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MGT 300: Management Theory and Practice: Financial Ratios

This course guide is to assist those students taking Management Theory and Practice (300). [Originally created by Marty Branch, Business Librarian]

How to Find Ratios

This document shows you how to locate the industry ratios in S&P NetAdvantage:

Symbols and Acronyms

  • Numbers that are enclosed in parenthesis or written in a red font are negative (less than zero).
  • LTM means last twelve months (so the numbers aren't from the quarterly or annual reports), but on a rolling twelve month basis.
  • CY means Calendar year (Jan - Dec).  
  • Companies report their financials using a Fiscal Year, which is a one year period of time. It may be the same as a calendar year, but it doesn't have to be. "Fiscal years that vary from a calendar year are typically chosen due to the specific nature of the business (" For example, Apple, Microsoft and Adobe all have fiscal dates different from a calendar year.
  • NM means Not Meaningful. Usually, the bottom number (denominator) in a fraction is less than zero, so the value can't be calculated.

Ratio Handout

Library Reference Materials

There are several reference books that will further assist your research of company ratios using industry benchmark data:

Helpful Books


You need to locate three financial ratios for your company, for one competitor and for the industry as a whole.  You need to find:

  • Current Ratio
  • Total Debt to Equity
  • Return on Assets

What do these ratios tell you about the company's finances?  Are they doing better or worse than their competitors or their industry?  

Library Resources

A note about First Research

First Research calculates the Industry Ratios differently than Mergent Online. They calculate the PRE-TAX Return on Assets and Total Debt to NET Equity (should be Total Equity). So you wouldn't be comparing apples to apples so to speak.

We recommend using the S&P NetAdvantage database instead to find Industry Ratios. There is a PDF called "Industry Ratios in S&P NetAdvantage" in the left column of this page that provides step-by-step screenshots on how to locate the ratios in that database.