Financial Ratios Formulas

Using the Financial Ratios Formulas Chart

Financial ratios formulas are used to analyse business trends and measure performance of both the business and the management. Our Financial Projections Template provides key financial ratios. The financial ratios formulas chart below acts as a quick reference to help you find information about the most important ratios used in managing a business.

Financial ratios are a relative measure of two or more values taken from the financial statements of a business and can be expressed as a decimal value such as 0.55 or as a percentage e.g. 55%.

One financial ratio viewed in isolation will not tell you a great deal about a business. The key with using financial ratios is to chose the ratios which are most critical to your business, decide on the formula to use, which should be the same as that used by comparable businesses in your industry, and consistently monitor the ratio over time relative to other ratios you have calculated.

The financial ratios formulas table shows the formula for the financial ratio together with its category and a brief explanation.

Financial Ratios Formulas Guide and Key

  • AR: Net accounts receivable
  • Cash: Cash and cash equivalents (marketable securities)
  • CFO: Cash flow from operational activities
  • COGS: Cost of goods sold
  • AP: Net accounts payable
  • Purchases: Purchases of goods and services = COGS + Change inventory + Overheads
  • Working capital: Current assets – current liabilities
  • PAT: Profit after tax
  • PBT: Profit before tax
  • PBIT = EBIT: Profit (Earnings) before interest and tax
  • Revenue: Net revenue, sales, turnover
  • Fixed assets: Net book value of fixed assets
  • Gross profit: Revenue – COGS


* With balance sheet items it is best to use an average value of the opening and closing balances if available.

Financial Ratio Formulas
Ratio Formula What it shows
Accounts payable days AP / (Purchases / 365) How many days it takes to pay suppliers
Accounts receivable days AR / (Revenue / 365) How many days it takes customers to pay
Asset turnover Revenue / Assets Amount of sales generated by assets
Cash cycle (Net trade cycle) AR / (Revenue / 365) + Inventory / (COGS / 365) – AP / (Purchases / 365) Operating cycle – accounts payable days
Cash ratio Cash / Current liabilities Can cash cover short term debts
CFO ratio CFO / Current liabilities Can cash from operational activity cover short term debts
Current ratio Current assets / Current liabilities Can cash from current assets cover short term debts
Debt to assets Debt / Assets Percentage of assets funded by debt
Debt to equity Debt / Equity Ratio of debt funding to equity funding
Defensive interval (Cash + AR) / [(COGS + Overheads) / 365] How many days costs can be supported by readily available cash
Fixed asset ratio Revenue / Fixed assets Revenue generated by fixed assets
Gearing Debt / (Debt + Equity) Same as debt to assets. Percentage of assets funded by debt
Gross profit margin Gross profit / Revenue Gross profit as percentage of sales = real income
Interest cover PBIT / Interest Ability to meet interest payments from earnings
Inventory days Inventory / (COGS / 365) How many days the inventory can support current sales levels
Inventory turnover Revenue / Inventory Liquidity of and ability to manage inventory
Net profit ratio PAT / Revenue Percentage of revenue left after deducting all costs
Operating cycle AR / (Revenue / 365) + Inventory / (COGS / 365) Accounts receivable days + Inventory day
Operating margin (Return on sales) PBIT / Revenue Profitability of sales independent of finance and tax position
Operating expense ratio Operating expense / Revenue Percentage of revenue need to cover operating expenses
Payables turnover Purchases / AP How many times payables are paid in a year
Quick ratio (Acid test, Liquidity ratio) (Current assets – Inventory) / Current liabilities Can readily available cash cover short term debts
Receivables turnover Revenue / AR How many times receivables are collected in a year
Return on assets (ROA or ROI) PAT / Assets Return on assets or return on investment
Return on capital employed (ROCE) PBIT/(Assets – Current liabilities) = PBIT / (Equity + Debt) Profitability of capital invested
Return on equity (ROE) PAT/ Equity Return to equity investors
Working capital turnover Revenue / Working capital Amount of sales generated by working capital
Last modified September 26th, 2019 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.

You May Also Like