Data quality, concepts and methodology: Definitions of key financial variables

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Balance sheet

The Balance sheet is comprised of total assets, liabilities, and equity.

  1. Total assets are the sum total of economic resources in which the entity exercises a certain control. Included are cash and deposits; accounts receivable and accrued revenue; inventories; investments and accounts with parents, subsidiaries and affiliates; portfolio investments; loans given to other enterprises; and capital assets.
  2. Liabilities are the sum total of the entities obligations. Included are accounts payable and accrued liabilities; income taxes payable; borrowings; and deferred income taxes.
  3. Equity is the accumulated undistributed earnings derived from all sources, including capital or extraordinary gains and losses.

Income statement

The Income statement includes revenues; expenses; gains and losses; income taxes; and various profit measures.

  1. Operating revenue includes revenues from the sales of goods and services; rental and operating lease revenue; and revenue from commissions, franchise fees, and royalties.
  2. Operating expense includes the cost of goods and services used as inputs into production; wages and salaries; employer portion of employee benefits; indirect taxes; and depreciation, amortization and depletion of buildings, machinery and natural resources.
  3. Operating profit is the difference between Operating revenues and Operating expenses.
  4. Net profit is obtained from Operating profit by subtracting expenses for interest payments and income tax; and adding revenues from interest and dividends received gains (losses) on the sales of assets, equity in affiliates' earnings, and extraordinary gains.

Reconciliation of profit to taxable income and taxes payable

The Reconciliation of profit to taxable income and taxes payable illustrates the adjustments required to compute taxable income and taxes payable.

  1. Taxable Income (tax base) is the amount of income subject to tax in the current year after application of prior year losses.
  2. Taxes include federal and provincial taxes levied under the Income Tax Act.

Operating profit margin

Operating profit is the net result of the principal business activities of a firm. For non-financial industries, operating profits exclude interest and dividend revenue and capital gains/losses. For financial industries, interest and dividend revenue, capital gains/losses and interest paid on deposits are included in the calculation of operating profits. This ratio indicates management’s ability to generate earnings from the principal business activities of a firm. The ratio is expressed as a percentage of operating revenue.


Operating profit margin:

Figure 1: Operating Profit Margin

Return on capital employed

This ratio measures profitability and how well management has employed the assets, by calculating the percentage return on total capital provided by the owners and lenders (creditors). The earnings figure is calculated before taking into account after-tax interest expense (payments to lenders) and dividends (payments to owners). The ratio indicates how many cents are returned to every dollar of capital invested.


Return on capital employed:

Figure 2: Return on capital employed

Return on equity

This ratio measures the level of return to the owners (investors) and it represents their measure of profitability. The earnings figure is the after-tax profits, including a deduction for interest expense (payments to lenders). It is the net profit available to the owners (investors) before extraordinary gains. The ratio indicates how many cents are returned to every dollar invested by the owners.


Return on equity:

Figure 3: Return on equity

Debt to equity

This ratio examines the relationship of debt (loans, bonds, debentures) to shareholders' equity. It compares the relative size of debt to resources invested by the owners. It indicates the extent to which a firm relies on borrowed funds to finance its operations. Firms that rely heavily on borrowed funds are said to be highly leveraged.


Debt to equity:

Figure 4: Debt to equity

Working capital

This ratio examines the relationship of current assets to current liabilities. It measures the ability to pay short-term debts easily when they become due.


Working capital:

Figure 5: Working capital

Receivable turnover

This ratio provides a measure of the quality and relative size of accounts receivable. It indicates the effectiveness of a firm's credit policy by calculating how often accounts receivable are converted into cash during the year. The ratio divides the outstanding receivables figure at year-end into the year's sales.


Receivable turnover:

Figure 6: Receivable turnover

Inventory turnover

This ratio is a measure of the adequacy of inventory for the volume of business and how efficiently management turns over the inventory in relation to other firms in the industry. The ratio divides the year-end inventory into the cost of sales for the year.


Inventory turnover:

Figure 7: Inventory turnover

Quick ratio

This ratio, a refinement of the working capital ratio, examines ability to pay short term debts when they become due. It relates current assets minus inventories to current liabilities.


Quick ratio:

Figure 8: Quick ratio

Income Taxes to Taxable Income

This ratio, another measure of the tax rate, equals the rate of federal and provincial income taxes to the tax base.


Income taxes to taxable income:

Figure 9: Income taxes to taxable income

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