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What are Liquidity Ratios?
Liquidity ratios are crucial financial metrics that help measure a company’s ability to pay off its short-term obligations using its current assets. The capacity of a company to stay liquid in the long-term is vital for its long-term success. Therefore, liquidity ratios help users measure if a company has enough current assets to cover its current liabilities.
Therefore, two components contribute to a company’s liquidity. Firstly, current assets are short-term assets that companies use in their daily operations. The higher a company’s current assets are, the more margin they have to cover their short-term obligations. On the other hand, current liabilities represent those short-term obligations. The lower these are, the better it is for a company’s liquidity.
There is no formula for liquidity ratio on its own. However, there are various types of liquidity ratios that users may use.
What are the different types of Liquidity Ratios?
There are three prevalent liquidity ratios commonly used by investors. These include the current, quick, and cash ratios.
The Current Ratio
The current ratio is the most straightforward liquidity ratio. It compares a company’s current assets with its current liabilities. It can help measure a company’s ability to pay off its current liabilities with its current assets. The higher the ratio is, the better the company’s liquidity position will be.
Usually, a current ratio of 2:1 or higher is considered best for companies. However, a lower number may also be acceptable depending on the industry in which a company operates. The formula for the current ratio is as follows.
Current Ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities
The Quick Ratio
The quick ratio, also known as the acid test ratio, measures a company’s ability to meet its short-term obligations. However, it only considers the most liquid assets from the total current assets of a company. Therefore, the ratio does not consider a company’s inventories when measuring its liquidity position.
The higher a company’s quick ratio is, the better it is. Usually, a quick ratio of 1:1 or higher is considered best. However, for some companies, a lower quick ratio may be acceptable depending on the industry in which they operate. The formula for quick ratio is as follows.
Quick Ratio = (Current Assets – Inventory) / Current Liabilities
The Cash Ratio
A company’s cash ratio even further classifies its current assets. This ratio only considers a company’s cash and marketable securities balances in meeting its short-term obligations. It is because cash and marketable securities are a company’s most liquid assets most readily available to pay short-term commitments.
As with other liquidity ratios, the higher the cash ratio is, the better it is. Usually, a cash ratio of 0.5:1 is considered favourable. However, it may also be lower for some industries. The formula for the cash ratio is as follows.
Cash Ratio = (Cash + Marketable Securities) / Current Liabilities
What is the importance of Liquidity Ratios?
There are various reasons why liquidity ratios are crucial. Firstly, it helps users determine a company’s ability to pay its current liabilities. It can also help gauge a company’s creditworthiness. Investors may also use liquidity ratios for making decisions regarding their investments in companies.
Liquidity ratios consider a company’s ability to pay its short-term obligations using its current assets. There are various liquidity ratios that companies may use. Among these, the most prominent ones include the current, quick, and cash ratios. Each of these considers several aspects of a company’s liquidity position.
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