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Acid-Test Ratio: A Detailed Explanation for Financial Solvency Analysis

Since the only deduction to calculate gross profit is the COGS and no other operating costs, the gross profit margin indicates how efficiently the company is using its labor and resources for manufacturing products. As discussed earlier, acid-test ratios for the retail industry tend to be lower than average mainly because the industry tends to hold more inventory as compared to others. Next, we apply the acid-test ratio formula in the same time period, which excludes inventory, as mentioned earlier. Hence, the acid-test ratio is more conservative in terms of what is classified as a current asset in the formula. Amanda Bellucco-Chatham is an editor, writer, and fact-checker with years of experience researching personal finance topics. Specialties include general financial planning, career development, lending, retirement, tax preparation, and credit.

  • As the company began distributing dividends to shareholders, its quick ratio has mostly stabilized to normal levels of around 1.
  • This makes it less relevant for investors interested in the long-term potential or viability of a company.
  • Please note that the quick ratio differs from the current ratio since the first one does not take account of some current assets categories (such as inventory) which are considered to be less liquid.
  • The acid test ratio can be adjusted for different factors or preferences, such as the cash ratio.

Inventory is not included in calculating the ratio, as it is not ordinarily an asset that can be easily and quickly converted into cash. Compared to the current ratio – a liquidity or debt ratio which does include inventory value in the calculation – the acid-test ratio is considered a more conservative estimation of a company’s financial health. It excludes those current assets – inventories and prepaid expenses – that cannot be quickly converted into cash. It is thus an accurate way to analyse whether a firm will be able to meet its current liabilities or not.

However, the acid-test ratio is considered more conservative than the current ratio because its calculation ignores items such as inventory, which may be difficult to liquidate quickly. Another key difference is that the acid-test ratio includes only assets that can be converted to cash within 90 days or less, while the current ratio includes those that can be converted to cash within one year. Once you have calculated the acid test ratio, you can use it to assess a company’s liquidity and financial well-being. A quick ratio greater than 1 indicates that a company has enough liquid assets to cover its short-term liabilities without relying on inventory liquidation.

This isolation and exclusion from the calculation of Acid-Test Ratio offer a more realistic and stringent view of the company’s liquidity state. Current assets are the assets of a company that are expected to be converted into cash within one year. Common examples include cash, marketable securities, accounts receivable, and prepaid expenses.

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An acid-test ratio of less than one is a strike against a firm because it translates to an inability to pay off creditors due to fewer assets than liabilities. A firm’s short-term liabilities include accounts payable, short-term loans, income tax due, and accrued expenses that the organization has yet to pay off. Accrued expenses can include any fraction of a long-term loan that is due for repayment within the next 12 months. (The acid test ratio is sometimes used interchangeably with the quick ratio. However, this tool is more aggressive than our quick ratio tool).

It only requires information regarding the current liabilities and assets, which can be seamlessly obtained from the organisation’s financial statements. The resulting ratio is easy to analyse, and the stakeholders can quickly analyse the company’s position. In simple terms, the ratio measures a company’s ability to cover its current liabilities using assets that can be easily converted into cash. Please note that the quick ratio differs from the current ratio since the first one does not take account of some current assets categories (such as inventory) which are considered to be less liquid. Compared to the current ratio, the acid test ratio is a stricter liquidity measure due to excluding inventory from the calculation of current assets.

In short, a company’s acid-test ratio could have a significant impact on its CSR initiatives and commitment to sustainability. A company with a high acid-test ratio is in a stronger financial position to make the necessary short-term investments needed to be socially responsible and sustainable in the long-run. The interpretation and implications of a company’s acid-test ratio can vary depending on the company’s industry, its business cycle stage, and trends in its historical acid-test ratios. Thus, the ratio should not be examined in isolation but looked at in context with other financial indicators and factors. At the other extreme, an acid test ratio that is too high could indicate that a company is holding on too tightly to its cash when it could be using it to fuel business growth. Many companies have been known to apply steep discounts to sell their inventory in a short span of 90 days or less.

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From time to time, I will invite other voices to weigh in on important issues in EdTech. We hope to provide a well-rounded, multi-faceted look at the past, present, the future of EdTech in the US and internationally. We cover everything you need to know about the acid test ratio in the following sections of this article.

Conversely, service industries, such as IT services, consulting, or hospitality, typically have minimal inventory. In these sectors, the acid-test ratio can be a more accurate representation of a company’s short-term financial health than other liquidity ratios. For example, in production-focused industries like manufacturing, inventory usually comprises a significant part of a company’s current assets. As such, companies within this sector might find the acid-test ratio more stringent because it excludes inventory from the equation. The acid-test ratio is not a standalone tool but used alongside other metrics, it provides a robust snapshot of a company’s financial health and operational efficiency.

Acid-Test Ratio: Definition, Formula, and Example

This value is over 1.0, indicating that Tesla has decent liquidity and should be able to cover its short-term obligations. However, the acid-test ratio implies a different current ratio story regarding the liquidity of the company, as it is below 1.0x. Therefore, the higher the ratio, the better the short-term liquidity health of the company.

Formula of Acid Test Ratio

In this article, we will explore the various aspects of calculating the acid test ratio and how it can be used to evaluate a company’s financial position. This is particularly relevant for retail and manufacturing businesses, where such assets may be easily convertible into cash. The acid test ratio, like any other financial ratio, has some limitations that should be taken into account when interpreting the results. For instance, it does not reflect the quality or collectability of the accounts receivable, which may be affected by bad debts, discounts, or allowances. Furthermore, it does not account for the timing or seasonality of the cash inflows and outflows, which may differ from the balance sheet date.

On the other hand, the current ratio includes all the items forming part of the company’s existing assets. The acid-test ratio, or the quick ratio, is a type of liquidity ratio that measures a company’s ability to pay its short-term liabilities with assets that can be readily converted into cash. Another way to calculate the numerator is to take all current assets and subtract illiquid assets.

Thanks to their high margins, they also generate healthy profits that may not necessarily be reinvested into the business.

The higher the ratio, the better the company’s liquidity and overall financial health. A ratio of 2 implies that the company owns $2 of liquid assets to cover each $1 of current liabilities. A very high ratio may also indicate that the company’s accounts receivables are excessively  high – and that may indicate collection problems. The acid test ratio, also known as the quick ratio, is a quantitative measure that determines an organisation’s ability to pay its current liabilities by liquidating its current assets.


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