Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Quick Ratio
AAA
  1. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Introduction
  2. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Current Ratio
  3. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Quick Ratio
  4. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Cash Ratio
  5. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Cash Conversion Cycle

Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Quick Ratio

By Richard Loth (Contact | Biography)

The quick ratio - aka the quick assets ratio or the acid-test ratio - is a liquidity indicator that further refines the current ratio by measuring the amount of the most liquid current assets there are to cover current liabilities. The quick ratio is more conservative than the current ratio because it excludes inventory and other current assets, which are more difficult to turn into cash. Therefore, a higher ratio means a more liquid current position.

Formula:


Components:


As of December 31, 2005, with amounts expressed in millions, Zimmer Holdings' quick assets amounted to $756.40 (balance sheet); while current liabilities amounted to $606.90 (balance sheet). By dividing, the equation gives us a quick ratio of 1.3.



Variations:
Some presentations of the quick ratio calculate quick assets (the formula's numerator) by simply subtracting the inventory figure from the total current assets figure. The assumption is that by excluding relatively less-liquid (harder to turn into cash) inventory, the remaining current assets are all of the more-liquid variety. Generally, this is close to the truth, but not always.

Zimmer Holdings is a good example of what can happen if you take the aforementioned "inventory shortcut" to calculating the quick ratio:

Standard Approach: $233.2 plus $524.2 = $756 ÷ $606.9 =1.3

Shortcut Approach: $1,575.6 minus $583.7 = $991.9 ÷ $606.9 = 1.6

Restricted cash, prepaid expenses and deferred income taxes do not pass the test of truly liquid assets. Thus, using the shortcut approach artificially overstates Zimmer Holdings' more liquid assets and inflates its quick ratio.

Commentary:
As previously mentioned, the quick ratio is a more conservative measure of liquidity than the current ratio as it removes inventory from the current assets used in the ratio's formula. By excluding inventory, the quick ratio focuses on the more-liquid assets of a company.

The basics and use of this ratio are similar to the current ratio in that it gives users an idea of the ability of a company to meet its short-term liabilities with its short-term assets. Another beneficial use is to compare the quick ratio with the current ratio. If the current ratio is significantly higher, it is a clear indication that the company's current assets are dependent on inventory.

While considered more stringent than the current ratio, the quick ratio, because of its accounts receivable component, suffers from the same deficiencies as the current ratio - albeit somewhat less. To understand these "deficiencies", readers should refer to the commentary section of the Current Ratio chapter. In brief, both the quick and the current ratios assume a liquidation of accounts receivable and inventory as the basis for measuring liquidity.

While theoretically feasible, as a going concern a company must focus on the time it takes to convert its working capital assets to cash - that is the true measure of liquidity. Thus, if accounts receivable, as a component of the quick ratio, have, let's say, a conversion time of several months rather than several days, the "quickness" attribute of this ratio is questionable.

Investors need to be aware that the conventional wisdom regarding both the current and quick ratios as indicators of a company's liquidity can be misleading.

Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Cash Ratio

  1. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Introduction
  2. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Current Ratio
  3. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Quick Ratio
  4. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Cash Ratio
  5. Liquidity Measurement Ratios: Cash Conversion Cycle
RELATED TERMS
  1. Unaffiliated Investments

    Stocks, bonds, and other investment holdings in companies neither ...
  2. Overall Liquidity Ratio

    A measurement of a company’s capacity to pay for its liabilities ...
  3. Hard-To-Sell Asset

    An asset that is extremely difficult to dispose of either due ...
  4. Initial Targeted Cash Value

    The gross amount of collections expected to be obtained through ...
  5. Conditional Reserves

    Surplus reserves held by insurance companies that are treated ...
  6. Earnings Per Share - EPS

    The portion of a company's profit allocated to each outstanding ...
  1. What is a good interest coverage ratio?

    Learn the importance of the interest coverage ratio, one of the primary debt ratios analysts use to evaluate a company's ...
  2. What is a bad interest coverage ratio?

    Understand how interest coverage ratio is calculated and what it signifies, and learn what market analysts consider to be ...
  3. What is liquidity risk?

    Learn how to distinguish between the two broad types of financial liquidity risk: funding liquidity risk and market liquidity ...
  4. What is a good gearing ratio?

    Understand the meaning of the gearing ratio, how it is calculated, the definition of high and low gearing, and how they reflect ...

You May Also Like

Related Tutorials
  1. Investing Basics

    Industry Handbook

  2. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Investing For Safety and Income Tutorial

  3. Fundamental Analysis

    Discounted Cash Flow Analysis

  4. Economics

    American Depositary Receipt Basics

  5. Fundamental Analysis

    Ratio Analysis Tutorial

Trading Center