DEBT RATIO Definition

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DEBT RATIO measures the percent of total funds provided by creditors. Debt includes both current liabilities and long-term debt. Creditors prefer low debt ratios because the lower the ratio, the greater the cushion against creditors losses in liquidation. Owners may seek high debt ratios, either to magnify earnings or because selling new stock would mean giving up control. Owners want control while "using someone elses money." Debt Ratio is best compared to industry data to determine if a company is possibly over or under leveraged. The right level of debt for a business depends on many factors. Some advantages of higher debt levels are:

  • The deductibility of interest from business expenses can provide tax advantages.
  • Returns on equity can be higher.
  • Debt can provide a suitable source of capital to start or expand a business.

Some disadvantages can be:

  • Sufficient cash flow is required to service a higher debt load.
  • The need for this cash flow can place pressure on a business if income streams are erratic.
  • Susceptibility to interest rate increases.
  • Directing cash flow to service debt may starve expenditure in other areas such as development which can be detrimental to overall survival of the business.

 Formula: Total Liabilities / (Total Liabilities + Stockholders Equity)

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SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS is the analysis of how sensitive outcomes are to changes in the assumptions. The assumptions that deserve the most attention should depend largely on the dominant benefit and cost elements and the areas of greatest uncertainty of the program or process being analyzed.

CURRENT RATIO, a comparison of current assets to current liabilities, is a commonly used measure of short-run solvency, i.e., the immediate ability of a firm to pay its current debts as they come due. Current Ratio is particularly important to a company thinking of borrowing money or getting credit from their suppliers. Potential creditors use this ratio to measure a companys liquidity or ability to pay off short-term debts. Though acceptable ratios may vary from industry to industry below 1.00 is not atypical for high quality companies with easy access to capital markets to finance unexpected cash requirements. Smaller companies, however, should have higher current ratios to meet unexpected cash requirements. The rule of thumb Current Ratio for small companies is 2:1, indicating the need for a level of safety in the ability to cover unforeseen cash needs from current assets. Current Ratio is best compared to the industry. Formula: Current Assets / Current Liabilities

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