Small Business

What is a Good Current Ratio?

May 13, 2024 5 min
What is a good current ratio

What is a Good Current Ratio?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

When considering the question, “What is a good current ratio?” it is crucial to recognize that it acts as a fuel gauge, indicating sufficient resources to cover financial obligations.

In this blog post, we will cover the following:

What is a Current Ratio

It is a financial metric that assesses a company’s ability to pay its current assets using short-term obligations (such as debts and payables). It provides insights into how well a company can cover its immediate financial commitments.

How to calculate it

It is calculated by dividing the total current assets by the total current liabilities of the business.

The current ratio formula is:

Current Ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities

Understanding the Current Ratio

  • Current Assets include cash items that will be converted into cash within a year. Examples of current assets include:
    • Cash
    • Marketable securities
    • Accounts receivable (debtors)
    • Inventories (stock)
    • Bills receivable
    • Prepaid expenses
  • Current Liabilities are obligations payable within a short period, typically one year. Examples of current liabilities include:
    • Accounts payable (creditors)
    • Bills payable
    • Short-term notes payable
    • Short-term bonds payable
    • Interest payable
    • Unearned revenues
    • Current portion of long-term debt


Let’s consider a fictional small business called Tony Stark Company. On December 31, 2016, their balance sheet showed:

  • Total current assets: $1,100,000
  • Total current liabilities: $400,000

We can calculate the current ratio as follows:

Total Current Assets / Total Current Liabilities

= 1,100,000 / 400,000

= 2.75

2.75 indicates that Tony Stark Company’s current assets are 2.75 times greater than its current liabilities. This suggests a relatively strong solvency position for the business in the short term.


  • A ratio of 2:1 or higher is generally considered satisfactory for most companies.
  • However, analysing the composition of individual current assets and liabilities is essential. For instance:
    • High current assets may include slow-moving or obsolete inventories, affecting liquidity.
    • Low current assets may still allow a company to meet its obligations if they consist of highly liquid assets like cash and marketable securities.

Keep in mind that the value is merely a snapshot and does not fully reflect a company’s overall liquidity or long-term solvency.

How does it affect a business?

It provides insight into the financial health of a business, affecting it in several ways:

How does the current ratio affect a business

Liquidity Measurement

A higher ratio indicates that the company has more than enough short-term assets to cover its short-term liabilities. This can reassure creditors and investors, suggesting financial stability and the ability to meet obligations without selling off long-term assets.

Creditworthiness and Borrowing Capacity

Businesses with a strong ratio are often seen as low-risk by lenders and may have access to better borrowing terms. A healthy ratio suggests that a company can easily take on additional debt, if needed, without jeopardizing its ability to meet current obligations.

Investor Confidence

Investors closely watch liquidity ratios like the current ratio to gauge a company’s operational efficiency and financial health. A favorable ratio can enhance investor confidence, potentially leading to a higher market valuation of the business.

Check out: What is a Good Liquidity Ratio?

Operational Flexibility

A good ratio gives a business the flexibility to make strategic decisions, such as taking advantage of bulk-buy discounts, investing in research and development, or expanding operations without the immediate pressure of liquidity constraints.

Risk of Financial Distress

A low current ratio, on the other hand, signals potential liquidity problems. It might indicate that a company is over-leveraged, has insufficient working capital, or faces significant challenges in managing its inventory and receivables.

This can lead to financial distress and difficulty in obtaining new financing and could potentially scare away investors.

What is a Good Current Ratio?

A “good” current ratio differs across industries, but it’s generally accepted that a ratio between 1.5 and 3 is healthy. This range suggests that a company has sufficient assets to meet its liabilities without maintaining unnecessary idle resources.

The ideal current ratio may vary by industry, but as a rule of thumb:

– A ratio between 1.5 and 3 is usually seen as favorable.

– Below 1 could imply potential difficulties in fulfilling short-term liabilities.

– A ratio well above 3 might mean the company isn’t making the most of its assets or could be retaining excess cash that might be better invested.

It’s crucial to consider that the current ratio is a snapshot of a company’s liquidity and must be assessed in the context of the industry, asset nature, and operational needs.

For instance, a high current ratio in an industry with slow inventory turnover may not be beneficial, indicating surplus stock that isn’t selling. On the other hand, a lower one might be acceptable for a company that experiences rapid inventory turnover.

Accounting Software for Small Businesses

Factors Influencing the Current Ratio

Several factors can influence a company’s current ratio, affecting its liquidity and short-term financial stability. Here are some key factors:

Factors Influencing the Current Ratio

Modifications in Current Assets:

  • Accounts Receivable: An increase in accounts receivable that does not correspond with a similar increase in current liabilities.
  • Inventory Levels: High inventory levels that are not easily convertible to cash.
  • Cash and Cash Equivalents: An increase in cash reserves.

Changes in Current Liabilities:

  • Accounts Payable: An increase in accounts payable without a corresponding increase in current assets.
  • Short-term Debt: Taking on more short-term debt will lower the current ratio as it increases current liabilities.

Business Operations:

  • Revenue Streams: Consistent and increasing revenue can improve the current ratio by boosting cash flow and receivables.
  • Expense Management: Effective control of operating expenses can help maintain a healthy current ratio.

Industry Practices:

  • Credit Terms: The terms on which a company extends credit to its customers or receives credit from suppliers.
  • Inventory Turnover: Industries with rapid inventory turnover may operate with a lower current ratio, as their assets are quickly converted into cash.

Economic Conditions:

  • Market Trends: Economic downturns can lead to slower sales, affecting receivables and cash flow.
  • Interest Rates: Changes in interest rates can affect the cost of short-term borrowing and the ability to refinance short-term debts.

Company Policies:

  • Dividend Policy: Decisions to pay out dividends can reduce cash reserves.
  • Investment Strategy: A company’s strategy in investing its cash reserves.

Seasonal Factors:

  • The current ratio can fluctuate throughout the year for businesses with seasonal sales patterns.

Non-Operating Factors:

  • Asset Sales: Selling off assets to generate cash.
  • One-time Events: Unusual or one-time events, such as legal settlements or natural disasters.


Understanding the significance of the current ratio is essential for assessing a company’s financial health. While the ideal range of 1.5 to 3 is generally accepted as healthy across various industries, it’s crucial to remember that a “good” current ratio can vary depending on specific industry norms, the nature of a company’s assets, and its operational requirements.

Ultimately, while it is a valuable liquidity indicator, you should not view it in isolation. A comprehensive analysis, considering other financial metrics and the company’s overall strategic direction, is essential for a thorough evaluation of its financial health and long-term sustainability.