The acid-test ratio is the sum of the current assets to current liabilities. A current asset is the sum of a company’s assets, which can be converted into cash within 90 days. Current assets are cash, short-term investments, and cash equivalent cash, receivable minus inventories minus prepaid expenses divided by current liabilities. Inventories are not considered in the current asset as they cannot be converted into cash, and prepaid expenses are subtracted as they cannot be reversed back to cash easily. Most companies and investors want a company to have an acid test ratio of one or slightly more than one. This means the company has enough cash, or assets, that quickly convert to cash, to pay all current liabilities.

In this example, ABC Manufacturing has an Acid-Test Ratio of 2, indicating that it can cover its current liabilities two times over using its most liquid assets. This suggests that the company has a strong ability to meet its short-term obligations without relying on inventory sales. As you can see, the formula is essentially “weighing” two parts of a company’s financials.

The acid-test ratio evaluates an enterprise’s short-term solvency or liquidity position. The reason for this is that inventories are not always easy to convert into cash. At the other extreme, an acid test ratio that is too high could indicate that a company is holding on too tightly to its cash when it could be using it to fuel business growth. Though generally reliable, the ratio can yield incorrect indications when a company has an unused line of credit. In this situation, it may have little or no cash on hand, and yet can draw upon the cash in the line of credit to pay its bills.

The reliability of this ratio depends on the industry the business you’re evaluating operates in, so like many other financial ratios, it’s best to use it when comparing similar companies. This is how the company’s acid-test ratio is calculated, and investors do an analysis to invest in the right company. A ratio above 1.0 means that the company can theoretically pay off all its current liabilities even without needing to sell off its inventory. I say “theoretically” because, in practice, the acid-test ratio doesn’t consider the exact timing that the payments are owed, so it will always be just a high-level approximation.

Higher quick ratios are more favorable for companies because it shows there are more quick assets than current liabilities. A company with a quick ratio of 1 indicates that quick assets equal current assets. This also shows that the company could pay off its current liabilities without selling any long-term assets.

  1. The Acid-Test Ratio considers only the most liquid assets, such as cash, marketable securities, and accounts receivable.
  2. The reason for this is that inventories are not always easy to convert into cash.
  3. The “floor” for both the quick ratio and current ratio is 1.0x, however, that reflects the bare minimum, not the ideal target.
  4. Also, do not include inventory in the calculation, since it can take a long time (if ever) to convert inventory into cash.
  5. Apply for financing, track your business cashflow, and more with a single lendio account.
  6. It is of less use in services businesses, such as Internet companies, that tend to hold large cash balances.

The acid-test ratio, commonly known as the quick ratio, uses data from a firm’s balance sheet to indicate whether it has the means to cover its short-term liabilities. Generally, a ratio of 1.0 or more indicates a company can pay its short-term obligations, while a ratio of less than 1.0 indicates it might struggle to pay them. After all, isn’t inventory also an asset that is typically converted into cash within one year? This is a good observation, and indeed it is true that from a businessperson’s perspective, it’s certainly possible (and quite common) to generate short-term cash by selling off inventory. However, inventory is deliberately excluded from the acid-test ratio in an effort to make the ratio even more conservative. As with other business formulas, the acid test ratio is a quick way to assess one component of a business’ financial health—in this case, its short-term liquidity—but is not without its limitations.

Understanding the Acid-Test Ratio can give you valuable insight into a company’s financial health and help you make informed investment decisions. So, the next time you analyze a company’s financial statements, be sure to calculate its Acid-Test Ratio and factor it into your assessment. While other liquidity measures take into account additional assets a business has, such as inventory that could be sold to generate cash, the acid test ratio is more conservative. The only assets that are included as available to pay debts are cash accounts, marketable securities (investments that could be quickly sold) and accounts receivable. Accounts receivable are amounts due to the company from its customers for service or merchandise that has already been provided.

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Depending on how you look at it, this can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. It’s an advantage because it means the ratio won’t be inflated by inventory which might end up being worth less than its stated value. On the other hand, it’s a disadvantage in that it can make some companies (such as profitable retailers) seem less financially healthy than they really are. When he’s not working, he enjoys playing basketball, taking his kids to Disneyland, and discovering new hot sauces to enjoy. The rest of the assets on the balance sheet are not quick assets and are therefore excluded from the acid test ratio. Current assets include any asset that can be reasonably converted into cash within one year.

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By ordinary standards, a quick ratio of less than one is considered unhealthy. However, the retail industry’s low acid-test ratio is a mark of its robust inventory practices. Quick ratios are useful only when they are compared to industry standards or trends for that sector. For example, the retail industry has a quick ratio value that is substantially lower than its current ratio.

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Financial ratios should be compared with industry standards to determine whether such ratios are normal or deviate materially from what is expected. A firm’s short-term liabilities include accounts payable, short-term loans, income tax due, and accrued expenses that the organization has yet to pay off. Accrued expenses can include any fraction of a long-term loan that is due for repayment within the next 12 months. In particular, a current ratio below 1.0x would be more concerning than a quick ratio below 1.0x, although either ratio being low could be a sign that liquidity might soon become a concern.

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A higher ratio means that those assets would be enough to cover the liabilities with money left over. For example, an acid test ratio of 2.0x means that the business could cover by two times. Obviously the liabilities would not have to be paid more than once — the fact that the business could potentially come up with twice as much cash as it needs provides a cushion, or a margin for error. Liquidity refers to the ability of a company to come up with the cash it needs as it needs it, an important aspect of the financial health of a business. Companies with an acid-test ratio of less than 1.0 do not have enough liquid assets to pay their current liabilities and should be treated cautiously. If the acid-test ratio is much lower than the current ratio, a company’s current assets are highly dependent on inventory.

An acid-test ratio of less than one is a strike against a firm because it translates to an inability to pay off creditors due to fewer assets than liabilities. Here, the total current assets are $120 million and the liquid current assets is $60 million. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. It is not uncommon for certain industries to have ratios below 1, especially industries that hold a lot of inventory, such as retailers. Therefore, in this scenario, we would probably conclude that we are relatively healthy.

An acid ratio of 2 shows that the company has twice as many quick assets than current liabilities. Sometimes company financial statements don’t give a breakdown of quick assets on the balance sheet. In this case, you can still calculate the quick ratio even if some of the quick wave sales tax report asset totals are unknown. Simply subtract inventory and any current prepaid assets from the current asset total for the numerator. Inventory is not included as a liquid asset because it cannot be quickly and easily converted into cash form without incurring some form of loss.

My Accounting Course  is a world-class educational resource developed by experts to simplify accounting, finance, & investment analysis topics, so students and professionals can learn and propel their careers. The quick ratio is often called the acid test ratio in reference to the historical use of acid to test metals for gold by the early miners. If metal failed the acid test by corroding from the acid, it was a base metal and of no value. A company with a low current or quick ratio should likely proceed with some degree of caution, and the next step would be to determine how much more capital and how quickly it could be obtained. For purposes of comparability, the formula for calculating the current ratio is shown here to observe why the former metric is deemed more conservative.

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