Quick Ratio

A conservative indicator of the short-term liquidity of a firm.

Author: Rohan Arora
Rohan Arora
Rohan Arora
Investment Banking | Private Equity

Mr. Arora is an experienced private equity investment professional, with experience working across multiple markets. Rohan has a focus in particular on consumer and business services transactions and operational growth. Rohan has also worked at Evercore, where he also spent time in private equity advisory.

Rohan holds a BA (Hons., Scholar) in Economics and Management from Oxford University.

Reviewed By: Himanshu Singh
Himanshu Singh
Himanshu Singh
Investment Banking | Private Equity

Prior to joining UBS as an Investment Banker, Himanshu worked as an Investment Associate for Exin Capital Partners Limited, participating in all aspects of the investment process, including identifying new investment opportunities, detailed due diligence, financial modeling & LBO valuation and presenting investment recommendations internally.

Himanshu holds an MBA in Finance from the Indian Institute of Management and a Bachelor of Engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology.

Last Updated:January 7, 2024

What Is The Quick Ratio?

Financial analysis enables us to apprehend how a business enterprise is doing properly. One crucial ratio used in monetary evaluation is called the quick ratio. It tells us if a business enterprise can pay its short-term debt without selling its stock.

It is likewise known as an acid ratio or liquid ratio. It helps us see if an enterprise has sufficient cash and cash equivalents to cover its instant payments. The formulation for it is as follows:

[Cash & Equivalents + Marketable Securities + Accounts Receivable] / Current Liabilities


[Current Assets – Inventory – Prepaid Expenses] / Current Liabilities

This article will explain the quick ratio, its components, and its significance in assessing a company's financial health

The ratio is a financial metric measuring an organization's potential to repay its current liabilities using its maximum liquid property. 

It tests whether or not an organization has enough quick-time period assets, excluding inventory, to pay its immediate obligations. It consists of cash, marketable securities, bills receivable, and many others.

It's important to look at the liquid ratio along with other financial stuff, especially when you're thinking about the rules in the industry and how the business is doing. The best liquid ratio numbers might differ depending on how the business works or how quickly they sell their stuff.

Key Takeaways

  • The quick ratio indicates how well a company pays its short-term money owed quickly. It's also called the acid ratio.
  • Quick ratio considers the maximum liquid belongings, like cash and a few securities, compared to debts.
  • A better liquid ratio indicates a better capability to cover the money owed.
  • A liquid ratio of one or more is normally considered ideal.
  • It's a helpful tool for traders and lenders to evaluate a corporation's financial health.
  • The quick ratio does not consist of inventory, which can be tough to turn into cash quickly.
  • Comparing quick ratios through the years helps see if an enterprise is enhancing its financial function.

Example of Quick Ratio

Let's consider an example to understand the quick ratio. Company ABC has the following financial information:

To compute the ratio, we should add up the assets (cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments, and accounts receivable except prepaid expenses and inventory) and then divide it by current liabilities.

Quick Assets = $50,000 + $20,000 + $30,000 + $30,000 = $130,000

Quick Ratio = Quick Assets / Current Liabilities

= $130,000 / $80,000 = 1.62

Company ABC has a liquid ratio of 1.62. This means the company has $1.62 of quick assets to cover each dollar of its current liabilities. 

Generally, an acid test ratio of 1 or higher is considered favorable, indicating that the company has enough liquid assets to meet its immediate obligations.


The acid test ideal ratio can vary depending on the industry and the company's unique circumstances.

Prepaid expenses are excluded because they cannot be used to pay off liabilities, while inventory is excluded because it takes time to convert into cash to cover immediate obligations.

This ratio is particularly useful for assessing companies where short-term liquidity is essential.

Components of Quick Ratio

It focuses on assessing a company's short-term liquidity. It considers all current assets except prepaid expenses and inventory. 

  • Prepaid expenses - They can't be used to pay off liabilities
  • Inventory - It takes time to convert into cash to cover immediate obligations 

This ratio is specifically designed to evaluate companies where short-term liquidity is crucial.

This ratio also analyzes different elements to evaluate a company's ability to meet its short-term financial obligations. Here are the key components:

  1. Cash: This refers to a company's physical money, including cash, bills, and the amount in its checking accounts.
  2. Cash Equivalents: These styles of investments can be converted into liquid within a short period, typically 3 months or much less. It comprises government bonds, money market finances, treasury bills, etc.
  3. Short-term Investments: These investments are the ones a company expects to convert into liquid within a year. They consist of a certificate of deposit, commercial paper, or bonds that mature in 3 to 12 weeks. These investments are easily handy and can be transformed into cash without delay.
  4. Accounts Receivable: It's an asset that the organization expects to gather and convert into money quickly.
  5. Current Liabilities: These are the obligations or debts that a company needs to settle within a year. It includes bills to be paid, short-term loans, accumulated costs, and other debts due in the short term.

Why is the Quick Ratio important?

This ratio holds considerable importance for traders, lenders, and analysts because it quickly offers insights into a company's economic power. Understanding its significance is critical, and here's why:

  1. Checking Short-term Money: This ratio meticulously examines a company's capability to fulfill its short-term duties. Focusing on assets that can be quickly converted into cash, except stock, provides a clearer picture of liquidity.
  2. Assessing Financial Health: Ideally, a ratio of 1:1 or greater is considered desirable. Such a ratio shows the enterprise possesses enough quick assets to cover short-term debt without considering inventory. However, a ratio below 1 shows liquidity issues, which can increase worries.
  3. Comparing Companies: The Quick Ratio enables evaluation of how different organizations in the same industry manage short-term financial challenges. It enables you to pick out businesses with strong monetary fitness and those with high liquidity, assisting in informed choice-making.
  4. Smart Decision-making: Investors and creditors make use of this ratio to evaluate the hazards associated with an organization's ability to repay its debts. A low ratio raises concerns about the potential for default, while a high ratio suggests stability and the ability to meet obligations efficiently.
  5. Tracking Trends: Monitoring changes in the Acid Ratio over time assists in spotting trends in a company's liquidity. Consistently low ratios may indicate worsening economic health, while a high ratio reveals effective liquidity control, instilling stakeholder self-belief.


By informing the importance of the liquidity ratio, buyers, creditors, and analysts can make informed decisions and gain insights into a corporation's monetary status in the short term.

Quick Ratio vs. Current Ratio

The quick and current ratios are both financial metrics used to assess a company's short-term liquidity and ability to meet its immediate obligations. However, they consider slightly different elements when evaluating the company's financial health.

Let us understand this by looking at the table below:

Differences Quick Ratio And Current Ratio
Quick Ratio Current Ratio
Quick ratio is defined as the ratio that calculates the proportion of most liquid current assets and current liabilities The current ratio is defined as the ratio that calculates the proportion between the current assets and current liabilities
Calculated by subtracting inventory from current assets, then dividing by current liabilities. Calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities.
Reflects the immediate liquidity and ability to meet short-term obligations without relying on inventory. Reflects the overall liquidity and working capital of a company.
Not impacted by the composition or quality of inventory. It can be influenced by the composition and quality of inventory.
May be more volatile and sensitive to changes in the composition of current assets. May provide a more stable measure of liquidity compared to the quick ratio.
The quick ratio is a more focused measure of immediate liquidity and the ability to meet short-term obligations. The current ratio is a more comprehensive measure of overall liquidity and working capital position.

How to Interpret Ideal Ratio

The ideal ratio can vary depending on different factors. Here's how we can understand a company's liquid ratio: 

  1. Risk: Companies comfortable with taking risks are fine with a lower ratio. While those who are more cautious may prefer a higher ratio for added safety.
  2. Industry-specific ratio: The average quick ratios can fluctuate throughout industries. In industries with solid and predictable cash flows, like retail, a lower ratio is suitable because anticipated revenues can be relied upon for cash desires. 
  3. Growth: A rapidly growing company may prefer a higher liquid ratio to support investments and expansion. A stable business with established relationships with suppliers and lenders may settle for a lower ratio.
  4. Economic conditions: Improving the acid test ratio is critical during economic turmoil to ensure the business enterprise can manage surprising shocks.
  5. Inventories: If a company has easily sellable inventory without significant discounts, the current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities) may be a better liquidity indicator since it includes inventory. The liquid ratio excludes inventory.
  6. Accounts receivable: If a company struggles to collect accounts receivable, increasing the quick ratio is better by setting aside additional cash. Companies with a short and predictable accounts receivable cycle can manage with a lower ratio.
  7. A high ratio: A very high quick ratio may indicate inefficiency and idle cash. If there is no specific need for a high ratio, it's better to bring it down to an industry average to optimize profits.

Disadvantages of Quick Ratio

To recognize a firm's economic well-being comprehensively, it's crucial not to forget those obstacles and make use of the Quick Ratio with different financial metrics and factors. 

Here are a few limitations of the Quick Ratio:

1. Excludes Inventory

The Acid Ratio fails to account for the price of a stock, which may be a full-size asset for certain corporations. This exclusion can bring about an incomplete photo of liquidity and typical monetary fitness.

2. Ignores the Timing of Receivables

The ratio treats all money owed receivable as similarly liquid, disregarding that a few receivables might also take longer to transform into cash. It overlooks the timing of accumulating purchaser bills, which can affect liquidity.

3. Limited to Short-term Analysis

The Ratio completely focuses on quick-time period liquidity. It may not provide comprehensive know-how of an employer's average economic position or long-term sustainability. It offers confined insights into an employer's broader economic dynamics.

4. Industry Variations

The ideal ratio varies across industries, and a single ratio might not apply to all businesses. Comparing Quick Ratios among industries can also cause misguided liquidity checks, as special sectors have wonderful running fashions and liquidity necessities.

5. Reliance on Financial Data

The Quick Ratio relies closely on correct and up-to-date monetary data, which won't constantly be easy or dependable for smaller or privately held companies. Incomplete or old financial information can affect the accuracy of the ratio.

6. Lack of Context

This Ratio does not consider outdoor variables like market conditions, economic swings, or precise enterprise situations that might greatly impact a business enterprise's liquidity and capacity to pay money owed.

A more complete and correct assessment of a business enterprise's financial health can be obtained by acknowledging these negative aspects and supplementing the Acid Ratio with extra financial evaluation and contextual elements.


A quick ratio is a treasured tool for assessing a company's quick-time period liquidity and potential to meet instantaneous economic duties. Focusing on the maximum liquid belongings, except stock, gives insights into a company's capability to repay money owed without counting on stock profits. 

A ratio of 1 or higher is typically considered favorable, indicating a stronger economic role in handling short-term liabilities. However, it is crucial to know about the ratio's drawbacks.

Don’t forget the value and timing of stocks or the specific instances of diverse industries. Additionally, relying totally on the acid test ratio may not provide complete know-how of a firm's normal monetary fitness or long-term sustainability. 

Investigating the ratio along with unique monetary metrics, company benchmarks, and out-of-door factors is essential to gain an overall picture. 

Simply put, the ratio is important for people who want to understand how easily a company can pay its bills. These people could be customers, lenders, or experts who study the company's financial health.

It permits making informed picks, displaying traits, and evaluating the enterprise's potential to satisfy short-term financial duties. Understanding and using its boundaries in context should make the ratio valuable for economic analysis and choice-making techniques.

Researched and authored by Khushboo Gupta | LinkedIn

Reviewed and edited by Mohammad Sharjeel Khan | LinkedIn

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