Return on assets (ROA)

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on February 14, 2024.


Return on assets (ROA) is a financial metric that measures a company’s efficiency in generating profits from its total assets. It provides insight into how effectively a company is utilising its resources to generate earnings.

What is return on assets?

ROA is expressed as a percentage and is widely used by investors, analysts, and managers to assess a company’s financial performance. 

To calculate return on asset, the following formula can be used:

Return on assets = (net income / total assets) x 100%

A higher ROA indicates that a company is using its assets more efficiently to generate profits. It suggests that the company is effectively managing its resources to generate returns for its shareholders. On the other hand, a lower ROA may indicate that the company is less efficient in generating profits from its assets. This could be due to various factors, including high operating costs or underutilisation of assets.

Monitoring ROA over time can provide insights into a company’s operational efficiency and management effectiveness. Improving ROA over time is often a positive sign of a company’s financial health.

ROA does not account for differences in financing or capital structure. A company might achieve a higher ROA by using more debt, which can also increase financial risk. Furthermore, it does not provide insights into the absolute size of profits. A company may have a high ROA but still generate relatively low profits if it has a small asset base.

Example of return on assets

Let’s consider a fictional company, XYZ Corporation. XYZ Corporation reported a net income of £500,000 for the year ending December 31, 2023. Their total assets at the beginning of the year were £5,000,000, and at the end of the year, they were £6,000,000.

To calculate ROA we use the formula from above with the average total assets being £5,500,000:

ROA = £500,000 / £5,500,000 = 0.0909 or 9.09%

This means that for every pound of assets XYZ Corporation holds, it generated approximately 9.09 pence in net income during the year.

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