The financial job of a company is to earn a profit, which is different than earning revenue. If a company doesn’t earn a profit, their revenues aren’t helping the company grow. It is not only important to see how much a company has sold, it is important to see how much a company is making.
The operating margin ratio (also called the operating profit margin or return on sales) is a ratio that shines a light on how much money a company is actually making in profit. It is found by dividing operating income by revenue, where operating income is revenue minus operating expenses.
EXAMPLEAn operating margin of 0.5 means that for every dollar the company takes in revenue, it earns $0.50 in profit. A company that is not making any money will have an operating margin of 0; it is selling its products or services but isn’t earning any profit from those sales.
However, the operating margin is not a perfect measurement. It does not include things like capital investment, which is necessary for the future profitability of the company. Furthermore, the operating margin is simply revenue. That means that it does not include things like interest and income tax expenses. Since non-operating incomes and expenses can significantly affect the financial well-being of a company, the operating margin is not the only measurement that investors scrutinize. The operating margin is a useful tool for determining how profitable the operations of a company are, but not necessarily how profitable the company is as a whole.
Profit margin ratio is one of the most used profitability ratios. Profit margin refers to the amount of profit that a company earns through sales. The profit margin ratio is broadly the ratio of profit to total sales times 100%. The higher the profit margin, the more profit a company earns on each sale.
Since there are two types of profit (gross and net), there are two types of profit margin calculations.
Companies need to have a positive profit margin in order to earn income, although having a negative profit margin may be advantageous in some instances (e.g., intentionally selling a new product below cost in order to gain market share).
This type of evaluation is typically used for internal evaluation. This is due to the difficulty that arises when trying to use this metric across multiple organizations. There is so much variation among businesses that it renders this metric less effective for external use. This ratio is helpful for evaluating the level of risk that exists in a sudden decline in sales. A lower profit margin indicates a higher susceptibility of danger in the event that sales decline rapidly.
The return on assets (ROA) ratio was developed by DuPont to show how effectively assets are being used. It is also a measure of how much the company relies on assets to generate profit. The higher the ratio, the better the company is at using its assets to generate income.
ROA can be broken down into multiple parts. The ROA is the product of two other common ratios – profit margin and asset turnover. When profit margin and asset turnover are multiplied together, the denominator of profit margin and the numerator of asset turnover cancel each other out, returning us to a ratio of net income to total assets.
ROA does have some drawbacks.
Another profitability ratio is the basic earning power (BEP) ratio. The purpose of BEP is to determine how effectively a firm uses its assets to generate income. The higher the BEP ratio, the more effective a company is at generating income from its assets.
The BEP ratio is simply the earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) divided by total assets.
The distinction between EBIT and Operating Income is non-operating income. Since EBIT includes non-operating income (such as dividends paid on the stock a company holds of another), it is a more inclusive way to measure the actual income of a company. However, in most cases, EBIT is relatively close to Operating Income.
The advantage of using EBIT, and thus BEP, is that it allows for more accurate comparisons of companies. BEP disregards different tax situations and degrees of financial leverage while still providing an idea of how good a company is at using its assets to generate income.
BEP, like all profitability ratios, does not provide a complete picture of which company is better or more attractive to investors. Investors should favor a company with a higher BEP over a company with a lower BEP because that means it extracts more value from its assets, but they still need to consider how things like leverage and tax rates affect the company.
Return on equity (ROE) ratio is a financial ratio that measures how good a company is at generating profit. ROE is the ratio of net income to equity. From the fundamental equation of accounting, we know that equity equals net assets minus net liabilities. Equity is the amount of ownership interest in the company and is commonly referred to as shareholders’ equity, shareholders’ funds, or shareholders’ capital.
In essence, ROE measures how efficient the company is at generating profits from the funds invested in it. A company with a high ROE does a good job of turning the capital invested in it into profit, and a company with a low ROE does a bad job. However, like many of the other ratios, there is no standard way to define a good ROE or a bad ROE. Higher ratios are better, but what counts as “good” varies by company, industry, and economic environment.
ROE can also be broken down into other components for easier use. ROE is the product of the net margin (profit margin), asset turnover, and financial leverage. Also note that the product of net margin and asset turnover is return on assets, so ROE is ROA times financial leverage.
Source: THIS CONTENT HAS BEEN ADAPTED FROM LUMEN LEARNING'S “PROFITABILITY RATIOS” TUTORIAL.