MASTERCLASS Investment – the Quick Ratio and what it tells the investor

MASTERCLASS Investment – the Quick Ratio and what it tells the investor

Investment – the Quick Ratio and what it tells the investor

The quick ratio indicates a company’s short-term liquidity, that is, the ability to meet short-term obligations with its most liquid (available) assets. For this reason, the ratio excludes inventories from current assets, and is calculated as follows:

Quick ratio = (current assets – inventories)    /    current liabilities,

or in detail –

= (cash and equivalents + marketable securities + accounts receivable) / current liabilities

The quick ratio measures the dollar amount of liquid assets available for each dollar of current liabilities. Therefore, a quick ratio of 1.8 means that a company has $1.80 of liquid assets available to cover each $1 of current liabilities. The higher the quick ratio, the better the company’s liquidity position. The ratio is also known as the “acid-test ratio” or “quick assets ratio.”

An example 

A company Balance Sheet has – Cash $3 million, marketable securities $8 million, accounts receivable $5 million, inventories $15 million.

This is offset by current liabilities of $18 million.

The quick ratio in this case is (3+8+5)/18 = 0.89 and the

 current ratio is (3+8+5+15)/18 = 1.72 .

Some points to note

The quick ratio is considered more conservative than a similar ratio, the current ratio because it excludes inventories from current assets. The ratio derives its name, it seems, because assets such as cash and marketable securities are quick sources of cash. Inventory can take time to be converted into cash, and if they have to be sold quickly, the result may be a lower price than book value of these inventories. As a result, they are excluded from assets that are ready sources of immediate cash.

Including “accounts receivable” as ready cash is also questioned by some, and depends on the credit terms that the company extends to its customers. A firm that gives its customers only 30 days to pay will obviously be in a better liquidity position than one that gives 90 days. But the liquidity position also depends on the credit terms the company has negotiated from its suppliers. For example, if a firm gives its customers 90 days to pay, but has 120 days to pay its suppliers, its liquidity position may be reasonable.

The other issue with including accounts receivable as a source of quick cash is that unlike cash and marketable securities – which can typically be converted into cash at the full value shown on the balance sheet – the total accounts receivable amount actually received may be slightly below book value because of discounts for early payment and credit losses.

Got questions? If you want experts who have years of helping others, without the hype – then call for a FREE strategy session today and also get your FREE Expert Guide – Self-Managed Super and You top right hand side above.

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0407 361 596 – Paul.

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