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Asset Turnover Ratio: Definition and Formula

Price-to-earnings ratio

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The asset turnover ratio provides valuable insights into how effectively a company utilizes its assets to generate revenue. Therefore, comprehending and interpreting this ratio is crucial for students interested in corporate finance. This article will delve into the asset turnover ratio, its calculation, interpretation, and significance in financial analysis.

What Is the Asset Turnover Ratio?

The asset turnover ratio measures a company’s ability to generate sales revenue relative to its assets. It quantifies how efficiently a company utilizes its assets to generate sales and indicates how effectively management deploys its resources. A high ratio suggests efficient asset utilization, while a low ratio may show underutilization or inefficiencies.

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Calculating the Asset Turnover Ratio

The formula to calculate this ratio is:

Net Sales / Average Total Assets

Net sales represent a company’s total sales revenue after deducting returns, discounts, and allowances. Average total assets are the average value of a company’s total assets over a specific period, usually calculated by taking the average of the beginning and ending asset balances.

Sample Calculation

To illustrate how the asset turnover ratio is calculated, let’s consider a hypothetical company, ABC Corporation, for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2022. ABC Corporation reported net sales of $1,000,000 for the year, and its average total assets amounted to $500,000.

Using the formula mentioned earlier, we can calculate the ratio as follows:

$1,000,000 / $500,000 = 2

In this example, ABC Corporation has an asset turnover ratio of 2. This result indicates that, on average, the company generates $2 in sales revenue for every $1 invested in assets during the year. A high ratio suggests efficient asset utilization, indicating that ABC Corporation effectively generates revenue relative to its asset base.

It’s important to note that these ratios can vary significantly across industries and companies. Therefore, comparing the ratio with industry benchmarks and historical data for ABC Corporation can provide more meaningful insights into the company’s performance and trends.

>>MORE: Investment Banking Skills for Your Resume

Types of Asset Turnover Ratios

In financial analysis, different variations of this ratio provide insights into specific aspects of a company’s operations. The most common variants are the fixed asset turnover and total asset turnover ratios.


The fixed asset turnover ratio measures a company’s ability to generate sales revenue relative to its investment in fixed assets. Fixed assets refer to long-term holdings with more than one year of practical life, such as property, plant, and equipment (PP&E). This ratio evaluates how efficiently a company utilizes its fixed assets to generate sales. The formula is:

Fixed Asset Turnover Ratio = Net Sales / Average Net Fixed Assets

A higher ratio indicates better utilization of fixed assets to generate sales revenue. It suggests that the company is effectively deploying its long-term assets to drive revenue generation. However, a very high ratio could also indicate underinvestment in fixed assets, which may impact future growth prospects or operational capacity.


The total asset turnover ratio evaluates a company’s ability to generate sales revenue in relation to its investment in all types of assets, including both current and fixed assets. This ratio provides a broader perspective on the company’s overall asset efficiency and assesses its ability to generate revenue across its entire asset base. The formula is:

Total Asset Turnover Ratio = Net Sales / Average Total Assets

A higher ratio indicates efficient utilization of fixed and current assets to generate sales. It signifies that the company maximizes its overall asset base to generate revenue. However, as with any ratio, it’s essential to consider industry benchmarks and company-specific factors for a meaningful interpretation.

Fixed vs. Total

The critical difference between the two ratios lies in the assets considered in the calculations. The fixed version focuses solely on the efficiency of generating sales using fixed assets. In contrast, the total asset version encompasses all assets employed by the company, including both fixed and current assets.

While both ratios provide insights into asset utilization, the fixed version allows for a more targeted analysis of long-term asset efficiency. In contrast, the total asset version offers a broader perspective on overall asset efficiency. 

By considering these ratios in conjunction with other financial metrics and industry benchmarks, analysts can better understand a company’s operational efficiency, asset utilization, and revenue generation capabilities.

Who Uses the Asset Turnover Ratio?

Investors, analysts, lenders, management, industry peers, financial consultants, and regulators use this metric to gain insight into a company’s operational efficiency and asset utilization. By assessing a company’s ability to generate sales revenue relative to its assets, these stakeholders can make informed decisions, evaluate creditworthiness, benchmark performance, and optimize resource allocation. 

>>MORE: Learn about popular careers in finance.

Showcasing an Understanding of the Asset Turnover Ratio on Your Resume

Including your understanding of the asset turnover ratio on your resume can demonstrate your proficiency in financial analysis and showcase your ability to assess a company’s operational efficiency and asset utilization. Here’s how you can showcase the skill on your resume.

  • Create a dedicated skills section: Consider adding a dedicated skills section on your resume to highlight your financial analysis skills. Include key financial metrics, such as the asset turnover ratio, to showcase your expertise in evaluating a company’s efficiency and performance.
  • Highlight relevant experience: If you have experience using the asset turnover ratio or conducting financial analysis, mention it in your work experience section. Emphasize how you utilized the asset turnover ratio to assess operational efficiency, make informed decisions, or provide financial recommendations.
  • Quantify achievements: Whenever possible, quantify your achievements related to the asset turnover ratio or financial analysis. This addition demonstrates the impact of your work and provides concrete evidence of your abilities.
    • Sample text: Improved asset turnover ratio by 15% by implementing streamlined inventory management processes, resulting in increased sales revenue and reduced holding costs.

Other necessary calculations to master if you’re interested in this career path include the following:

  • Profit margins: A core measure of profitability 
  • EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization): Another measure of profitability that helps finance professionals compare companies in states with different tax rates
  • Debt ratio: Compares a business’ total debt to total assets; used to illustrate how leveraged a company is.
  • Quick Ratio: Used to determine how well a company can pay off its current debts

Learn these and other in-demand finance and accounting skills today with Forage’s free job simulations.


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