Net debt is a liquidity metric that measures a company’s ability to settle all of its debts should they need to be…
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Liquidity ratios are used to measure the ability of a company to pay its short-term debts using liquid assets which can be converted to cash quickly. In this section, we cover the most important liquidity ratios you need to know.
What are Liquidity Ratios Used For?
Liquidity ratios are metrics that speak of a company’s capacity to cover its financial obligations as soon as they are due. Specifically, these numbers show how many times over short-term liabilities can be paid using the business’ cash and liquid assets. Higher liquidity ratios are generally safer as far as a company’s ability to settle its current liabilities is concerned. Liquidity ratios above 1 show that the business is in a favorable fiscal position and is unlikely to encounter hardships.
Various assets may be considered relevant, depending on the analyst. Some say only cash and cash equivalents count as relevant assets because short-term liabilities will probably be paid in cash. For others, debtors and trade receivables should qualify as relevant, while yet others consider the value of inventory relevant in liquidity ratio calculations.
The cash cycle is another vital concept to study for those who seek a greater understanding of liquidity ratios. Cash normally moves around a company’s operations and is tied up until the inventory is sold and the company receives the payment in cash. But until that payment is made, the money going around in the cash cycle is called working capital, where liquidity ratios are metrics that determine the balance between the company’s current assets and current liabilities.
Before a company can meet its financial obligations, it must first extract cash from the cash cycle so that creditors can be paid. In short, a company should have the capacity to convert its short-term assets into cash. That’s exactly what liquidity ratios attempt to assess.
Liquidity Ratio Pros & Cons
Analysts can rely on liquidity ratios to quickly assess several companies at once for potential issues. They help creditors determine whether or not a company can cover short-term liabilities and the level of risk they carry when seeking new debt. By comparing ratios within a single industry, analysts improve their understanding of a company’s fiscal strength with respect to those of its competitors.
Liquidity ratios, while generally useful, are not perfect metrics. They are calculated using values found in the company’s balance sheet, which means they capture a moment in the past but can’t be taken as a predictor of future performance. They can also be a the outcome of brilliant accounting strategies. A good analyst, however, will not only analyze the numbers themselves, but also every item of the balance sheet under current assets and current liabilities.
The Complete List of Liquidity Ratios
Below is the complete list of liquidity ratios we have covered. Each will provide a detailed overview of the ratio, what it’s used for, and why.
They also explain the formula behind the ratio and provide examples and analysis to help you understand them.