Debt-to-Asset Ratio: Calculation and Explanation

Debt-to-assets ratios can be used to compare these different sets of financial indicators. From a pure risk perspective, lower ratios (0.4 or lower) are considered better debt ratios. Since the interest on a debt must be paid regardless of business profitability, too much debt may compromise the entire operation if cash flow dries up.

• On the other hand, investors use the debt to asset ratio to ensure that a company is solvent and able to generate a return on investments.
• The result is that Starbucks has an easy time borrowing money—creditors trust that it is in a solid financial position and can be expected to pay them back in full.
• On the other hand, a lower debt to asset ratio indicates that a company owns more of its holdings outright.
• Creditors, on the other hand, want to see how much debt the company already has because they are concerned with collateral and the ability to be repaid.
• Companies unable to service their own debt may be forced to sell off assets or declare bankruptcy.

Tune in for the next section where we discuss the risks and benefits of varying debt ratios. There is a sense that all debt ratio analysis must be done on a company-by-company basis. Balancing the dual risks of debt—credit risk and opportunity cost—is something that all companies must do.

This suggests higher financial leverage, which can lead to increased risk for both investors and creditors. The total-debt-to-total-assets ratio analyzes a company’s balance sheet. The calculation includes long-term and short-term debt (borrowings maturing within one year) of the company. It indicates how much debt is used to carry a firm’s assets, and how those assets might be used to service debt.

The ideal ratio range

Thus, creditors and investors alike utilize this figure in order to make significant financial decisions. On the other hand, lenders and debt-holders are entitled to a set of payments and they expect to receive them as promised. The examples above illustrate that the debt ratio must be put into the context of a company’s end markets and strategic positioning. For example, a conservatively run company with the potential to generate a good return on investment (via internal investment or external acquisitions) could have a relatively low debt ratio. In this case, the value creation opportunity lies in management taking on debt to fuel growth. In addition, investors need to consider where the company is in its growth cycle.

It gives a fast overview of how much debt a firm has in comparison to all of its assets. Because public companies must report these figures as part of their periodic external reporting, the information is often readily available. Business managers and financial managers have to use good judgment and look beyond the numbers in order to get an accurate debt-to-asset ratio analysis. Ted’s .5 DTA is helpful to see how leveraged he is, but it is somewhat worthless without something to compare it to. For instance, if his industry had an average DTA of 1.25, you would think Ted is doing a great job. It’s always important to compare a calculation like this to other companies in the industry.

If a company has a negative debt ratio, this would mean that the company has negative shareholder equity. In most cases, this is considered a very risky sign, indicating that the company may be at risk of bankruptcy. Last, the debt ratio is a constant indicator of a company’s financial standing at a certain moment in time.

• For example, tech giants like Google may showcase a low ratio, signaling ample assets and minimal debt, hence suggesting a strong ability to attract and reward investors.
• This is because higher debt to asset ratios are standard in some industries, such as real estate.
• So, you can use this ratio to understand how much risk your business is taking on.
• Used in conjunction with other measures of financial health, the debt ratio can help investors determine a company’s risk level.

For example, tech giants like Google may showcase a low ratio, signaling ample assets and minimal debt, hence suggesting a strong ability to attract and reward investors. In contrast, companies like Hertz with a high ratio might be laden with substantial debt obligations, making them riskier ventures for potential investors. One shortcoming of the total-debt-to-total-assets ratio is that it does not provide any indication of asset quality since it lumps all tangible and intangible assets together. The debt ratio doesn’t reveal the type of debt or how much it will cost. The periods and interest rates of various debts may differ, which can have a substantial effect on a company’s financial stability.

Debt dynamics and leverage

The debt to asset ratio tells us the percentage of a company’s holdings that are leveraged. We’re now able to understand the balance between holdings financed by borrowed funds versus those financed by the company’s own capital. The term ‘debt ratio’ is a shorter name for total-debt-to-total-assets ratio. Experts measure the long-term debt to asset ratio a little differently. Instead, they only total any long-term liabilities that are due more than one year out. To find relevant meaning in the ratio result, compare it with other years of ratio data for your firm using trend analysis or time-series analysis.

Debt Ratio Formula and Calculation

The debt-to-asset ratio is considered a leverage ratio, measuring the overall debt of a business, and then comparing that debt with the assets or equity of the company. A variation on the formula is to subtract intangible assets (such as goodwill) from the denominator, to focus on the services tangible assets that were more likely acquired with debt. This approach works well when a business has engaged in a large number of acquisitions, and so has a substantial amount of goodwill on its balance sheet. A low total-debt-to-total-asset ratio isn’t necessarily good or bad.

What is the Debt to Assets Ratio?

You will need to run a balance sheet in your accounting software application in order to obtain your total assets and total liabilities. The balance sheet is the only report necessary to calculate your ratio. If the majority of your assets have been funded by creditors in the form of loans, the company is considered highly leveraged. In turn, if the majority of assets are owned by shareholders, the company is considered less leveraged and more financially stable. A ratio greater than 1 shows that a considerable portion of the assets is funded by debt. A high ratio also indicates that a company may be putting itself at risk of defaulting on its loans if interest rates were to rise suddenly.

As with all other ratios, the trend of the total-debt-to-total-assets ratio should be evaluated over time. This will help assess whether the company’s financial risk profile is improving or deteriorating. For example, an increasing trend indicates that a business is unwilling or unable to pay down its debt, which could indicate a default in the future.

This formula shows you the proportion of a company’s assets that are financed by debt. On the other hand, a low debt ratio can suggest financial stability. However, that’s not always a certainty—it’s a balance game, as we’ll explore next in the factors influencing an optimal debt ratio. A ratio of less than one means that a company has more current assets than current liabilities. A ratio of one means that a company has equivalent debts and assets. A ratio of greater than one means that a company owes more in debt than they possess in assets.

Calculating the ratio

The ratio is calculated by dividing a company’s total debt by its total assets. This calculation considers all types of debt and all categories of assets, providing a comprehensive view of a company’s leverage. The total-debt-to-total-assets ratio compares the total amount of liabilities of a company to all of its assets. The ratio is used to measure how leveraged the company is, as higher ratios indicate more debt is used as opposed to equity capital.