Business & ManagementIB

Liquidity ratios

Liquidity ratios...Liquidity ratios illustrate the solvency of a business. In order to determine whether or not it is in a position to repay its day-to-day debts, the short-term assets...
Liquidity ratios

Liquidity ratios illustrate the solvency of a business. In order to determine whether or not it is in a position to repay its day-to-day debts, the short-term assets and liabilities need to be focused on. The point of these ratios is to show whether the business always has enough current assets to cover any immediate bills that arise (current liabilities).

Current ratio

Currentratio =  Currentassets Currentliabilities

If the current ratio is equal to 1, it means that the business has the exact amount of current assets to cover the current liabilities. However, this is not a favourable state because if a sudden increase in current liabilities occurs, the business will not be able to afford it and might run into bankruptcy. Having too high of a ratio is also not good. For example, if the current ratio is 2, that means that the business has twice as many current assets to cover current liabilities, which means that the business is not using the resources efficiently. Managers should aim at a current ratio of 1.5.

Acid test ratio

This is a more severe test of liquidity as it excludes stock from current assets.

Acidtestratio =  Currentassets-stock Currentliabilities

If the ratio is less than 1, this means that the business’ current assets less stock cannot cover the current liabilities of the business. Checking this ratio is important because stock are not guaranteed to be sold and they may become obsolete or deteriorate, which means that business will no longer be able to rely on stocks to improve their working capital. Therefore, firms should aim to have an acid test ratio at around 1.

Improving Liquidity Ratios

  • Raising the value of current assets.
  • Reducing the value of current liabilities.
Liquidity Ratios: Ensuring Business Solvency

Liquidity Ratios: Ensuring Business Solvency

Liquidity ratios are essential financial metrics that illustrate a business's ability to settle its short-term debts using its current assets. These ratios are crucial for stakeholders to assess the solvency and financial health of a company.

Understanding Liquidity Ratios

Liquidity ratios focus on a company's current assets and liabilities to determine its capacity to meet immediate financial obligations. Two primary ratios are used to measure liquidity: the Current Ratio and the Acid Test Ratio.

Current Ratio

The Current Ratio is calculated by dividing a company's current assets by its current liabilities. It indicates whether the business has enough assets to cover its short-term liabilities. A ratio of 1 means the company has just enough assets to meet its liabilities, while a ratio of 1.5 is considered ideal.

Current Ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities

Acid Test Ratio

The Acid Test Ratio, or Quick Ratio, is a more stringent measure of liquidity as it excludes inventory from current assets. This ratio is significant because inventory may not be readily convertible to cash.

Acid Test Ratio = (Current Assets - Inventory) / Current Liabilities

Real-Life Examples

Let's explore some examples to understand how these ratios work in practice:

Example 1: Retail Company

A retail company has $500,000 in current assets and $300,000 in current liabilities. Its inventory is valued at $200,000.

Current Ratio: $500,000 / $300,000 = 1.67

Acid Test Ratio: ($500,000 - $200,000) / $300,000 = 1

Example 2: Manufacturing Firm

A manufacturing firm has $1,000,000 in current assets, $600,000 in current liabilities, and $400,000 in inventory.

Current Ratio: $1,000,000 / $600,000 = 1.67

Acid Test Ratio: ($1,000,000 - $400,000) / $600,000 = 1

Improving Liquidity Ratios

To improve liquidity ratios, a company can either increase its current assets or decrease its current liabilities. Effective strategies include better inventory management, faster collection of receivables, and careful management of payables.


Liquidity ratios provide valuable insights into a company's financial resilience. Understanding and applying these ratios is crucial for business management students preparing for the IB exams and for professionals assessing corporate solvency.


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