Return on Assets – ROA Definition, Formula and Calculation


Return on Assets: As the name suggests, the actual measurement is all about the return the company got over its assets. This is mainly for measuring how good a company does with the assets it has got. It can be simply interpreted as how many dollars of earning a company derives from the money of assets the company possess. The measurement actually comes in handy while comparing business companies in this same industry.

Utilizing the ratio simply varies across each and every industry as they have the own limitations. The business comes with low margins like consumer products will carry the lower ratio while the business lie software will simply have the higher ratio. The businesses, which require the high capital investment also, will have a lower ROA ratio. This ratio is calculated as below:

ROA = Net Income / Total Assets

If you are the investor, ROA offers you the idea of how profitable the company is mainly compared along with the companies of the same industry. While calculating the value of total assets, the valuation is done utilizing the carrying value of assets. Sometimes, the carrying value of assets does not tally along with the market value and might produce the defective return on asset ratio. Each and every investor requires being careful in the situation like this. Return on the assets is commonly used for comparing the performance of the financial institutions because majority of their assets will have carrying value close to the market value.


Formula and Examples:

The return on assets ratio frequently called the return on total assets is the profitability ratio that measures the net income produced by total assets during the period by comparing net income to the average total assets. In some other words, ROA (return on assets) measures how efficiently a company can manage its assets producing profits during the period.


Since the company assets’ sole purpose is to make revenues and generate the profits, the ratio assists both investors and managements see how good a company can convert the investments in assets into profits. You will be able to look at ROA as the return on investment for the company since capital assets are frequently the main investment for most companies. In this case, the company invests money into capital assets as well as the return is measured in profits.

Formula to Explain:

The ROA (return on assets) formula is calculated by dividing net income by the average total assets. The ratio is also represented as the product of a profit margin as well as the total asset turnover.

Either formula can be utilized calculating the return on the total assets. While utilizing the first formula, the average total assets are typically used because asset totals can differ throughout the year. You will have to add the beginning as well as ending assets together on the balance sheet and then divide by two calculates the average assets for a specific year. This might be quite obvious but this is significant to mention that average total assets are historical budget of the assets on the balance sheet without taking into consideration the accumulated depreciation.


Return on assets ration simple measures how a company can earn the return effectively on its investment in the assets. In few other words, ROA actually shows how effectively a company can convert the budget used to buy the assets into net income or profits. Since all the assets are funded by the debt or equity, some investors try to disrespect the charges of acquiring the assets in the return calculation by adding back interest expense in the formula.

This just makes sense that any kind of higher ration is extremely favorable to each and every investor because this shows that the company is more effectively managing its assets to create greater amounts of net income. The positive ROA ratio generally indicates the upward profit trend. ROA is the most beneficial for comparing companies in same industry as different industries use assets differently. For example, construction companies use the large, expensive equipment while all the software companies use computers and servers.


If say, there is a company called Charlie’s Construction Company, which is an enhancing construction business, which has a few contracts to build the storefronts in downtown Chicago. Balance sheet of the company shows beginning assets of $1,000,000 and the ending balance of $2,000,000 of assets. During the current year, Charlie’s company also had net income of $20,000,000. Charlie’s return on assets ratio looks like this.

ROA Ratio Formula:

As you can see, Charlie’s Construction Company ratio is 1,333.3 percent. In few other words, each and every dollar that Charlie invested in assets during the year produced $13.3 of net income. Depending on an economy, it can be the healthy return rate no matter what the investment is. Each and every investor would simply have to compare Charlie’s return along with other construction companies in his industry to get the true understanding of how well Charlie is managing his assets.


The Difference Between ROA and Return on Equity:

Both ROA or return on assets and return on equity (ROE) are measures of how the company uses the resources on its own. Essentially, ROE only measures the actual return on the equity of a company, leaving out the liabilities. As a result, ROA accounts for the company’s debt and ROE does not. The more leverage as well as debt a company takes on, the higher ROE will be relative to ROA.

Limitations of Using Return on Assets – ROA:

The major issue along with ROA or return on assets is that this cannot be utilized across the industries. That is because companies in one industry such as the technology industry as well as another industry like oil drillers will have different asset bases. If you do not have much idea, you can easily consult with the expert as well. They will be able to help you with the proper difference between ROA and ROE.

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