Archive for the ‘Financing’ Category

Financial Ratios

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

When investigating whether or not an organization is a worth while, or potentially profitable investment, it is crucial to consider the following financial ratios in your research.

Financial Ratios

Liquidity financial ratios are sometimes referred to as balance sheet ratios since most of the variables are taken from the balance sheet. Liquidity ratios measure the short-term solvency of a company. In other words, they indicate a company’s ability to meet its short-term financial obligations. These financial ratios are generally based upon the relationship between current assets and current liabilities.

Current Ratio

The current ratio is one of the most commonly used financial ratios to measure a company’s short-term financial strength. It is arrived at by following the formula shown below:

Current Ratio = Total Current Assets / Total Current Liabilities

Current assets are the assets that are expected to be converted into cash in the next operating cycle. The cash from current assets is used to pay off current liabilities, which are scheduled for payment during the next operating cycle. A company should have enough current assets to meet its current liabilities. The higher a company’s current ratio, the higher their margin of safety is since there is a possibility to lose some current assets, such as inventory write-offs or bad debts. If a company has a low current ratio, or less than 1x it indicates a potential short term liquidity crunch, and a possibility that they will not be able to meet their short term obligations.

While a generally acceptable current ratio is 2x, current assets should be twice the current liabilities, a satisfactory ratio is relative to the nature of the business. Moreover, while judging the current ratio, it is important for an analyst to look at the composition of current assets and liabilities. A company may have a very high current ratio of 3x, but if most of the current assets are locked in the form of inventory, a high current ratio may not indicate a good liquidity position. In this case, it is crucial to know the characteristics of the inventory. If the inventory consists of old product that is not selling well, the company may have to write off the inventory and the current ratio may drop significantly. However, if a large portion of their inventory consists of new products that the company is expecting to sell during the next business cycle, a high current ratio is a sign of healthy short-term liquidity position. Similarly, a high current ratio may also indicate a large amount of idle cash being accumulated and not reinvested into the business.

Quick Ratio

The quick ratio is also referred to as the ‘Acid-Text ratio’. It is considered to be one of the best financial ratios for judging a company’s ability to pay off its short-term debts and is a more difficult test for a company to pass. As mentioned above, inventories are subject to write-offs in certain cases and are therefore considered to be the least liquid component of current assets. While these financial ratios are similar to the current ratio, it excludes inventories from current assets.

Quick Ratio = (Total Current assets – Inventories) / Total Current Liabilities

By excluding inventories, the quick ratio concentrates on the most liquid assets, including cash, government securities and receivables. A higher quick ratio indicates that even if sales revenue were to disappear, the company would still be in a position to meet its current obligations with readily available assets. A quick ratio of 1x is considered acceptable, unless the majority of the quick assets are in the form of accounts receivable. In this case, the pattern of accounts receivable collection needs to be studied to find if the average collection period lags behind the schedule for paying current liabilities. The quick ratio is one of the utmost important financial ratios used to review an organization’s attractiveness when considering investment.

Interest Coverage Ratio

The interest coverage ratio is also called the ‘times interest earned ratio’ and measures the margin of safety available to a company before paying the interest liabilities on their debts. In other words, it indicates the amount of profit a company makes before paying interest. These financial ratios are used by investors and creditors, to judge a company’s financial risk position. It is calculated as follows:

Interest Coverage ratio = Profit before interest and taxes / interest

Interest is a tax-deductible expense. The ability of a company to pay interest is not affected by tax payments. Hence the numerator used in these financial ratios is profit before interest and taxes. A high interest coverage ratio is an indication that the company can easily meet its interest payments even if its profit before tax suffers a considerable decline. A company having a low coverage ratio is perceived to be financially risky since a minor decline in operating profit can result in an inability to meet their interest payments. It is also used by lenders to measure the debt capacity of a company.

Finance Shopping for Used Cars

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

While it’s possible to save money going this route, most used car buyers still need to consider financing. Shop around for your loan to make sure the terms are advantageous for you.

Shop Lenders

You have several different lender options when you want to finance a pre-owned vehicle. You can deal directly with a dealership or you can hammer out a loan with a credit union or traditional bank. A loan from a dealership might seem tempting because it’s so simple to orchestrate, but it’s likely that you will pay for this convenience with higher interest rates. A bank or a credit union will probably offer you more attractive rates and terms than a dealership. One option is to negotiate your best deal with a bank or credit union and then take these terms to a dealership to see if the dealer will match them.

Shop Loans Quickly

As you navigate the loan shopping process, don’t take your time. Optimally, you should complete this process within only one to two weeks. The reason for the fast-paced shopping is because every time you apply for financing, your credit score receives a small hit. These soft hits are nominal and they don’t stay on your credit report for long, but they can have an impact. The impact could be higher depending on the number of inquiries that hit your report. Keeping the time period relatively short will lessen the total effect on your credit score.

Check Current Rates

Interest rates will have a significant effect on the overall feasibility of used cars financing. Lenders set interest rates according to borrowers’ credit scores, so the better your score, the better your interest rate should be. Your score is determined by your payment history, your current debt load, and the time period of your total credit history.

Loan Term

The term of a loan has a big impact on the total price paid for used cars. A loan over a longer period of time will require the borrower to pay more in interest over the term of the financing. If you have the choice between a shorter and a longer term, you will probably notice that the longer term has lower monthly payments. While this can be tempting for your month-to-month budgeting, remember that you will be paying more overall for this longer period. Shortening the financing period will result in higher monthly payments, but you’ll pay less in interest to the lender.

Check Lenders

Before making a final decision, do your homework to check into the reputation of a company. Both the federal and state governments regulate lenders to ensure that they adhere to laws and regulations. Call your attorney general’s office to inquire about a specific company. The Better Business Bureau also has information about businesses that will enable you to know whether the company is reputable.

Shopping for financing can be as challenging as shopping for used cars, but the time is well spent to ensure that you get a fair deal.