In this video, we walk through 5 FAR practice questions teaching about calculating solvency ratios. These questions are from FAR content area 1 on the AICPA CPA exam blueprints: Financial Reporting.

The best way to use this video is to pause each time we get to a new question in the video, and then make your own attempt at the question before watching us go through it.

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**Calculating Solvency Ratios**

Solvency ratios are essential financial metrics used to assess a company’s ability to meet its long-term debt obligations. Investors, creditors, and analysts rely on these ratios to gauge the financial health and leverage of a company. In this overview, we’ll cover three key solvency ratios: Debt-to-Equity Ratio, Total Debt Ratio, and Times Interest Earned (TIE) Ratio. We’ll break down the formulas, discuss their purposes, and provide examples to illustrate how to calculate each ratio.

**Debt-to-Equity Ratio**

**Formula:** **Debt-to-Equity Ratio = Total Liabilities / Total Equity**

The Debt-to-Equity ratio compares a company’s total liabilities to its total equity, providing insight into its financial leverage. This ratio tells us how much debt the company is using to finance its operations compared to the amount of shareholders’ equity invested. A high ratio indicates that the company is primarily financed through debt, increasing financial risk, while a lower ratio suggests stronger equity backing and less reliance on borrowed funds.

**Example:**

Let’s say a company has $500,000 in total liabilities and $800,000 in total equity. To calculate the Debt-to-Equity ratio:

**Debt-to-Equity Ratio = $500,000 / $800,000 = 0.625**

This means the company has $0.625 in debt for every dollar of equity. A ratio below 1 generally indicates a stronger equity position, while a ratio above 1 shows more debt reliance.

**Purpose:**

The Debt-to-Equity ratio helps investors and creditors assess how much financial risk a company is taking by using debt to finance its growth. A higher ratio indicates more risk, as the company must ensure it can manage and repay its debt, especially in challenging financial environments.

**Total Debt Ratio**

**Formula:** **Total Debt Ratio = Total Liabilities / Total Assets**

The Total Debt Ratio shows the proportion of a company’s assets that are financed by debt. This ratio provides a broad view of a company’s leverage by comparing its total liabilities to its total assets. The higher the ratio, the more debt the company uses relative to its assets, which can increase financial risk if the company struggles to meet its obligations.

**Example:**

A company reports $700,000 in total liabilities and $1,500,000 in total assets. To calculate the Total Debt Ratio:

**Total Debt Ratio = $700,000 / $1,500,000 = 0.467**

This means that approximately 47% of the company’s assets are financed by debt. A lower debt ratio suggests that the company is less leveraged and has a stronger financial position.

**Purpose:**

The Total Debt Ratio helps analysts understand the extent to which a company relies on debt to finance its assets. A high debt ratio may signal financial vulnerability, especially in times of economic downturn, while a lower ratio indicates a more conservative financial structure with less risk.

**Times Interest Earned (TIE) Ratio**

**Formula:** **TIE Ratio = EBIT / Interest Expense**

The Times Interest Earned (TIE) Ratio measures a company’s ability to cover its interest payments using its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). This ratio shows how many times a company’s earnings can cover its interest expenses. A higher TIE ratio indicates a strong ability to meet interest obligations, while a lower ratio signals potential difficulty in covering interest payments.

**Example:**

A company has an EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) of $950,000 and an interest expense of $95,000. To calculate the TIE Ratio:

**TIE Ratio = $950,000 / $95,000 = 10.0**

This means that the company’s earnings can cover its interest expenses 10 times over. A high ratio like this shows that the company has plenty of earnings to meet its interest payments, which reduces the risk of default.

**Purpose:**

The TIE Ratio is particularly useful for creditors as it helps assess whether a company is generating enough earnings to comfortably cover its interest payments. A higher TIE ratio reflects strong financial health, while a lower ratio might indicate that the company is struggling to manage its debt obligations.

**How to Calculate Solvency Ratios When Not All Data is Provided**

In some cases, you may not be directly given assets, liabilities **and **equity, but still have enough information to calculate key ratios. Here’s how to do that:

- If
**Total Assets**and**Total Liabilities**are provided, you can calculate**Total Equity**using the formula:**Total Equity = Total Assets – Total Liabilities** - If
**Total Assets**and**Total Equity**are provided, you can calculate**Total Liabilities**using the formula:**Total Liabilities = Total Assets – Total Equity**

These basic formulas are part of the accounting equation: **Total Assets = Total Liabilities + Total Equity**

Once you have both liabilities and equity or both liabilities and assets, you can easily calculate the Debt-to-Equity Ratio or Total Debt Ratio, respectively. This approach is helpful when dealing with incomplete data but still needing to assess a company’s solvency.

**Conclusion**

Understanding solvency ratios is crucial for evaluating a company’s financial health and its ability to meet long-term debt obligations. The **Debt-to-Equity Ratio**, **Total Debt Ratio**, and **Times Interest Earned Ratio** each offer valuable insights into different aspects of a company’s leverage and financial stability.