Definition of 'Current Ratio'
A liquidity ratio that measures a company's ability to pay short-term obligations.
The Current Ratio formula is:
Investopedia explains 'Current Ratio'
The ratio is mainly used to give an idea of the company's ability to pay back its short-term liabilities (debt and payables) with its short-term assets (cash, inventory, receivables). The higher the current ratio, the more capable the company is of paying its obligations. A ratio under 1 suggests that the company would be unable to pay off its obligations if they came due at that point. While this shows the company is not in good financial health, it does not necessarily mean that it will go bankrupt - as there are many ways to access financing - but it is definitely not a good sign.
The current ratio can give a sense of the efficiency of a company's operating cycle or its ability to turn its product into cash. Companies that have trouble getting paid on their receivables or have long inventory turnover can run into liquidity problems because they are unable to alleviate their obligations. Because business operations differ in each industry, it is always more useful to compare companies within the same industry.
This ratio is similar to the acid-test ratio except that the acid-test ratio does not include inventory and prepaids as assets that can be liquidated. The components of current ratio (current assets and current liabilities) can be used to derive working capital (difference between current assets and current liabilities). Working capital is frequently used to derive the working capital ratio, which is working capital as a ratio of sales.
Want to learn more about how to use Current Ratio? Take a look at -- Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Current Ratio and How To Analyze A Company's Financial Position.