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Liquidity Ratios

July 17, 2023
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Josh Viljoen
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Josh Viljoen

What are liquidity ratios and how can we use them in fanancilal analysis?

 

Liquidity ratios are a set of financial ratios that measure a company's ability to meet its short-term obligations by assessing its ability to convert assets into cash quickly. These ratios are commonly used by analysts, investors, and creditors to evaluate a company's liquidity position and to assess its ability to pay its debts as they come due. In this article, we will discuss the most commonly used liquidity ratios and their application in financial analysis.

 

Current Ratio

The current ratio is one of the most widely used liquidity ratios. It is calculated by dividing a company's current assets by its current liabilities. The formula for the current ratio is as follows:

 

Current Ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities

 

For example, if a company has current assets of R500,000 and current liabilities of R250,000, its current ratio would be:

Current Ratio = R500,000 / R250,000 = 2

A current ratio of 2 indicates that the company has two times more current assets than current liabilities. Generally, a current ratio of 1.5 to 3 is considered healthy, as it suggests that the company can pay off its short-term debts.

 

Quick Ratio

The quick ratio, also known as the acid-test ratio, is a more stringent measure of liquidity than the current ratio. It excludes inventory from current assets as inventory may take longer to convert into cash. The quick ratio is calculated by dividing a company's quick assets (current assets - inventory) by its current liabilities. The formula for the quick ratio is as follows:

 

Quick Ratio = (Current Assets - Inventory) / Current Liabilities

 

For example, if a company has current assets of R500,000, inventory of R100,000, and current liabilities of R250,000, its quick ratio would be:

Quick Ratio = (R500,000 - R100,000) / R250,000 = 1.6

A quick ratio of 1 or greater is considered healthy, as it indicates that the company has sufficient liquid assets to cover its short-term debts.

 

Cash Ratio

The cash ratio is the most conservative measure of liquidity, as it only considers the company's most liquid assets, such as cash and cash equivalents. The cash ratio is calculated by dividing a company's cash and cash equivalents by its current liabilities. The formula for the cash ratio is as follows:

 

Cash Ratio = Cash and Cash Equivalents / Current Liabilities

 

For example, if a company has cash and cash equivalents of R100,000 and current liabilities of R50,000, its cash ratio would be:

Cash Ratio = R100,000 / R50,000 = 2

A cash ratio of 0.5 or greater is considered healthy, as it indicates that the company has sufficient cash on hand to cover its short-term debts.

 

Operating Cash Flow Ratio

The operating cash flow ratio measures a company's ability to generate cash from its operations to meet its short-term obligations. It is calculated by dividing a company's operating cash flow by its current liabilities. The formula for the operating cash flow ratio is as follows:

 

Operating Cash Flow Ratio = Operating Cash Flow / Current Liabilities

 

For example, if a company has operating cash flow of R200,000 and current liabilities of R100,000, its operating cash flow ratio would be:

Operating Cash Flow Ratio = R200,000 / R100,000 = 2

A high operating cash flow ratio indicates that the company generates enough cash from its operations to meet its short-term obligations.

 

Liquidity ratios are an essential tool for financial analysis as they provide insights into a company's ability to pay its debts as they come due. They help investors and creditors to assess the company's short-term liquidity position and its overall financial health.

 

 


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