Current Ratio Formula

Liquidity is the ability of a business to utilize its short term assets (cash, accounts receivable and inventories) to meet its short term liabilities as they fall due. To this end the financial projections template uses the current ratio as an indicator of the liquidity of the business.

The formula for the current ratio is the current assets divided by the current liabilities of the business.

current ratio formula

It is important to realize that both of these values are found on the balance sheet of the business.

If the value is greater than one it shows that current assets are larger than current liabilities and indicates that the business should be able to convert its short term assets (cash, inventory, accounts receivable) into cash and pay its short term liabilities (accounts payable).

On the other hand, if the value is less than one, the current assets are less than the current liabilities, and the business may be in danger of not being able to satisfy its short term liabilities as they fall due.

Ideally the value should be greater than one and, to provide a margin of safety, should be in the region of two.

Current Ratio Example

As an illustration we use the balance sheet below to show how to calculate the ratio.

Balance Sheet
Accounts receivable280
Current assets680
Property, plant and equipment500
Total assets1,180
Accounts payable350
Other liabilities75
Current liabilities425
Long-term debt455
Total liabilities880
Retained earnings50
Total equity300
Total liabilities and equity1,180

To demonstrate the numbers used in the calculation are highlighted in the balance sheet shown. As can be seen in the above example the current assets are 680 and the current liabilities are 425.

Accordingly using the current ratio equation the calculation is as follows:

Current ratio = Current assets / Current liabilities = 680 / 425 = 1.6

In this case a value of 1.6 indicates that the current assets are 1.6 times greater than the current liabilities, and that the business should be able to pay its short term liabilities as they fall due.

The current ratio is reported on the ratios page of the financial projections template and should be monitored to ensure that it shows a value which is improving over time and is at least equal to one.

This current ratio will vary from industry to industry, and therefore it is important when making comparisons to determine an industry current ratio based on financial statements of businesses similar to your own.

While an increasing value can indicate increasing liquidity, a value which is too high implies a lot of funds are tied up in accounts receivables, inventories or as cash. It is generally accepted that funds tied up in this way earn very little or nothing for the business.

The current ratio is one of many financial ratio formulas used to analyse accounting financial statements.

Last modified November 18th, 2022 by Michael Brown

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Plan Projections. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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