What Is Return on Assets? | Examples, ROA Formula, & More

What Is Return on Assets?

Over time, your small business acquires items of value. These things that bring value to your business are assets. To see how profitable your assets are, learn how to find return on assets and its impact on your business. So, what is return on assets?

What is return on assets?

An asset can be tangible (things you can touch) or intangible (things you can’t touch). Examples of assets include property, like cars, machinery, patents, or logos.

Your return on assets, or ROA, indicates how profitable your business is by comparing net income with your total assets.

ROA can give you, investors, or financial analysts an idea of how well your company manages its assets. Your return on assets is a percentage.

Keep in mind when comparing return on assets that it varies by industry. One type of industry may have a different ROA range than another.

Here’s a breakdown of some common industries along with their average ROAs:

IndustryAverage ROA
Transportation6.91%
Retail7.20%
Healthcare7.97%
Tobacco15.89%
Grocery stores33.50%
Consulting services51.43%

What is a good ROA? Generally, the higher the return on assets ratio, the better. Compare your ROA to others in the same industry to see how your business ranks.

Return on assets vs. return on equity

You have likely heard about return on equity (ROE) before. Both ROA and ROE measure how well your business utilizes certain resources.

ROE only measures your business’s return on equity, not including liabilities. And, ROA accounts for debt, while ROE does not.

While their purposes are similar, ROE and ROA calculate different information about your business. To measure your business’s financial performance, calculate both ROA and ROE.

How to calculate ROA (return on assets formula)

Now that you know what is ROA, it’s time to learn how to calculate return on assets. Return on total assets is simple to compute. You can find ROA by dividing your business’s net income by your total assets.

Net income is your business’s total profits after deducting business expenses. You can find net income at the bottom of your income statement.

Total assets are your company’s liabilities plus your equity. You can find your total assets on your business balance sheet.

To calculate ROA, use the following return on assets formula:

ROA = Net Income / Total Assets

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ROA calculation example

Using the handy ROA formula from above, let’s take a look at an example of computing ROA.

Say your business is in the technology industry, and the average ROA is 14.50%. Your business, ABC Company, has a net income of $10,000. Your total assets equal $65,000.

ROA = Net Income / Total Assets

15.38% = $10,000 / $65,000

Your ROA is 15.38%, which is slightly above the industry average of 14.50%.

If you want to increase your ROA, your net income and total assets must increase to equal similar values.

For example, if your net income increases to $30,000 and your total assets remain the same at $65,000, your ROA percentage would increase to 46.15%.

Importance of ROA

Your ROA percentage indicates how well your business manages its balance sheet to generate profits. And, looking at your ROA and comparing it to others can help you determine where you stand.

Measuring ROA has many advantages, such as:

  • Giving investors an idea of how well your business converts money into income
  • Comparing your average to your competitors in the same industry
  • Helping improve future business performance (e.g., increasing profits)

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This article has been updated from its original publication date of June 20, 2019.

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

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