Acid-Test Ratio

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Acid-Test Ratio: Definition & Examples

An Acid-Test Ratio is a metric used to see if a company is positioned to sell assets within 90 days to meet immediate expenses.

Accounting Rate Of Return Explained

In the financial world, liquidity ratios are the bread and butter for assessing a company’s ability to meet its short-term obligations.

Among these, the Acid-Test Ratio, also known as the Quick Ratio, stands out for its stringent evaluation criteria.

The Acid-Test Ratio is a metric that gauges a company’s short-term liquidity by comparing its most liquid assets to its current liabilities.

Specifically, it looks at cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, but leaves out inventory from the equation. Why is this important?

Well, inventory can be hard to quickly convert into cash, and this exclusion makes the Acid-Test Ratio a more conservative measure compared to other liquidity ratios like the Current Ratio.

Understanding this ratio can be a game-changer for investors, creditors, and analysts alike. A high Acid-Test Ratio generally signifies that a company is well-equipped to settle its immediate debts without resorting to selling its inventory.

On the flip side, a low ratio could be a warning sign of liquidity issues and possibly indicate financial trouble ahead.

For those who crave a rigorous evaluation of a company’s financial stability, the Acid-Test Ratio is your go-to indicator. It provides a clear snapshot of a company’s liquidity without the rosy lens that inventory might add.

Key Insights

  • The Acid-Test Ratio provides a stringent measure of a company’s liquidity by omitting inventory from the equation.
  • Although valuable, the Acid-Test Ratio should be considered alongside other financial metrics for a fuller understanding of a company’s health.

An Example Of An ARR

Let’s say you’re examining Company X, which has $10,000 in cash, $5,000 in marketable securities, and $20,000 in current liabilities.

The Acid-Test Ratio would be calculated as follows:

Acid-Test Ratio = (10,000+5,000) / 20,000 = 0.75

A ratio of 0.75 is below 1, which could be a red flag that Company X may struggle to meet its short-term obligations if they all came due at once.

The Acid-Test Ratio doesn’t just measure financial health; it’s a litmus test for how resilient a company is under fiscal pressures.


Why is it called the Acid-Test Ratio?

The term originates from the “acid test” used in metallurgy, symbolizing a stringent test for gold purity.

How is the Acid-Test Ratio different from the current ratio?is it called the Acid-Test Ratio?

While both measure liquidity, the Acid-Test Ratio is more conservative as it excludes inventory from the calculation.

What is considered a good Acid-Test Ratio?

Generally, a ratio above 1 is considered healthy, although this can vary by industry.

Who uses the Acid-Test Ratio?

It is widely used by investors, creditors, and financial analysts to assess a company’s short-term financial health.

Is the Acid-Test Ratio applicable to all companies?

It’s most relevant for companies where liquidity and quick asset conversion are crucial.