquidity to meet its imminent financial obligations, it winds up in an extremely vulnerable position. It will struggle to operate and may fail to find credit for emergencies or opportunities. Note that the value of the current ratio is stated in numeric format, not in percentage points.You can obtain the exact values of particular factors of this equation from the company’s annual report (balance sheet). As a general rule of thumb, a current ratio in the range of 1.5 to 3.0 is considered healthy.

Current Ratio vs. Quick Ratio: What is the Difference?

In each case, the differences in these measures can help an investor understand the current status of the company’s assets and liabilities from different angles, as well as how those accounts are changing over time. Both of these indicators are applied to measure the company’s liquidity, but they use different formulas. In the numerator, the current ratio takes into account all current assets while the numerator of the quick ratio considers only assets that are liquid (cash and cash equivalent, marketable securities, accounts receivable). It measures a company’s ability to cover its short-term obligations (liabilities that are due within a year) with current assets. To assess this ability, the current ratio compares the current total assets of a company to its current total liabilities. Current ratio is a liquidity ratio which measures a company’s ability to pay its current liabilities with cash generated from its current assets.

Current Ratio Formula vs Quick Ratio Formula

Because inventory levels vary widely across industries, in theory, this ratio should give us a better reading of a company’s liquidity than the current ratio. In this example, although both companies seem similar, Company B is likely in a more liquid and solvent position. An investor can dig deeper into the details of a current ratio comparison by evaluating other liquidity ratios that are more narrowly focused than the current ratio. For example, in one industry, it may be more typical to extend credit to clients for 90 days or longer, while in another industry, short-term collections are more critical. Ironically, the industry that extends more credit actually may have a superficially stronger current ratio because its current assets would be higher. Finally, the operating cash flow ratio compares a company’s active cash flow from operating activities (CFO) to its current liabilities.

How is the acid test ratio calculated?

One common mistake is to compare a company’s current ratio to industry averages without considering the industry’s unique characteristics. Another mistake is to only focus on the current ratio without analyzing other financial ratios that provide insights into a company’s financial health and performance. However, it is important to note that a high current ratio does not always indicate financial strength. In some cases, it may suggest that a company is not efficiently using its current assets to generate revenue.

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In this example, Company A has much more inventory than Company B, which will be harder to turn into cash in the short term. Perhaps this inventory is overstocked or unwanted, which eventually may reduce its value on the balance sheet. Company B has more cash, which is the most liquid asset, and more accounts receivable, which could be collected more quickly than liquidating inventory. Although the total value of current assets matches, Company B is in a more liquid, solvent position. However, because the current ratio at any one time is just a snapshot, it is usually not a complete representation of a company’s short-term liquidity or longer-term solvency. Current assets listed on a company’s balance sheet include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and other current assets (OCA) that are expected to be liquidated or turned into cash in less than one year.

This formula takes into account all the current assets like cash, inventory, accounts receivable, etc., which can be easily liquidated within a year. Similarly, it also considers current liabilities like accounts payable, taxes payable, etc. that become due for payment within a year. The current ratio measures a company’s ability to pay off its short-term liabilities using its current assets. The commonly used acid-test ratio (or quick ratio) compares a company’s easily liquidated assets (including cash, accounts receivable and short-term investments, excluding inventory and prepaid) to its current liabilities.

The resulting figure represents the number of times a company can pay its current short-term obligations with its current assets. A lower quick ratio could mean that you’re having liquidity problems, but it could just as easily mean that you’re good at collecting accounts receivable quickly. Ratios lower than 1 usually indicate liquidity issues, while ratios over 3 can signal poor management of working capital. As with many other financial metrics, the ideal current ratio will vary depending on the industry, operating model, and business processes of the company in question. These are future expenses that have been paid in advance that haven’t yet been used up or expired. Generally, prepaid expenses that will be used up within one year are initially reported on the balance sheet as a current asset.

The current ratio is an important measure of liquidity because short-term liabilities are due within the next year. More specifically, the current ratio is calculated by taking a company’s cash and marketable securities and then dividing this value by the organization’s liabilities. This approach is considered more conservative than other similar measures like the current ratio and the quick ratio.

Conversely, a company that may appear to be struggling now, could be making good progress towards a healthier current ratio. In the first case, the trend of the current ratio over time would be expected to have a negative impact on the company’s value. An improving current ratio could indicate an opportunity to invest in an undervalued stock in a company turnaround. Generally, the assumption is made that the higher the current ratio, the better the creditors’ position due to the higher probability that debts will be paid when due.

For example, a company may have a very high current ratio, but its accounts receivable may be very aged, perhaps because its customers pay very slowly, which may be hidden in the current ratio. Analysts must also consider the quality of a company’s other assets versus its obligations as well. If inventory is unable to be sold, the current ratio may still look acceptable at one point in time, but the company may be headed for default. However, because the current ratio at any one time is just a snapshot, it is usually not a complete representation of a company’s liquidity or solvency.

During a recession, for example, companies may need to maintain higher current ratios to ensure their survival in a difficult market. In contrast, during a period of economic growth, companies may be able to maintain lower current ratios as they have more access to credit and can generate revenue more easily. It’s particularly useful when assessing the short-term financial health of potential investment opportunities.

This means that companies with larger amounts of current assets will more easily be able to pay off current liabilities when they become due without having to sell off long-term, revenue generating assets. The current ratio (also known as the current asset ratio, the current liquidity ratio, or the working capital ratio) is a financial analysis tool used to determine the short-term liquidity of a business. It takes all of your company’s current assets, compares them to your short-term liabilities, and tells you whether you have enough of the former to pay for the latter. The current ratio is a useful liquidity measurement used to track how well a company may be able to meet its short-term debt obligations. It compares the ratio of current assets to current liabilities, and measurements less than 1.0 indicate a company’s potential inability to use current resources to fund short-term obligations.

It is worth knowing that the current ratio is simpler to calculate, but sometimes it is less helpful than the quick ratio because it doesn’t make a distinction between the liquidity of different types of assets. However, you have to know that a high value of the current ratio is not always good for investors. A disproportionately high current ratio may point out that the company uses its current assets inefficiently or doesn’t use the opportunities to gain capital from external short-term financing sources. If so, we could expect a considerable drawdown in future earnings reports (check the maximum drawdown calculator for more details).

  1. The current ratio is an important measure of liquidity because short-term liabilities are due within the next year.
  2. A very high current ratio may hurt a company’s profitability and efficiency.
  3. Generally, prepaid expenses that will be used up within one year are initially reported on the balance sheet as a current asset.
  4. Shaun Conrad is a Certified Public Accountant and CPA exam expert with a passion for teaching.

The current ratio is a common metric investors and creditors use to determine if they’ll loan a business more money or purchase equity. Ideally, they only want to lend money to companies who have enough stuff they can sell off to pay the debt in full, otherwise credit note what is a credit note the creditor risks losing money if the business goes under. Generally, it is agreed that a current ratio of less than 1.0 may indicate insolvency. Sometimes, even though the current ratio is less than one, the company may still be able to meet its obligations.

The current ratio provides valuable information about a company’s short-term liquidity. If a company has a current ratio of less than 1, it means that it doesn’t have enough current assets to cover its current liabilities. In this instance, the company may face difficulty in meeting its financial obligations. Conversely, if a company has a high current ratio (above 2), it may indicate that the company is not making well-informed financial decisions and may have too much cash tied up in current assets.

It is listed as a current asset because it is something you have paid for that provides a benefit to the company over the upcoming year, but it is unlikely to result in cash that can be used toward a debt obligation. Once you’ve prepaid something– like a one-year insurance premium– that money is spent. The current ratio is an important metric that investors and stakeholders look at when evaluating a company’s short-term liquidity. It is essential to communicate your company’s current ratio’s significance and how it may vary depending on the industry’s unique characteristics and the company’s individual circumstances. Analyzing competitors’ current ratios can provide valuable information about industry trends, competitors’ short-term liquidity, and financial performance.

Understanding the Current Ratio empowers investors and analysts to make informed decisions, enabling them to navigate the intricate world of finance with confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the world of investing, grasping the essentials of the Current Ratio is a critical step toward financial acumen. In actual practice, the current ratio tends to vary by the type and nature of the business. Everything is relative in the financial world, and there are no absolute norms. The current ratio is a rough indicator of the degree of safety with which short-term credit may be extended to the business. On the other hand, the current liabilities are those that must be paid within the current year.

Some businesses can function well with a current ratio below 1 if they can turn inventory into cash faster than they need to pay their bills. In these cases, the actual cash generated from inventory sales may surpass its stated value on the balance sheet. An acceptable current ratio typically aligns with industry standards, or slightly exceeds them. If a company’s current ratio is on par with the norm, it implies a healthy ability to meet short-term financial commitments. If you need to sell off inventory quickly in order to cover a debt obligation, you may have to discount the value considerably to move the inventory. Inventory sold at a discount does not have the same value as the inventory book value on the balance sheet.

Current assets refer to cash and other resources that can be converted into cash in the short-term (within 1 year or the company’s normal operating cycle, whichever is longer). The range used to gauge the financial health of a company using the current ratio metric varies on the specific industry. These businesses typically make annual purchases of raw materials based on their availability, which are then consumed throughout the year. Such purchases require higher investments, often financed by debt, increasing the current asset side of the working capital ratio. It is important to note that the interpretation of the current ratio can vary depending on the industry and the specific circumstances of the company. For example, a company in a highly cyclical industry may have a lower current ratio due to fluctuations in sales and inventory levels.

Current ratios of 1.50 or greater would generally indicate ample liquidity. The current ratio can be a useful measure of a company’s short-term solvency when it is placed in the context of what has been historically normal for the company and its peer group. It also offers more insight when calculated repeatedly over several periods. The quick ratio—also called the acid-test ratio—is a conservative version of the current ratio. If a company’s ratio is less than one, it means it doesn’t have enough assets to cover its short-term liabilities. That’s a vulnerable position because it will struggle to raise capital to invest in new ventures and products.

The current ratio is one of many liquidity ratios that you can use to measure a company’s ability to meet its short-term debt obligations as they come due. The current ratio compares a company’s current assets to its current liabilities. Both of these are easily found on the company’s balance sheet, and it makes the current ratio one of the simplest liquidity ratios to calculate.

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