Financial ratios are created from financial statements to gain meaningful information about a company’s performance. The numbers found on a company’s balance sheet, profit & loss (or income statement), and cash flow statement can be used to perform quantitative analysis to show a company’s liquidity, leverage, growth, margins, profitability, rates of return, valuation, and more.
These ratios can be used to analyse a peer group to determine the average rate of profitability of a particular industry. Managers of a firm should use these to determine how well their performance is compared with managers in similar situations.
It’s important for any sales team to understand how their value proposition can potentially change a client’s financial performance (and therefore ratios). I would therefore suggest any sales pitch worth listening to has at least some financial element to it.
To start you off I have listed some of the most important financial ratios in this blog post along with how to calculate them and what they show. No single measure should be used to define the financial performance of a firm and these offer the most information when used to spot trends over time.
If you think I’ve missed any feel free to add your own in the comments section.
Business performance indicators, also known as key performance indicators (KPIs), are quantifiable measurements used to determine and track the economic health of a business. Created from publicly available information they are tools for internal and external stakeholders to identify how well the company is doing, especially in regard to competitors and identify where strengths and weaknesses are.
These are very helpful tools for entrepreneurs to determine how much value their own team is adding to their business and how much value your service will add to your customer’s business.
Return on Equity
Profit After Tax / Shareholders’ Funds
Shows the performance of shareholders investment. Can be useful to compare with other investments such as dividend yield in other companies or return paid via bank account.
Return on Net Assets
Profit before interest and tax / Net assets
Shows the performance achieved regardless of the method of financing. Sometimes called return on capital employed. A high number here means that the company is using its assets and working capital efficiently and effectively.
Tax / Profit before tax
The proportion of profit which is absorbed by tax.
Profit before interest & tax / Sales (revenue)
Net Asset Turnover
Sales / Net assets
Show the efficiency of a company’s assets to generate revenue or sales. Comparing the amount of revenue to its total assets.
Fixed Asset Turnover
Sales / Fixed Assets
Fixed assets are tangible assets (things that you can kick). This shows how efficient a company is using them to generate sales.
Cost of sales / Stock
Shows how quickly goods move through a business. If you multiply this number by 365 it shows stock days on hand.
Sales / Debtors
Shows us how quickly debts are collected. Multiple by 365 to get debtor days.
Financial ratios are created from a company’s published financial information and are used for comparison purposes. Also helpful for small business owners and managers to help to measure their progress against predetermined internal goals, a certain competitor, or the overall industry. Ratios will be used by bankers, investors, and business analysts to assess a company’s financial status.
If you’re ever needed to speak/pitch your ideas to someone with a financial background some knowledge of these will be appreciated and help you to stand out from the crowd.
Debt / Capital employed
Shows how solvent a business is. The proportion of the business which is financed by debt (the balance being financed by shareholders). Can also be measured as Debt / Shareholders funds
Profit before interest & tax / Interest paid
Does the company generate enough profit to cover the interest payments on it’s debts.
Current assets / Current liabilities
Shows the extent to which short term assets cover short-term liabilities.
Debtors & cash / Current liabilities
The extent to which liquid short term assets cover short term liabilities.
Stock Market Ratios
Although there are a wide variety of stock market ratios available, the ones I use the most (in the context of analysing customers) are the ones below. Namely, earnings per share, price to earnings ratio, dividend yield and the dividend cover.
These along with the share price are sometimes used in senior team’s remuneration packages, so if you can improve them – happy days.
Earnings per Share
Profit after tax / Number of ordinary shares in issue
This divides net earnings available to shareholders by the average outstanding shares over a certain period of time. The formula indicates a company’s ability to produce net profits for common shareholders.
Price to Earnings
Market price per share / Earnings per share
Broadly speaking shows the current investor demand for a company share. A high number indicates high demand from investors. Expressed in years, interpreted as the number of years of earnings to pay back purchase price.
Dividend per share / Market price for the share
Expressed as a percentage, this shows how much a company pays out in dividends each year relative to its current share price.
Earnings per share / Dividend per share
This shows the number of times the current dividend could have been paid out of earnings.