What is the Working Ratio?

Working Ratio

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Working Ratio

The working ratio is a financial metric used to assess the operational efficiency of a business, particularly in sectors like utilities, manufacturing, or transport. It is calculated by dividing the operating expenses of a business by its total revenue. The result is often expressed as a percentage. A lower working ratio indicates that the business is operating more efficiently, as it takes up less revenue to cover operating expenses.


The formula for calculating the working ratio is:

\(\text{Working Ratio} = \frac{\text{Operating Expenses}}{\text{Total Revenue}} \)


  • A working ratio below 1 or 100% generally indicates that the company is covering its operating costs and generating a profit from its operations.
  • A working ratio above 1 or 100% suggests that the company’s operating expenses exceed its revenue, which is a sign of operational inefficiency and may indicate financial trouble.
  • A working ratio of 1 or 100% means that the company is breaking even; its operating expenses equal its revenue.

Example of the Working Ratio

Let’s look at a fictional example to illustrate the concept of the working ratio.

  • Fictional Company: TechGlow Ltd.
  • Industry: Technology Manufacturing
  • Fiscal Year: 2022

Financial Data for Fiscal Year 2022:

  • Total Revenue: $5 million
  • Operating Expenses: $3.5 million

To calculate the working ratio, we use the formula:

\(\text{Working Ratio} = \frac{\text{Operating Expenses}}{\text{Total Revenue}} \)

In the case of TechGlow Ltd., the working ratio would be:

\(\text{Working Ratio} = \frac{3,500,000}{5,000,000} = 0.7 \text{ or } 70\%\)


A working ratio of 0.7 or 70% means that 70% of TechGlow Ltd.’s total revenue is consumed by its operating expenses. This leaves 30% of the revenue as operational profit, suggesting that the company is relatively efficient in its operations.

Business Implications:

  • The 70% working ratio might be seen as a positive sign that the company is covering its operating costs and is operationally profitable.
  • Management might aim to lower the working ratio further by reducing operating expenses or increasing revenue to improve efficiency.
  • Investors could view a 70% working ratio as an indicator of financial stability and operational efficiency, depending on industry benchmarks and other financial ratios for the company.

By understanding the working ratio, TechGlow Ltd.’s stakeholders can make more informed decisions related to the company’s operational efficiency.

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