Know the Types of Profitability Ratios and How They Are Important 

Know the Types of Profitability Ratios and How They Are Important 

There are various financial metrics you can use to track a company's growth. If you aren't already monitoring the company's profitability rates, you can start there.

Continue reading to learn what profitability ratios are, types of profitability ratios and how to measure them. You'll also know why this knowledge is essential for your company in the first place.

What Exactly Are Profitability Ratios?

Profitability ratios are a type of financial statistic that assesses a company's ability to produce profits compared to its sales, operational expenses, balance sheet resources, or equity of the shareholders across time, using information from a particular point.

We can compare profitability ratios to productivity ratios, which consider how effectively a business manages its resources internally to produce revenue (in contrast to after-cost gains).

A profitability ratio is a financial ratio that creditors use, as well as customers, financial institutions, bankers, and other stakeholders, to evaluate a company's financial success in yearly profitability.

These ratios assist them in determining how profitably a company is earning from the use or management of its existing capital in order to produce earnings and contribute value to its owners or shareholders.

The gross profit margin, for example, is a ratio used to determine how well a business is handling its expenses in comparison to rivals or market averages.

When the gross profit margin is higher than rivals or market averages, that indicates that the business will make a high profit from any dollar spent.

Even though these ratios are essential to the majority of core stakeholders, they are not without their limitations.

This post will address the significant relevance, limitations, and types of profitability ratios, which can aid analysts and consumers in their analysis and use.

First, before we get to the main point and limitations, let's look at the types of profitability ratios.

Types of Profitability Ratios

There are two types of profitability ratios: return ratios and margin ratios. Calculations of different kinds can help you calculate the company's financial success in a variety of ways.

Margin Ratios 

Margin ratios look at how much a business converts its gross earnings into gains. Here's a brief overview of the three most famous margin ratios: operating profit margin, net profit margin, and gross profit margin.

Gross Profit Margin

Businesses usually measure gross profit margin as the initial profitability ratio. Therefore, it calculates how much sales revenue a business has left over after deducting the products sold (COGS). Thus, it is known as the gross profit margin of a company.

Using the formula provided, you can measure a company's gross profit margin. The initial figures used in the calculation should be available on the company's income statement.

Gross profit/revenue (also known as net sales) = Gross profit margin percentage

A larger gross profit margin means you have enough funds to pay payroll expenses, depreciation, taxation, and other company expenses. It could also lead to higher overall earnings for shareholders and owners. 

Know the Types of Profitability Ratios and How They Are Important 

Operating Profit Margin

If you've calculated your gross profit percentage, you can use it to help you work out your operating income. Operating profit, also known as earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), is calculated by deducting operating costs from gross profit. These costs can include fees, payroll costs, as well as other ordinary expenses.

The net margin shows how much money is left over by covering all operating costs and COGS. The operating profit margin is the amount of income that exists after deducting these expenses from your net profits.

By using the method provided, you can measure the operating profit margin of a company. Again, it can include all of the original figures used for the projections in the company's income statement.

Operating profit/revenue (also known as net sales) = Operating profit margin percentage

If your business has an inadequate operating profit margin (especially if the gross profit margin is good), this could indicate that you are overspending on operating expenses.

Net Profit Margin

Your company's net profit margin ratio could be the most crucial profitability metric for you as a small business holder. It shows how much of the company's revenue eventually becomes profit.

Net profit margin, in particular, represents the amount of profit your business retains from sales income after deducting all expenses (non-operating and operating).

Here is a method for calculating the company's net profit margin. First, verify the income statement with the original numbers to enter into the calculation.

Net income/revenue (also known as net sales) = Net profit margin percentage.

A sizable net profit margin usually means that a corporation is doing well. For example, the company is doing a decent job in cost management and selling its services or products.


EBITDA stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It reflects a company's income before non-operating items such as debt and royalties and non-cash items such as amortization and depreciation. 

The advantage of analyzing a company's EBITDA margin is its easier comparison to other companies because it excludes costs that might be unpredictable or more discretionary. The limitation of the EBTIDA margin is that it might vary significantly from net income and actual cash flow output, which are better measures of a company's success. Many accounting approaches make extensive use of EBITDA.

Cash Flow Margin 

The cash flow margin represents the relationship between the cash flow produced by the company and the sales made by the company. It assesses a company's ability to turn revenue into currency. The larger the cash flow, the more and more cash is accessible from income to pay suppliers, utilities, dividends, loan debts, and capital investments. 

On the other hand, a negative cash flow indicates that even though the company generates revenue or earnings, it could ultimately be losing money. In a company with insufficient cash flow, the business can choose to collect funds or borrow funds from investors to maintain operations.

Managing a company's financial balance is critical to its sustainability, and having enough cash flow also reduces costs (e.g., reducing late payment fines and excess interest costs). And it allows a company to capitalize on any additional profit or development potential that could occur.

Return Ratios

Return ratios indicate whether a company makes a return for its shareholders or investors. Return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) are two of the essential return factors calculated by companies (ROE).

Return on Assets

The return on assets, also known as return on investment, is all about quality. It reflects the company's ability to generate a profit from its assets. In other words, ROA assesses how well the industry uses the tools at its disposal to boost the results.

ROA can be calculated in a variety of ways by financial managers. However, a basic formula for calculating the return of a company's investment is given below.

Net income / total assets = Return on assets percentage

A higher ROA can mean that your business can generate profits by using its accessible assets efficiently.

Return on Equity

Return on equity estimates can be more critical to a company's investors than some other financial factors. This is because ROE measures a company's ability to earn gains from shareholder contributions. Thus, it is an indicator of a shareholder's return on investment.

The calculation below allows you to measure a return on equity. It can show the formula for net interest on your income return. Your company's balance sheet can include shareholder equity.

Net income / average shareholder equity = Return on equity percentage

ROE is also used to assess an organization's senior management. For example, a lower ROE may mean that the organization is doing a lousy job of generating a return on its investors' funds.

Why Profitability Ratios Are Essential

Profitability is synonymous with any business. Therefore, a creditor or investor can decide whether a company does have a stable result by reviewing its success ratings.

Why Are Profitability Ratios Important?

Profitability rates have the potential to attract new buyers. However, before investing money in a venture, investors need to know that it has the potential to make a good return. Examining the company's profitability ratios is an easy way to determine whether or not it is doing well in that field.

You may compare your company's success with that of rivals. However, as a startup or small enterprise, you cannot benefit from a more developed company in your market. Therefore, your company's profits may not even be comparable. That said, when evaluating profitability ratios (also known as percentages), you might see how one company compares to another – one business earning less than another does not simply mean that the first company is less profitable.

Financial ratios will assist you in identifying areas of your market that need improvement. However, although it is critical to monitor these simple financial statements, the figures alone cannot tell you the entire story. For example, when you combine profitability rates, you can determine how the company operates efficiently in particular fields. For example, if you see that the gross profit margin is shrinking with time, this could mean that they need to reduce the cost of products sold.

How to Increase Profitability Ratios

Profitability ratios will assist you in determining the financial health of your company. However, if you do not want to see specific negative financial results shown in your ratios, here are five strategies you can try to improve the company's results.

  1. Exclude unprofitable goods and services from your offering. In general, it is best to concentrate on the goods and services that produce the highest income for your company.
  2. Reduced inventory. If you cut way back on slow-moving items, you will be able to reduce the inventory. In addition, less money invested in older inventory could free up funds for other aspects of your business.
  3. Raise the costs. Raising rates has the potential to increase earnings, but the mechanism is complicated. Think of starting with a trial on a few services or goods before submitting cost assessments to the board.
  4. Reduced expenses. Your company will produce a lot of revenue, but your profit margins will suffer if your expenditures are significant. There are several ways to save money. You can bargain with suppliers for lower rates or purchase supplies somewhere. Try relocating the offices or renting out vacant space to somebody else. The options are almost limitless.
  5. Bring in, new clients. In general, it is simpler (and less expensive) to retain your current clients. However, if you handle the process closely, growing your business can give your organization a sales boost. Furthermore, if you've just raised the rates, it will be easier to convince potential buyers to pay the increased prices.

Profitability Ratios Have the Following Limitations

  • Profitability ratios such as net profit margin are not “evergreen” ratios that can be used to evaluate profitability across sectors. A tech-savvy business, for example, will have a better net profit margin than a bakery.
  • The valuation of profit and investment can be quickly exploited to decrease or increase profitability ratios as required, which is confusing to shareholders and investors.
  • The ratios are based on several estimates which come from each valuation recorded upon on the income statement. Therefore, a manufacturing mistake or theft in a line item can result in a misjudged ratio, which will be risky for consumers and businesses in the future.
  • Ratios can be low or high due to many market fluctuations and hence cannot be predicted perfectly. However, you should constantly review your figures to ensure that your measurements are correct.

Final Thoughts on Profitability Ratios

Even if you are not searching for investors at this point in your business situation, monitoring financial ratios may be beneficial. However, if you do not run these equations regularly, the ratios will confuse you.

Consider a swimming pool business. If this business ran its profitability ratio equations pre and post the summer period, the outcomes would most likely be somewhat different.

Tracking profitability across time is your best chance. It's good, to begin with, to have a limited number of reports, but make sure to run them on even a regular basis (e.g., quarterly, monthly, etc.). 

Then, as your company expands, you can add further reports, potentially learning more information to help your company thrive in the future. You may also employ an expert to do these measurements for you and assist you in determining the right way to respond to the findings.

Thank you for reading!

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