Quick Ratio

The quick ratio, also known as the acid-test ratio, is a financial indicator used to evaluate a company's short-term liquidity and capacity to satisfy urgent financial obligations without relying on inventory sales. Inventory is not included in this ratio because it usually takes a long time to convert inventory into cash. Prepaid expenses are also not included because they are not convertible into cash, and as such are not capable of covering current liabilities. It is a critical ratio for understanding a company's financial statement for investors, creditors, and management.

Quick Ratio

Formulation of the Quick Ratio

Some Terms Meaning

Quick Assets: Quick assets are a subset of a company's current assets that can be easily turned into cash in a short amount of time. They are also referred to as liquid assets or cash equivalents. These assets can be used to cover immediate expenses or unexpected cash demands.

Current Liabilities: Current liabilities are debts a company must pay within a normal operating cycle. Also, this term is known as short-term liabilities. Employee wages, taxes, and payments toward long-term debts are current liabilities.

Cash: Physical currency (coins and banknotes) and the balance in a company's bank accounts are referred to as cash. It is a company's most liquid asset, and it may be easily used for meeting financial obligations.

Marketable Securities: Marketable securities are short-term assets that a corporation can easily buy and sell on the open market. Government bonds, Treasury bills, and certain types of commercial paper are examples of short-term investments with periods of less than a year.

Accounts Receivable: Accounts receivable are amounts due to a business by its customers for goods or services given or offered on credit. It denotes the amount of money that the company is still waiting for from its consumers.

Current Liabilities: The company's current liabilities are its short-term financial obligations that are due within a year. Accounts payable (money owed to suppliers for products or services), short-term loans, accumulated expenses, and other short-term debts are examples.

Current Assets: Assets that a corporation expects to convert into cash or use within one year or the business's operational cycle (whichever is longer). It includes cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities, accounts receivable, and inventory.

Inventory: Refers to the goods or raw materials that a company keeps for resale or usage in the manufacturing process. It contains finished goods that are ready for sale, works in progress, and raw materials.

Prepaid Expenses: Prepaid expenses are expenses that a firm pays in advance for goods or services that it will receive in the future. These are classified as assets until the benefits are consumed or realized, at which point they are classified as expenses.

Interpretation of the Quick Ratio

As mentioned above, the quick ratio indicates the company’sfinancial health and liquidity statement. Hence interpreting the quick ratiofor a company have importance. Ifthe ratio is 1:1, the company's liquid assets and current liabilitiesare equal in amount. A greater ratio means the business could more than coverits current liabilities.

1)    When Quick Ratio < 1

This means that the company may struggle tomeet its short-term obligations without relying on inventory sales. The companyhas many concerns about the satisfaction of short-term financial obligations.The company has a liquidity problem, and this situation leads to covering its currentliabilities with its readily available liquid assets.

2)    When Quick Ratio = 1

This means that the company’s quick assetsare just sufficient to cover its current liabilities. This situation isnot too critical, but the company should be careful if the company has anoperation in the industry with volatile cash flows. As understood, the companymeets the short-term obligations, but the company doesn’t have lots of moneyfor unexpected changes.

3)    When Quick Ratio > 1

This means that the company has more quickassets than the current liabilities. This situation considers apositive sign because the company can overcompensate its current liabilitieswithout inventory sales. Moreover, the company can deal the unexpectedfinancial changes effortlessly. However, extremely high quick isn’t considereda good sign always because the situation indicates that the company is sittingon a very large cash balance. This idle cash could be better invested in thebusiness or business strategy to earn interest or returns.

Some Examples

Current Ratio

The current ratio is equal to current assets divided by current liabilities. It is used to measure the ability of an enterprise to meet its current liabilities out of current assets. This ratio gives information on the company's short-term liquidity and is a crucial statistic for evaluating its financial situation.

Current assets and current liabilities are mentioned above these terms are used for short-term. The interpretation of the current ratio is like a quick ratio.

  • When the current ratio < 1, the company has more current liabilities than current assets. This situation leads to some concerns about the company’s liquidity.
  • When the current ratio = 1, the company’s current liability is equal to the company’s current assets. This situation may lead to concerns when unexpected changes occur.

When the current ratio > 1, the company has more current assets than current liabilities. This situation implies that the company is healthy as financially.

Quick Ratio vs Current Ratio

Utilizing both ratios can give investors, creditors, and management insightful information about a company's short-term financial health. However, these terms have little difference. We will analyze the differences between these terms.

  • The quick ratio covers only the most liquid assets because the quick ratio doesn’t include inventory and other current assets. Due to this reason, this term gives a more conservative evaluation. This ratio gives more reliable signs for short-term liquidity. By using this ratio, companies become more cautious against financial changes.
  • The current ratio covers all current assets. This ratio provides a more comprehensive evaluation of short-term liquidity due to this reason. This ratio could be more than the company’s expectation because it includes all assets hence current ratio could be misleading.  

It can be said that quick ratio is a more important concept and more conservative for making short-term cash flow evaluations.

Limitations of Quick Ratio

Ignoring the Inventory

The quick ratio excludes the inventory as mentioned beforebecause inventory may not be easily converted into cash. This approach providesmore conservative results but this approach may not be suitable for someindustries such as retail or manufacturing. The results for companies that areretail or manufacturing may have low quick ratios because of slow-movinginventory.

Ignoring the Accounts Receivable

If the company wants to calculate the quick ratio, the companyshould treat all accounts receivable as equally liquid assets. However, in reallife, all receivables might not be collectible or may take time to convert intocash because of some reasons. This limitation leads that the quick ratio giveslower results.

Limited Time Structure

The quick ratio is calculated for the short-term and thissituation leads to not seeing the real potential for the long term. Moreover,investors or creditors couldn’t see the company’s ability to meet long-termobligations. Due to this reason, they have some concerns about the company’s generalfinancial situation.

Advantages of the Quick Ratios

Early Warning

This ratio is conservative for short-term financial obligations.It highlights the most quickly available resources by omitting fewer liquidassets such as inventories, guaranteeing a corporation can meet immediatefinancial needs without relying on sales or protracted collection periods. Thecompany can make provisions against unexpected financial crises or potentialcrises.

Easy Comparison

The quick ratio enables rapid and easy comparisons acrossbusinesses, whether they are in the same industry or different industries. Byoffering a standardized measure of short-term liquidity, it facilitatesthe evaluation of a company's financial status by creditors and investors.

Disadvantages of Quick Ratio

Evaluating the Short-Term

This ratio is calculated for aspecific point in time and ignores the changes in the cash flow.

Ignoring the External Factors

When calculating the quick ratio,the economic conditions are neglected. For example, the county has a financialcrisis hence companies’ quick ratio may be lower than the companies’ potential.

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