Accrual Ratio Calculator

Created by Wei Bin Loo
Reviewed by Tibor Pál, PhD candidate and Adena Benn
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


Our accrual ratio calculator is built to help you calculate the cash flow accrual ratio and the balance sheet accrual ratio of a company. These ratios can help you evaluate a company's financial reporting quality. Please check out our free cash flow calculator to understand more on this topic.

This article will explain what the accrual ratio is and how to calculate the metric using the accrual ratio formula. Furthermore, we will demonstrate some practical calculation examples to help you understand the concept.

What is the accrual ratio? The balance sheet accrual ratio and the cash flow accrual ratio

The accrual ratio is one of the best metrics in assessing a company's financial reporting. There are two accrual ratios: the balance sheet accrual ratio and the cash flow accrual ratio.

Accruals are the revenues or expenses earned or incurred by the business, but the cash has yet to exchange hands. Hence, businesses can use accruals such as prepaid revenue to manipulate the financial reporting results.

The accrual ratios are metrics designed to analyze the financial reporting quality of a business. The higher the accrual ratios, the lower the financial reporting quality of the company.

Without further ado, let's look at the accrual ratios calculation.

How to calculate the accrual ratio? The accrual ratio formula

Now, let's look at the accrual ratio calculation. We will take Company Alpha with the information below as an example:

  • Beginning operating asset: $3,000,000;
  • Ending operating asset: $3,500,000;
  • Beginning operating liabilities: $2,000,000;
  • Ending operating liabilities: $1,750,000;
  • Net income: $1,500,000;
  • Operating cash flow: $500,000; and
  • Investing cash flow: $100,000.

Let's start by calculating the balance sheet accrual ratio. This calculation requires three steps:

  1. Calculate the beginning net operating assets:

    The net operating assets (NOA) are defined as the difference between the operating assets and the operating liabilities. You can calculate beginning net operating assets using the formula below:

    beginning NOA = beginning operating assets - beginning operating liabilities

    For our example, the beginning NOA is:

    $3,000,000 - $2,000,000 = $1,000,000

  2. Calculate the ending net operating assets:

    We can calculate ending NOA using the formula below:

    ending NOA = ending operating assets - ending operating liabilities

    For our example, the ending NOA is:

    $3,500,000 - $1,750,000 = $1,750,000

  3. Calculate the balance sheet accrual ratio:

    The last step is to use the formula below to calculate the balance sheet accrual ratio:

    balance sheet accrual ratio = (ending NOA - beginning NOA) / ((beginning NOA + ending NOA) / 2)

    The Company Alpha's balance sheet accrual ratio is:

    ($1,750,000 - $1,000,000) / (($1,000,000 + $1,750,000) / 2) = 0.55

Now, let's look at the cash flow accrual ratio calculation. This calculation requires four steps:

  1. Calculate the beginning net operating assets

    Using the beginning NOA formula above, the beginning NOA for Company Alpha is:

    $3,000,000 - $2,000,000 = $1,000,000

    You can check out our net operating assets calculator to understand more about this calculation.

  2. Calculate the ending net operating assets

    Using the ending NOA formula above, the ending NOA for Company Alpha is:

    $3,500,000 - $1,750,000 = $1,750,000

  3. Calculate the difference between the net income and the operating and investing cash flow

    The next step is to calculate the difference between the net income and the operating and investing cash flow (NI difference) using the formula below:

    NI difference = net income - operating cash flow - investing cash flow

    Hence, the NI difference for Company Alpha is:

    $1,500,000 - $500,000 - $100,000 = $900,000

    Please check out our operating cash flow calculator to understand more on this topic.

  4. Calculate the cash flow accrual ratio

    Now, let's calculate the cash flow accrual ratio using the formula below:

    cash flow accrual ratio = (net income - operating cash flow - investing cash flow) / (((beginning NOA + ending NOA) / 2))

    Using the formula stated above, Company Alpha's cash flow accrual ratio is:

    ($1,500,000 - $500,000 - $100,000) / (($1,000,000 + $1,750,000) / 2) = 0.65

How to apply the accrual ratio to analyze earnings quality?

A company's earnings come from 2 sources: the cash earning and the aggregate accruals. Cash earnings are the earnings that the company earned from transactions in which the cash has exchanged hands. The aggregate accruals are the earnings from transactions in which the money has yet to change hands.

Hence, companies can use aggregate accruals to boost their earnings. For instance, companies can use a manipulative technique called channel stuffing to boost their aggregate accruals. This is done by offering deep discounts or rebates to entice customers to place their orders before the end of a reporting period.

The accrual ratio calculation is used to detect these manipulative activities. The higher the accrual ratio, the greater the likelihood that the company has used such a technique to manipulate its earnings, and hence the lower the earning quality.

FAQ

What are operating assets?

Operating assets are the assets of a company that is generating revenue. Examples of operating assets include cash, accounts receivables, inventories, etc.

What are operating liabilities?

Operating liabilities are liabilities or debts linked directly to the company's day-to-day operation. Examples of operating liabilities include accounts payables, accrued interest, etc.

What are net operating assets?

Net operating assets are defined as the difference between the operating assets and the operating liabilities. It separates the amount of money a business has invested in the operation.

What are accruals?

Accruals are the revenue and expenses the business has earned or incurred, but the cash has not yet exchanged hands. The accruals have a significant impact on both the income statement and the balance sheet.

What is the net operating asset if the operating asset is $300,000?

Assuming the operating liability is $100,000, the net operating assets will be $200,000. You can calculate this by subtracting the operating liabilities from the operating assets.

How can I calculate the balance sheet accrual ratio?

You can calculate the balance sheet accrual ratio in three steps:

  1. Determine the beginning NOA.

  2. Compute the ending NOA.

  3. Apply the balance sheet accrual ratio formula:

    balance sheet accrual ratio = (ending NOA - beginning NOA) / ((beginning NOA + ending NOA) / 2)

Wei Bin Loo
Type of accruals ratio
Select type
Balance sheet accruals ratio
Beginning net operating assets
Beginning operating asset
$
Beginning operating liabilities
$
Beginning net operating assets
$
Ending net operating assets
Ending operating assets
$
Ending operating liabilities
$
Ending net operating assets
$
Accrual ratio
Balance sheet accrual ratio
x
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