how to calculate return on assets

How to Calculate Return on Assets – Expert Guide

From 1984 to 2020, U.S. banks had an average Return on Assets (ROA) of below 1.4%. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis data shows how important it is to know about ROA and what suits different businesses. In this guide, we’ll show you how to figure out a company’s profitability and how well it uses its assets.

In this guide, we’ll explain the parts of the ROA formula and how to calculate it. We’ll also cover how to read and understand what the number means. Learning to work with ROA helps you better understand a company’s financial situation, which can guide your decisions when considering investing.

Understanding Return on Assets (ROA)

Return on assets (ROA) is critical in financial analysis. It shows how well a company turns assets into profit. By looking at ROA, we see how good a company is at making money with what it has. It’s shown as a percentage and calculated by dividing net income by average assets.

Definition of Return on Assets

return on assets definition

Return on assets (ROA) is a financial ratio that tells us how much profit a company makes from its assets. It looks at everything a company owns or controls that helps make money. A high ROA means the company is good at using its assets to make more profit. A low ROA means there’s room to do better.

The average ROA changes based on company size and the business it’s in. A business like manufacturing might have an ROA of 6%, but a digital service, like a dating app, might reach 15%. An ROA of 5% or higher is considered good, and 20% or more is considered significant.

Importance of ROA in Financial Analysis

ROA is crucial for anyone examining a company’s financial health. It shows whether the business is using its assets well. A high ROA usually means a company is doing better than others.

When checking a company’s ROA, it’s essential to compare it to others in the same field. This helps them understand how they perform against their competition. How a company’s ROA changes over time also helps spot trends. A rising ROA shows that it’s making more profit from its assets. However, a dropping ROA might reveal lousy investment choices.

ROA is great for measuring a company, not against all others. It’s most helpful when comparing companies that do similar things. This way, investors and analysts can get a clearer picture of a company’s financial shape and chances for growth.

Components of the ROA Formula

Return on assets (ROA) determines how well a company uses its assets to make money. It uses two main things: net income and total assets. These demonstrate the effectiveness of a company in utilizing its resources to generate revenue.

Net Income

Net income is the total amount a company makes after covering all its costs and taxes. It is located at the end of the income statement and indicates the amount the company made after covering all expenses.

Total Assets

Total assets are all the things a company owns that have value. This can be cash, property, equipment, and more. The value of these items is recorded on the company’s balance sheet.

Average Assets vs. End of Period Assets

Average Assets vs. End of Period Assets

For total assets, a company might use average assets or assets at the end of the period. Average assets give a picture of the company’s ROA over time, factoring in changes in asset value. End-of-period assets only show the ROA at the period’s end.

Add the starting and ending asset values for the average asset calculation, then divide by two. This approach evens out any ups and downs in asset value and gives a better look at how assets are used over time.

How to Calculate Return on Assets

Figuring out a company’s return on assets is not hard. It shows how well a company turns its assets into profits. This is important to determine how effectively a company uses its resources to make money. Let’s review how to find this number and why it’s useful.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating ROA

Calculating ROA is simple. Just follow these steps:

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Start by calculating the net income, which is the amount of money a company earns after deducting all its expenses. This figure can be found on the company’s income statement.

Next, look for the total assets on the balance sheet. This includes everything the company owns, like cash and property.

Then, find the average of the total assets by adding the beginning and ending amounts together and dividing the result by two. This smooths out any changes in the assets over the year.

Lastly, divide the net income by the average total assets. This gives you ROA as a decimal. To see it as a percentage, multiply by 100.

ROA Calculation Example

Now, for an example, let’s look at ABC Corp. They made a $1 million net income with $2.5 million average assets. To get ABC Corp.’s ROA:

ROA = Net Income / Average Total Assets
ROA = $1,000,000 / $2,500,000
ROA = 0.4 or 40%

This 40% ROA means ABC Corp. The company generates a 40-cent profit for every dollar invested in assets, which shows that it is using its resources well.

Compared to ABC Corp., XYZ Inc. has a higher net income of $1.3 million, but its ROA is only 32.5%. Even though XYZ Inc. made more money, ABC Corp. is better at using its assets effectively.

Investors gain essential insights by checking ROA for companies in the same field. This helps them better understand a company’s financial and management health. They can use this data to make intelligent investment decisions and spot areas for improvement.

Interpreting and Analyzing ROA

Interpreting and Analyzing ROA

Calculating the return on assets (ROA) is just the beginning. You need to figure out what it means next. ROA indicates a company’s effectiveness in generating profits from its assets.

What is Considered a Good ROA?

An ROA of 5% or more is considered good, while over 20% is excellent. But remember, this varies by industry. Companies that need fewer assets, like software companies, naturally have higher ROAs. Meanwhile, industries with many investments, such as manufacturing, might have lower ROAs.

Comparing ROA Across Industries

When comparing ROA, stick to the same industry. This way, the comparison is fair. For instance, you wouldn’t compare a software company with a manufacturing one. Their different asset needs and market situations would skew the results.

Compare a company’s ROA to that of its industry rivals rather than on its own. This will show how it’s doing compared to similar companies and highlight areas for improvement.

ROA vs. Return on Equity (ROE)

Remember that ROA and ROE are essential measures for assessing profitability. However, they look at a company’s finances in different ways. ROA reflects profits from all assets, including debt-financed ones.

On the other hand, ROE only considers how well a company uses its equity. It doesn’t count the debt effect. This means a company can have a high ROE if it uses a lot of debt, even if its ROA isn’t as good. Understanding these differences is essential for investors and analysts. It helps them evaluate company health and investment options wisely.


Measuring Return on Assets (ROA) assesses a company’s ability to profit from its assets. It looks at net income and compares it to total assets. This helps us understand how effectively a company uses its resources to make money. ROA is essential for investors, analysts, and managers to check a company’s financial strength and guide them in making intelligent choices.

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