Return on Assets ROA: Formula and ‘Good’ ROA Defined

Successful businesses are able to earn more money from their assets, and ROA tells you how well a business is doing that. The ratio is considered to be an indicator of how effectively a company is using its assets to generate earnings. EBIT is used instead of net profit to keep the metric focused on operating earnings without the influence of tax or financing differences when compared to similar companies. The Return on Assets (ROA) is a profitability ratio that reflects the efficiency at which a company utilizes its total assets to generate more net earnings, expressed as a percentage.

Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. To reiterate from earlier, the equation for calculating the return on assets is shown below. Regarding the fixed assets base (i.e. the PP&E), the decline of $16m implies fewer capital expenditures are required. The takeaway is that the current asset balance is trending upward, but the cause of the positive +$8m change is caused by the cash balance increase, not inventories.

Furthermore, the calculated ROA is then expressed in percentage form, which allows for comparisons among peer companies, as well as for assessing changes year-over-year. Generally, all companies should strive to maximize the output level with the required spending kept at a minimum – as this means the company is operating near full capacity and efficiency. However, if you compared the manufacturing company to its closest competitors, and they all had ROAs below 4%, you might find that it’s doing far better than its peers. Conversely, if you looked at the dating app in comparison to similar tech firms, you could discover that most of them have ROAs closer to 20%, meaning it’s actually underperforming more similar companies.

ROA is commonly used by analysts performing financial analysis of a company’s performance. You calculate the ROOA by subtracting the value of the assets not in use from the value of the total assets, and then dividing the net income by the result. Another standard measurement of assets and the returns they produce is known as the “return on operating assets” (ROOA). For instance, this might happen if the company decides to sell several large pieces of equipment.

Return on Assets (ROA) is a type of return on investment (ROI) metric that measures the profitability of a business in relation to its total assets. This ratio indicates how well a company is performing xero accounting integration by comparing the profit (net income) it’s generating to the capital it’s invested in assets. The higher the return, the more productive and efficient management is in utilizing economic resources.

Net income is the net amount realized by a firm after deducting all the costs of doing business in a given period. It includes all interest paid on debt, income tax due to the government, and all operational and non-operational expenses. Example of Asset-intensive companies is Auto company, Airline company, etc. As per Industry standards, An Asset-intensive company has a return on assets under 5%, and an asset-light company has a return on assets above 20%. Both the three- and five-step equations provide a deeper understanding of a company’s ROE by examining what is changing in a company rather than looking at one simple ratio. As always with financial statement ratios, they should be examined against the company’s history and its competitors’ histories.

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Return on assets gives an indication of the capital intensity of the company, which will depend on the industry; companies that require large initial investments will generally have lower return on assets. To calculate ROTA, divide net income by the average total assets in a given year, or for the trailing twelve month period if the data is available. The same ratio can also be represented as the product of profit margin and total asset turnover.

  • The return on assets ratio measures how effectively a company can earn a return on its investment in assets.
  • “The values can differ if the formula is changed,” says Adam Lynch, senior quantitative analyst at Schwab Equity Ratings. “Often these alternate versions vary the unit of time used in the calculation.”
  • The business world is full of acronyms, and keeping them all straight can be tough.
  • She is the author of four books, including End Financial Stress Now and The Five Years Before You Retire.
  • Return on assets (ROA) and ROE are similar in that they are both trying to gauge how efficiently the company generates its profits.
  • A “good” ROA depends on the company, the time frame of the calculation, and a few other factors.

In other words, the return on assets ratio or ROA measures how efficiently a company can manage its assets to produce profits during a period. Operating return on assets (OROA), an efficiency or profitability ratio, is a variation of the traditional return on assets ratio. Operating return on assets is used to show a company’s operating income that is generated per dollar invested specifically in its assets that are used in its everyday business operations. Like the return on assets ratio, OROA measures the level of profits relative to the company’s assets, but using a narrower definition of its assets. ROE is calculated by dividing a company’s net profits over a given period by shareholders’ equity—it measures how effectively the company is leveraging the capital it has generated by selling shares of stock. If ROA examines how well a company is managing the assets it owns to generate profits, ROE examines how well the company is managing the money invested by its shareholders to generate profits.


In addition, larger companies with greater efficiency may not be comparable to younger firms. Investors would have to compare Charlie’s return with other construction companies in his industry to get a true understanding of how well Charlie is managing his assets. SmartAsset Advisors, LLC (“SmartAsset”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Financial Insight Technology, is registered with the U.S.

What is a Good Return on Assets Ratio?

If shareholders’ equity is negative, the most common issue is excessive debt or inconsistent profitability. However, there are exceptions to that rule for companies that are profitable and have been using cash flow to buy back their own shares. For many companies, this is an alternative to paying dividends, and it can eventually reduce equity (buybacks are subtracted from equity) enough to turn the calculation negative. Return on assets (sometimes known as Return on total assets) is a financial ratio that tells how much profit a company can generate from its assets.

Limitations of Return on Equity

It’s important to compare a company’s ROA over multiple accounting periods. One year of a lower ROA may not be a concern if the company’s management team is investing in its future and it’s forecasted to increase profits over the coming years. As a result, companies with a low ROA tend to have more debt since they need to finance the cost of the assets. Having more debt is not bad as long as management uses it effectively to generate earnings. Comparing a company’s return on assets (ROA) to similar companies can indicate how effectively the management invests in its future.

Return on Assets formula is important for analyzing a company’s profitability. This can be used for comparing a company’s performance with different companies of similar size & industry or else can be used to compare the current performance of the company with its previous performance. Few things to keep in mind before comparing the companies based on Return on Assets. Average total assets can be calculated as the sum of assets at the beginning of the year and assets at the end of the year divided by 2. Opening and Closing amounts of total assets are available in any company’s balance sheet. Assume that there are two companies with identical ROEs and net income but different retention ratios.

For that reason, using the average assets to calculate ROA is often a better measure. Though ROE can easily be computed by dividing net income by shareholders’ equity, a technique called DuPont decomposition can break down the ROE calculation into additional steps. Created by the American chemicals corporation DuPont in the 1920s, this analysis reveals which factors are contributing the most (or the least) to a firm’s ROE. An outsize ROE can be indicative of a number of issues—such as inconsistent profits or excessive debt.

In circumstances where the company earns a new dollar for each dollar invested in it, the ROTA is said to be one, or 100 percent. In closing, the return on assets (ROA) metric is a practical method for investors to grasp a better understanding of how efficient a company is at converting its asset purchases into net income. To reiterate from earlier, the higher a company’s ROA, the more operationally efficient management is at generating more profits with fewer investments (and vice versa).

An ROA ratio is a measure of how much profit a company generated for each dollar in assets. It is calculated by either multiplying the net profit margin by asset turnover or by dividing the net income by the average assets for the period. The lower this ratio, the more asset-intensive a business is, meaning more money must be reinvested into the company in order for it to continue generating earnings. Return on assets, which is displayed as a percentage, is a metric for determining how well a business has been run over a set period of time compared to competitors. A higher ROA, also known as return on total assets, can indicate a company that is more efficient, and therefore better able to utilize any new investment. Typically, it is used to compare companies of similar size in the same sector or industry.

ROE that widely changes from one period to the next may also be an indicator of inconsistent use of accounting methods. Sustainable growth rates and dividend growth rates can be estimated using ROE, assuming that the ratio is roughly in line or just above its peer group average. Although there may be some challenges, ROE can be a good starting place for developing future estimates of a stock’s growth rate and the growth rate of its dividends. These two calculations are functions of each other and can be used to make an easier comparison between similar companies. In other words, every dollar that Charlie invested in assets during the year produced $13.3 of net income. Depending on the economy, this can be a healthy return rate no matter what the investment is.


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