Debt to Asset Ratio: Definition & Formula

debt to asset ratio

Newer and growing companies often use debt to fuel growth, for instance. D/E ratios should always be considered on a relative basis compared to industry peers or to the same company at different points in time. If a company has a D/E ratio of 5, but the industry average is 7, this may not be an indicator of poor corporate management or economic risk. There also are many other metrics used in corporate accounting and financial analysis used as indicators of financial health that should be studied alongside the D/E ratio. The payout ratio, which represents the proportion of earnings paid out as dividends, is a critical metric to monitor.

Examples of the Debt Ratio

Many investors look for a company to have a debt ratio between 0.3 and 0.6. For example, the debt ratio of a utility company is in all likelihood going to be higher than a software company – but that does not mean that the software company is less risky. Of course, debt to asset ratio is not the only indicator of a company’s debt management situation. To get a full picture for company B, you should also take a look at other metrics, such as their debt service coverage ratio explained in our debt service coverage ratio calculator.

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debt to asset ratio

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. Some sources consider the debt ratio to be total liabilities divided Navigating Financial Growth: Leveraging Bookkeeping and Accounting Services for Startups by total assets. This reflects a certain ambiguity between the terms debt and liabilities that depends on the circumstance. The debt-to-equity ratio, for example, is closely related to and more common than the debt ratio, instead, using total liabilities as the numerator.

Consider Debt-to-Equity Ratios

debt to asset ratio

“Some companies, like manufacturers, need a lot of equipment to operate, which requires more financing,” explains Bessette. Using this ratio with a combination of other ratios may help increase investors‘ predictability. As discussed previously in the article, an organization with a ratio exceeding 0.5 is deemed unsuitable for investment due to its lack of safety for investors. Shaun Conrad is a Certified Public Accountant and CPA exam expert with a passion for teaching.

What is your risk tolerance?

  • It gives a fast overview of how much debt a firm has in comparison to all of its assets.
  • The ratio is used to determine to what degree a company relies on debt to finance its operations and is an indication of a company’s financial stability.
  • In most cases, this is considered a very risky sign, indicating that the company may be at risk of bankruptcy.
  • A debt ratio higher than 1 shows that a huge amount of debt funds the financials of the company.
  • A higher debt-to-total-assets ratio indicates that there are higher risks involved because the company will have difficulty repaying creditors.

Common debt ratios include debt-to-equity, debt-to-assets, long-term debt-to-assets, and leverage and gearing ratios. The higher the debt ratio, the more leveraged a company is, implying greater financial risk. At the same time, leverage is an important tool that companies use to grow, and many businesses find sustainable uses for debt. A debt ratio of 30% may be too high for an industry with volatile cash flows, in which most businesses take on little debt. A company with a high debt ratio relative to its peers would probably find it expensive to borrow and could find itself in a crunch if circumstances change. Conversely, a debt level of 40% may be easily manageable for a company in a sector such as utilities, where cash flows are stable and higher debt ratios are the norm.

Can a Debt Ratio Be Negative?

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