What Is Return On Assets (ROA) And How To Calculate It?

Farwah Jafri | July 21 2023

Understanding Return on Assets (ROA) and how to calculate individuals and businesses alike need to evaluate their financial performance and make informed decisions. ROA is a crucial financial ratio that measures the efficiency with which a company utilizes its assets to generate profits. By analyzing ROA, investors, analysts, and managers gain insights into a company’s ability to generate earnings from its investments.  

This blog will delve into the concept of ROA and its significance and provide a step-by-step explanation of how to calculate it, offering a solid foundation for assessing and comparing businesses’ financial health and profitability. 

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What is Return on Assets (ROA)  

Return on Assets (ROA) is a financial ratio that measures a company’s profitability by evaluating its ability to generate earnings from its assets. It indicates how efficiently a company utilizes its assets to generate profits. 

ROA is calculated by dividing a company’s net income by its average total assets. The formula is as follows:  

ROA = (Net Income) / (Average Total Assets) 

Net income represents the company’s profit after deducting all expenses, including taxes and interest, from its total revenue. Average Total Assets is the average value of a company’s assets over a specific period, usually calculated by adding the beginning and ending assets for the period and dividing them in two. 

ROA helps investors, analysts, and managers assess a company’s financial health, efficiency, and profitability. However, it’s important to consider industry norms and other factors when interpreting ROA, as different industries may have varying asset requirements and profit margins.  

How to calculate ROA? What is ROA Formula?  

ROA stands for Return on Assets, a financial ratio used to measure a company’s profitability of its total assets. It indicates how efficiently a company utilizes its assets to generate profits. The ROA formula is written below:     

ROA = Net Income / Average Total Assets 

You will need a company’s net income and average total assets to calculate ROA. Let’s break down the calculation step by step with an example:    

Step 1: Obtain the Net Income  

Net income is the company’s total profit after deducting all expenses and taxes. It can be found on the company’s income statement or financial statement. Let’s assume the net income for the company is $100,000.   

Step 2: Calculate the Average Total Assets  

Average Total Assets is the average value of all company assets during a specific period. To calculate the average, you need the total assets at the beginning and end of the period. The total assets at the beginning of the year are $500,000; at the end of the year, they are $700,000.    

Average Total Assets = (Total Assets at the Beginning + Total Assets at the End) / 2  

Average Total Assets = ($500,000 + $700,000) / 2  

Average Total Assets = $1,200,000 / 2  

Average Total Assets = $600,000   

Step 3: Plug the Values into the Formula  

ROA = Net Income / Average Total Assets  

ROA = $100,000 / $600,000  

ROA = 0.1667 or 16.67%  

In this example, the ROA for the company is 16.67%. It means that for every dollar of average total assets, the company generates a net income of approximately $0.1667.  

Remember that ROA is expressed as a percentage, representing the profitability of a company’s assets. A higher ROA indicates better asset utilization and profitability, while a lower ROA suggests inefficiency in generating profits from assets.  

Note: It’s important to note that ROA alone does not provide a comprehensive view of a company’s financial health. It is often used with other financial ratios and metrics to assess a company’s overall performance and compare it to industry standards or competitors. 

Limitations of ROA- Return on Assets 

Return on assets (ROA) is a financial ratio used to measure a company’s profitability and efficiency in generating profits from its assets. While ROA provides valuable insights into a company’s performance, it does have certain limitations. Here are some of the limitations of ROA: 

1. Ignores financing structure

ROA does not consider a company’s capital structure or the cost of financing its assets. It treats all assets as financed by equity, ignoring the impact of debt or other liabilities. This limitation can lead to inaccurate comparisons between companies with different capital structures.  

2. Ignores the time value of money

ROA does not consider the time value of money or the impact of inflation. It assumes that the value of money remains constant over time, which may not be the case in reality. As a result, ROA may not provide an accurate representation of the true profitability of an investment.

3. Industry-specific variations

Different industries have varying levels of asset intensity and capital requirements. Comparing ROA across industries may not be meaningful due to differences in asset turnover ratios and capital investment needs. It is essential to consider industry norms and benchmarks when interpreting ROA.

4. Does not consider risk

ROA does not incorporate the element of risk associated with an investment. It only focuses on profitability without considering earnings’ potential risks or volatility. Companies with higher risk profiles may generate higher ROA but might be subject to greater uncertainty. 

5. Limited focus on assets

ROA only considers the financial performance of the assets employed by a company. It does not provide insights into other critical aspects, such as sales growth, customer satisfaction, market share, or brand value. ROA should be used in conjunction with other financial and non-financial metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of a company’s performance. 

6. Accounting distortions

ROA relies on financial statements prepared according to accounting standards, which can be subject to various accounting policies and estimates. These variations can lead to consistency in calculating and comparing ROA across companies or periods.  

7. Historical perspective

ROA is based on past financial data and may not accurately reflect a company’s current or future performance. It does not account for potential market conditions, competition, or strategic shifts that could impact a company’s profitability. 


Understanding the concept of Return on Assets (ROA) is crucial for any business owner or investor. ROA is a key financial ratio that measures how effectively a company utilizes its assets to generate profits. By calculating ROA, you can assess the efficiency and profitability of a business, allowing for informed decision-making. Calculating and analyzing ROA enables informed decision-making and can help identify areas for improvement. By understanding ROA and its implications, investors and business owners can make smarter financial decisions and strive for sustainable growth. 

Also Read: How To File Taxes For An LLC In The U.S – Things To Know

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Author Bio

Farwah is the Product Owner of Monily. She has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. She is passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges that hamper their growth, which is why she is working at Monily to facilitate entrepreneurs to efficiently manage business finances and stay focused on growth.