Financial ratios are a fundamental tool used in financial analysis. They provide insight into a business's financial status and help compare the performance of a business against its past, industry peers, and other competitors. Financial ratios are indicators of a firm’s performance and provide useful information for measuring efficiency and profitability.

Understanding the different types of financial ratios is essential for making informed decisions related to investments, budgeting, and other financial decisions. There are various types of financial ratios, each with their own purpose and importance. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the most common financial ratios and why they are important.

Liquidity Ratios

Liquidity ratios are financial indicators used to measure a company’s ability to pay off its short-term liabilities with its current assets. The most common liquidity ratios are current ratio, quick ratio, cash ratio, accounts receivable turnover ratio, average collection period, inventory turnover, and fixed asset turnover.


The current ratio measures a company's ability to pay off its short-term liabilities with its current assets. It is calculated by dividing the current assets by the current liabilities. If a company has a current ratio of 1.5, it means that it has 1.5 times more assets than liabilities. The quick ratio is similar to the current ratio, but it excludes inventory as a part of the current assets. This is done because inventories may take longer to convert into cash and therefore are not as reliable as other current assets. The cash ratio is the most conservative measure of liquidity and is calculated by dividing the cash and cash equivalents by the current liabilities.

Examples of liquidity ratios

  • Current Ratio = Current Assets/Current Liabilities
  • Quick Ratio = (Current Assets - Inventory)/Current Liabilities
  • Cash Ratio= Cash and Cash Equivalents/Current Liabilities
  • Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio = Net Credit Sales/Average Accounts Receivable
  • Average Collection Period = Accounts Receivable/Average credit sales per day
  • Inventory Turnover = Cost of Goods Sold/Average Inventory
  • Fixed Asset Turnover = Net Sales/Net Fixed Assets

Leverage Ratios

Leverage ratios measure the financial leverage of a company, which looks at the relative amount of debt and equity the company is using to finance its operations. Leverage ratios are often used to compare different companies and assess the financial risk that comes with debt financing.


A leverage ratio measures the relative amount of debt that a company is using in relation to its equity. It helps to measure how much debt a company is using as compared to its available equity, and it helps to assess the overall financial risk of the company. Leverage ratios are usually expressed as a percentage.

Examples of leverage ratios

Some of the most commonly used leverage ratios include:

  • Debt-to-Asset Ratio: Measures the proportion of total assets that are funded by debt.
  • Debt-to-Equity Ratio: Measures the proportion of equity and debt used to finance a company's operations.
  • Interest Coverage Ratio: Measures a company's ability to pay its interest expenses using its income.
  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio: Measures a company's ability to pay its debt obligations with its income.

Activity Ratios

Activity ratios measure how efficiently a company is using its existing assets, resources, and personnel to generate revenue. Depending on the type of industry, activity ratios are also known as asset utilization ratios. An activity ratio typically looks at the time it takes to collect revenue from customers, the speed at which raw materials or supplies are turned into a finished product or service, and the number of times inventory is turned into sales.


In general, an activity ratio is an efficiency ratio that measures the ability of a company to convert different resources into the desired output. Since the primary objective of a business is to earn a profit, the activity ratio can serve as an indicator of how effective the company's management is in utilizing the resources. It also implies how well the company can employ different assets to maximize profits.

Examples of Activity Ratios

Some commonly used activity ratios are as follows:

  • Accounts Receivable Turnover - measures the average number of times a company's accounts receivable are collected in a month
  • Inventory Turnover - measures the average number of times inventory is sold or used in a month
  • Fixed Asset Turnover - measures the amount of sales generated by fixed assets used in the production process
  • Total Asset Turnover - measures the amount of sales generated by a company's total assets

Profitability Ratios

Profitability ratios are used to gauge the company’s ability to generate a profit from its assets and operations. These ratios measure the level of return generated from the company’s operations and investments. These include a company’s ability to generate sales from its assets, expenses, and the effectiveness of management in controlling costs.


Profitability ratios are financial metrics that measure the ability of a business to generate profit. They indicate the overall health and efficiency of the business. They can also be used to make comparisons between companies or industry sectors. The most commonly used profitability ratios include gross profit margin, net profit margin, operating profit margin, return on assets, and return on equity.

Examples of Profitability Ratios

  • Gross Profit Margin: Calculated by dividing gross profit by total revenue. This indicates the percentage of revenue that was not spent producing the goods or services.
  • Net Profit Margin: Calculated by dividing net income by total revenue. This indicates the percentage of revenue that remains after all expenses have been paid.
  • Operating Profit Margin: Calculated by dividing operating income by total sales. This indicates the percentage of revenue available to cover other costs and expenses.
  • Return on Assets: Calculated by dividing net income by total assets. This indicates the efficiency of asset utilization.
  • Return on Equity: Calculated by dividing net income by total shareholders’ equity. This indicates the efficiency with which the management uses equity to generate profits.

Investment Performance Ratios

Financial ratios are used to measure a company's performance in various aspects. Investment Performance ratios are used to assess a company's management of its investments and financial performance. These ratios typically measure the rate of return from different investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.


Investment performance ratios are gauges that measure the rate of return received from different investments. These ratios compare the profits earned from the investments against the amount of money the company initially invested. Investment performance ratios measure the return on investments over certain periods which can be useful for forecasting the performance of individual investments.

Examples of Investment Performance Ratios

  • Return On Equity (ROE): The rate of return earned by a company on its shareholder's equity.
  • Return On Investment (ROI): The rate of return earned by a company, calculated by dividing its profit by the amount of money initially invested.
  • Return On Assets (ROA): The rate of return earned on a company's total assets.
  • Price To Earnings (P/E) Ratio: A measure of the relationship between a company's share price and its underlying earnings.
  • Price To Book (P/B) Ratio: A measure that compares the price of a company's shares to its book value.


When assessing the financial state of a business, it is important for decision-makers to understand the different types of financial ratios. Financial ratios provide a concise way to interpret financial statements, allowing investors and lenders to compare companies with similar assets and/or liabilities. Understanding the various types of financial ratios is essential in making educated and informed decisions at the corporate level.

The different financial ratios represent the relationship between financial elements of a business. Some of these ratios are short-term, such as current ratio and quick ratio, while others are long-term measures, such as debt-to-assets ratio and ROE. Most financial ratios focus on profitability, liquidity, and solvency, but there are also non-financial ratios that measure operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and more.

Financial ratios provide insights that help decision-makers assess the financial health of a business and make sound decisions regarding future investments and business strategies. It is important for business owners, investors, and lenders to evaluate financial ratios and use them to gain a deeper understanding of the current state of a company.

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