The current ratio is a liquidity ratio that measures a company's ability to pay short-term and long-term obligations. To gauge this ability, the current ratio considers the current total assets of a company (both liquid and illiquid) relative to that company’s current total liabilities. The formula for calculating a company’s current ratio is:
Current Ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities
The current ratio is called “current” because, unlike some other liquidity ratios, it incorporates all current assets and liabilities.
The current ratio is also known as the working capital ratio.
A ratio under 1 indicates that a company’s liabilities are greater than its assets and suggests that the company in question would be unable to pay off its obligations if they came due at that point. While a current ratio below 1 shows that the company is not in good financial health, it does not necessarily mean that it will go bankrupt. There are many ways for a company to access financing, and this is particularly so if a company has realistic expectations of future earnings against which it might borrow. For example, if a company has a reasonable amount of short-term debt but is expecting substantial returns from a project or other investment not too long after its debts are due, it will likely be able to stave off its debt.