Return on Assets Formula & Why You Need It

By Intrinio
December 10, 2023

What is return on assets (ROA)?

Return on Assets (ROA) is a fundamental financial metric that provides valuable insights into a company's efficiency in generating profits from its assets. In the world of finance, ROA is a critical indicator that helps investors and analysts assess a company's operational performance and profitability.

What is the formula for return on assets?

The formula for calculating Return on Assets is straightforward:

ROA = Net Income / Total Assets


  • Net Income: This is the company's total earnings after deducting all expenses, including taxes and interest.
  • Total Assets: This represents the sum of all the company's assets, including tangible assets like buildings and equipment, as well as intangible assets like patents and trademarks.

ROA is typically expressed as a percentage. This percentage indicates how effectively a company utilizes its assets to generate profit.

Return on assets calculation examples

Let's break down the ROA formula with a couple of examples to better understand how it works:

Example 1: Company A

  • Net Income: $500,000
  • Total Assets: $2,000,000

ROA = $500,000 / $2,000,000 = 0.25 or 25%

In this case, Company A has an ROA of 25%, which means it generates $0.25 in profit for every dollar of assets it owns.

Example 2: Company B

  • Net Income: $750,000
  • Total Assets: $5,000,000

ROA = $750,000 / $5,000,000 = 0.15 or 15%

Company B's ROA is 15%, indicating that it generates $0.15 in profit for every dollar of assets.

What is a good ROA?

A "good" ROA can vary significantly depending on the industry and the company's business model. Generally, a higher ROA indicates better asset utilization and profitability. However, it's essential to consider the industry norms and compare a company's ROA to its competitors or historical performance.

For example, industries with significant capital investments, such as manufacturing or utilities, tend to have lower ROAs. Conversely, service-based companies or technology firms often have higher ROAs because they require fewer physical assets to operate.

To determine what constitutes a good ROA for a specific company, it's essential to benchmark it against industry peers and historical data. A company's ROA should ideally be higher than its cost of capital to be considered efficient and value-generating.

Why is it important to check a company’s ROA?

Understanding a company's ROA is crucial for several reasons:

1. Operational Efficiency Assessment

ROA helps evaluate how efficiently a company uses its assets to generate profits. A higher ROA indicates that a company is more efficient in its operations, while a lower ROA suggests room for improvement.

2. Profitability Measurement

ROA provides a snapshot of a company's profitability relative to its asset base. It helps investors gauge the company's ability to generate profits, which is a fundamental factor in investment decisions.

3. Comparison and Benchmarking

Investors and analysts often compare a company's ROA to its competitors and industry averages. This comparison provides valuable insights into a company's relative performance and competitive positioning.

4. Trend Analysis

Monitoring a company's ROA over time can reveal trends in operational efficiency and profitability. Consistently declining ROA may signal underlying issues that require attention.

5. Investment Decision-Making

ROA is a key factor considered by investors when making investment decisions. A company with a strong ROA may be seen as a more attractive investment opportunity.

Where to find ROA data (Intrinio)

Accessing reliable and up-to-date ROA data is essential for investors and analysts. Intrinio offers a comprehensive platform for financial data, including ROA information, to help you make informed investment decisions. Here's how you can find ROA data on the Intrinio platform:

  • Create an Account: Begin by creating an account on the Intrinio platform. This just takes just a few seconds to do!
  • Select Liquidity Metrics: Choose the specific return on assets metric you require. Intrinio provides a range of other effectiveness indicators, such as operating return on assets and return on net non-operating assets. You can find all these data points in our data tag reference library, and you can learn how to use the API to query them in our documentation.
  • Customize Your Data: Use Intrinio's API endpoints to tailor the liquidity data to your specific requirements. You can filter by industry, company, date range, and more.
  • Real-Time Updates: Intrinio offers real-time updates, as soon as data is made publicly available, ensuring you have access to the latest liquidity data as it becomes available through financial reports and filings.
  • Technical Support: If you have questions or need assistance, Intrinio provides technical support to help you make the most of their platform and data. Just chat our team at any time!

Return on Assets (ROA) is a vital financial metric that plays a significant role in assessing a company's operational efficiency and profitability. Whether you're an investor looking for opportunities, a fintech developer building a dashboard, or an analyst evaluating a company's financial health, ROA provides valuable insights that can guide your decision-making process. 

By understanding the ROA formula, considering industry benchmarks, and accessing reliable data sources like Intrinio, you can make more informed and data-driven investment choices. Remember that ROA is just one piece of the financial puzzle, and it's essential to consider it in conjunction with other financial metrics for a comprehensive evaluation of a company's performance. Happy investing!

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