Current Ratio: What It Is and How to Calculate It

Small business owners should keep an eye on this ratio for their own company, and investors may find it useful to compare the current ratios of companies when considering which stocks to buy. The ratio indicates the extent to which readily available funds can pay off current liabilities. It is often used by lenders and potential creditors to measure business liquidity and how easily it can service debt. The acid test ratio or the quick ratio calculates the ability to pay off current liabilities with quick assets. Finally, the operating cash flow ratio compares a company’s active cash flow from operating activities (CFO) to its current liabilities. This allows a company to better gauge funding capabilities by omitting implications created by accounting entries.

A good current ratio varies across industries and depends on various factors such as the nature of the business, the industry’s typical operating cycle, and the company’s specific circumstances. This range suggests that a company has sufficient current assets to cover its current liabilities comfortably. A higher current ratio implies a stronger liquidity position, indicating a company’s ability to meet short-term obligations without relying heavily on external financing. Other measures of liquidity and solvency that are similar to the current ratio might be more useful, depending on the situation. For instance, while the current ratio takes into account all of a company’s current assets and liabilities, it doesn’t account for customer and supplier credit terms, or operating cash flows.


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  • For example, a normal cycle for the company’s collections and payment processes may lead to a high current ratio as payments are received, but a low current ratio as those collections ebb.
  • Often, the current ratio tends to also be a useful proxy for how efficient the company is at working capital management.
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Perhaps more significant would be a sharp decline in the current ratio from one period to the next, which may indicate liquidity issues. By contrast, in the case of Company Y, 75% of the current assets are made up of these two liquid resources. Another practical measure of a company’s liquidity is the quick ratio, otherwise known as the “acid-test” ratio. It’s the most conservative measure of liquidity and, therefore, the most reliable, industry-neutral method of calculating it. The current ratio is most useful when measured over time, compared against a competitor, or compared against a benchmark.

Interpreting the Current Ratio

To calculate the ratio, analysts compare a company’s current assets to its current liabilities. The quick ratio (or the acid test ratio) is more conservative than the current ratio in that the amount in inventories, supplies, and prepaid expenses is not included. These current assets are excluded because it is assumed that they will not be turning to cash quickly. The current ratio is the proportion, quotient, or relationship between the amount of a company’s current assets and the amount of its current liabilities.

Current ratio: What it is and how to calculate it

Some banks expect it to be a minimum of 1.17 depending upon the industry. When the ratio falls below one, a company has to induct long term funds for strengthening its current ratio. A current ratio of 2 is believed to be a minimum as per general financial management standards. However, in small and medium companies in India, a current ratio of 2 is seldom observed.

How current ratio works

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When you calculate a company’s current ratio, the resulting number determines whether it’s a good investment. A company with a current ratio of less than 1 has insufficient capital to meet its short-term debts because it has a larger proportion of liabilities relative to the value of its current assets. Businesses with an acid test ratio less than one do not have enough liquid assets to pay off their debts. If the difference between the acid test ratio and the current ratio is large, it means the business is currently relying too much on inventory. If a company’s current ratio is less than one, it may have more bills to pay than easily accessible resources to pay those bills.

Short-term solvency refers to the ability of a business to pay its short-term obligations when they become due. Short term obligations (also known as current liabilities) are the liabilities payable within a short period of time, usually one year. First, the quick ratio excludes inventory and prepaid expenses from liquid assets, with the rationale being that inventory and prepaid expenses are not that liquid. Prepaid expenses can’t be accessed immediately to cover debts, and inventory takes time to sell. On the other hand, removing inventory might not reflect an accurate picture of liquidity for some industries.