Cash Ratio: What It Is, When To Use It and How To Calculate

Cash Ratio

Types of cash equivalents in a cash ratio

You must be aware of a company’s cash reserves and any cash equivalents in order to calculate its cash ratio. If the business requires more cash on hand, it can quickly and easily liquidate these sources of funding. Common cash equivalents include:

Commercial papers

An unsecured note offered by a business, typically a lending institution, is known as commercial paper. The issuer of the commercial paper pays back more money than they originally received as compensation for taking on the risk. Any commercial papers that a company holds must be repaid within a year because the term of a commercial paper cannot exceed 270 days.

Marketable securities

A marketable security is an investment that can be quickly sold or converted into cash holdings, making it an effective way to generate short-term funds. Common marketable securities include stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and bonds.

Money market funds

A mutual fund that concentrates on low-risk, high-liquidity investments is known as a money marketing fund. While still allowing for simple access to the money in case of emergency, this enables a company to invest excess capital more profitably than simply holding onto it and earning interest.

Short-term government bonds

An investment opportunity known as a government bond allows the buyer to give the government the money it needs to fund a project. In return, the government pays back more money, and the business keeps the extra money as a net gain.

Treasury bills

A treasury bill, also known as a “T-bill,” is a security that the US Department of Treasury issues. A business serves as a lender for the federal government when it purchases a T-bill. With terms no longer than 52 weeks, each T-bill has a predetermined maturity rate that determines when it converts back into cash. The government repays the company more than the original loan when the T-bill matures, resulting in profit for the business.

What is the cash ratio?

The cash ratio compares a company’s cash and cash equivalents—also referred to as its liquid assets—to its current liabilities. The company’s cash on hand and assets that it can quickly convert to cash are considered liquid assets and are included in the cash ratio.

The amount is then divided by the company’s short-term liabilities, which include any obligations due within the next year. A ratio over one indicates that a company has enough cash and easily liquidated assets to cover all short-term liabilities, while a number under one indicates that short-term debts are currently greater than readily available resources to pay them. When determining the viability of a requested line of credit, lenders may consider this data.

Cash ratio formula

Check your financial records to determine the value of all of your liquid assets and any debts that are due within the next year in order to calculate your cash ratio. Enter the information into this formula to determine the cash ratio:

Cash Ratio = (Cash + Cash Equivalents) / Current Liabilities

A company with a low cash ratio may not be borrowing responsibly and run a high risk of defaulting on obligations. A better outcome demonstrates that the business can more easily use its short-term assets to cover its short-term liabilities. However, a lower number is preferable in some situations. A cash ratio greater than one indicates that the business can easily pay its debts, but some of the cash may be better used elsewhere. This could indicate that a business is being overly cautious and not taking advantage of opportunities.

Depending on the sector and stage of development of a company, such as the difference between a start-up building its brand and an established company, the ideal target for a cash ratio can vary, but a ratio less than one and over 0 is preferred. 5 is a general guideline for a strong result. This demonstrates that the business takes calculated risks when they are necessary to advance, but not to the point where there is a significant risk of default due to minor unforeseen difficulties.

When to use the cash ratio

When making a quick evaluation of your company’s liquidity and stability, a cash ratio is the perfect tool. An outside company may conduct a cash ratio analysis on a company when evaluating a potential loan or partnership, or a company may use the cash ratio internally to evaluate its plans.

When looking for a conservative approach to a company’s finances, choosing the cash ratio as a preferred metric is typically best. Because it makes it less likely that an external entity that owes the company money experiences a change that makes them unable to pay, cash ratio reduces uncertainty by only measuring short-term assets.

Differences between cash ratio, current ratio and quick ratio

One metric for determining a company’s asset-to-liability ratio is the cash ratio. In order to adjust what is being measured, the quick ratio and current ratio both add data from a cash ratio:

Quick ratio

Adding accounts receivable to the quick ratio changes it from the cash ratio. This enables the business to include any anticipated client and customer payments that are due within the year:

(Cash + Cash Equivalents + Accounts Receivable) / Current Liabilities is the cash ratio.

The quick ratio can offer a more accurate assessment of the company’s anticipated financial situation over the upcoming year by taking into account money that customers owe the business. However, the quick ratio adds uncertainty. If a business that owes the company money in the upcoming year fails or experiences financial difficulties, that could result in them failing to make payments, making the information in the quick ratio inaccurate. A severe market downturn can seriously affect a quick ratio’s accuracy by causing a number of clients to default on their obligations to the business.

Current ratio

The current ratio extends the quick ratio further and changes the denominator of the equation to include the value of current inventory. The best way to determine a company’s true worth for one that specializes in tangible goods is perhaps to add inventory:

Cash Ratio = Current Liabilities / (Cash + Cash Equivalents + Accounts Receivable + Inventory)

Calculating the current ratio, like the quick ratio, enables a more thorough evaluation of your company’s assets. Since the current ratio is based on the assumption that you will receive the assigned value for your inventory, it also entails more risk.

Sales may decline or a necessary price reduction may become necessary if a product is not as successful as anticipated, either because of a lack of demand or a downturn in the market. As a result, your business is unable to realize the anticipated value from its inventory, which overstates the current ratio.

Ratio examples

An illustration of how to determine a cash ratio is given below:

A banker looks at the applicant’s financial records when evaluating a loan application. They find the following assets for the company:

The companys debts and liabilities are:

The banker calculates the cash ratio using the given data:

($20,000 accounts payable + $45,000 short-term debt) / ($25,000 cash + $35,000 cash equivalents) = $60,000 / $65,000 = 923 cash ratio.

They also compute the firm’s quick and current ratios to obtain a more thorough evaluation:

($20,000 accounts payable + $45,000 short-term debt) / ($25,000 cash + $35,000 cash equivalents + $8,000 accounts receivable) = $68,000 / $65,000 = 1 046 quick ratio.

($25,000 in cash plus $35,000 in cash equivalents plus $8,000 in accounts receivable and $25,000 in inventory) / ($20,000 in accounts payable and $45,000 in short-term debt) = $93,000 / $65,000 = 1. 431 current ratio.

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