Acid Test Ratio


An acid test ratio is a tool that gives an understanding of a company's ability to pay off its current liabilities.

What Is the Acid Test Ratio?

The acid-test ratio (quick ratio test) compares a company’s short-term assets to its short-term liabilities to verify if a company has enough cash to pay its immediate liabilities. The test disregards current assets that are difficult to liquidate quickly, such as inventory, and is based on industry and the fundamentals of specific business models. Consequently, it makes it possible to determine if a company is well-financed and gives an overview of the liquidity of a company.

What Does It Do?

An acid-test ratio compares a company's quick assets (cash, accounts receivable, etc.) with its current liabilities (short-term debts, account receivables, etc.) to analyze a company’s ability to pay off its current liabilities without relying on the option of obtaining additional financing. It not only helps the current stakeholders (including suppliers and lenders) but also the prospective investors to understand the company’s financial standing. Inventory is deducted while calculating the ratio, as it is not ordinarily an asset that can be converted into cash with ease in the short term. The acid-test ratio is considered a conservative estimation of a company’s financial health.

How is the acid-test ratio calculated?

The formula for the acid-test ratio is:

Acid Test Ratio = (Total current assets - Inventory) / Total current liabilities

What Does It Reveal?

The figures from an acid test calculation reveal the health of a company and its ability to settle its current debts. The higher the ratio, the better the company’s liquidity and general financial health. A ratio of more than one implies that the company owns $2 of liquid assets to cover each $1 of current liabilities. But it’s important to communicate that a high ratio (for example, a ratio of 10) is not considered promising, as it indicates that cash is sitting idle, rather than being put to productive use.

On the other hand, a company with a ratio less than 1 would want to come up with more current assets. One way to do this is by offering discounts to boost sales, fulfilling its accounts receivables, or selling bonds to increase cash flow.

Ideally, a business should have a ratio of 1.