Current Ratio Explained With Formula and Examples

FedEx has more current assets than current liabilities, and its current ratio is over 1.0. Prepaid assets are unlikely to be refunded to the company in order for it to meet current debt obligations. 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. For example, the inventory listed on a balance sheet shows how much the company initially paid for that inventory. Since companies usually sell inventory for more than it costs to acquire, that can impact the overall ratio.

  1. Some stock market sites will also give you the ratio in a list with other common financials, such as valuation, profitability and capitalization.
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  3. Note the growing A/R balance and inventory balance require further diligence, as the A/R growth could be from the inability to collect cash payments from credit sales.
  4. A high current ratio is generally considered a favorable sign for the company.
  5. A company with a current ratio of less than one doesn’t have enough current assets to cover its current financial obligations.

On December 31, 2016, the balance sheet of Marshal company shows the total current assets of $1,100,000 and the total current liabilities of $400,000. Since the current ratio compares a company’s current assets to its current liabilities, the required inputs can be found on the balance sheet. It indicates the financial health of a company and how it can maximize the liquidity of its current assets to settle debt and payables.

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Let’s look at some examples of companies with high and low current ratios. You can find these numbers on a company’s balance sheet under total current assets and total current liabilities. Some stock market sites will also give you the ratio in a list with other common financials, such as valuation, profitability and capitalization. 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.

Current vs. Quick Ratio: An Overview

Public companies don’t report their current ratio, though all the information needed to calculate the ratio is contained in the company’s financial statements. A ratio greater than 1 means that the company has sufficient current assets to pay off short-term liabilities. how to create and use a balance sheet for your business 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 current ratio also sheds light on the overall debt burden of the company.


“A good current ratio is really determined by industry type, but in most cases, a current ratio between 1.5 and 3 is acceptable,” says Ben Richmond, U.S. country manager at Xero. This means that the value of a company’s assets is 1.5 to 3 times the amount of its current liabilities. Companies may use days sales outstanding to better understand how long it takes for a company to collect payments after credit sales have been made. While the current ratio looks at the liquidity of the company overall, the days sales outstanding metric calculates liquidity specifically to how well a company collects outstanding accounts receivables. You now know how to calculate the current ratio and how to interpret its value. You also know how to add the formula to your financial statement spreadsheets to calculate it automatically.

What Is a Good Current Ratio?

The current ratio may also be easier to calculate based on the format of the balance sheet presented. Less formal reports (i.e. not required by GAAP external reporting rules) may simply report current assets without further breaking down balances. In these situation, it may not be possible to calculate the quick ratio.

If a company is weighted down with a current debt, its cash flow will suffer. A higher current ratio is always more favorable than a lower current ratio because it shows the company can more easily make current debt payments. Most often, companies may not face imminent capital constraints, or they may be able to raise investment funds to meet certain requirements without having to tap operational funds. Therefore, the current ratio may more reasonably demonstrate what resources are available over the subsequent year compared to the upcoming 12 months of liabilities. It’s ideal to use several metrics, such as the quick and current ratios, profit margins, and historical trends, to get a clear picture of a company’s status.

Another popular liquidity ratio is the quick ratio, which you can learn more about in our blog. On the other hand, removing inventory might not reflect an accurate picture of liquidity for some industries. For example, supermarkets move inventory very quickly, and their stock would likely represent a large portion of their current assets. To strip out inventory for supermarkets would make their current liabilities look inflated relative to their current assets under the quick ratio.

Calculating the Current Ratio in Excel

The simple intuition that stands behind the current ratio is that the company’s ability to fulfill its obligations depends on the value of its current assets. 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.

Additionally, a company may have a low back stock of inventory due to an efficient supply chain and loyal customer base. In that case, the current inventory would show a low value, potentially offsetting the ratio. To compare the current ratio of two companies, it is necessary that both of them use the same inventory valuation method. For example, comparing current ratio of two companies would be like comparing apples with oranges if one uses FIFO while other uses LIFO cost flow assumption for costing/valuing their inventories. The analyst would, therefore, not be able to compare the ratio of two companies even in the same industry.

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While determining a company’s real short-term debt paying ability, an analyst should therefore not only focus on the current ratio figure but also consider the composition of current assets. 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. This current ratio is classed with several other financial metrics known as liquidity ratios. These ratios all assess the operations of a company in terms of how financially solid the company is in relation to its outstanding debt. Knowing the current ratio is vital in decision-making for investors, creditors, and suppliers of a company.

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