The return on equity is useful for comparing the profitability of a company to that of other firms in the same industry. There are several variations on the formula that investors may use:
1. The return on equity may be calculated by dividing a net income by an average shareholders' equity. The average shareholders' equity is calculated by adding the shareholders' equity at the beginning of a period to the shareholders' equity at the period's end and dividing the result by two.
2. Investors may also calculate the change in return on equity for a period first by using the shareholders' equity at the start of the period as a denominator and then using the shareholders' equity at the end of the period as a denominator. Calculating both a beginning and ending return on equity allows an investor to determine the change in profitability over the period.
The return on equity can help investors distinguish between companies that are profit creators and those that are profit burners. On the other hand, the ROE might not necessarily tell the whole story about a company, and therefore must be used carefully. Essentially, the ROE reveals how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested in it. The ROE offers a useful signal of financial success, since it might indicate whether a company is growing profits without pouring a new equity capital into a business. A steadily increasing ROE is a hint that management is giving shareholders more for their money, which is represented by the shareholders' equity. Simply put, the ROE indicates how well management is employing the investors' capital, invested in the company.
Hence, the ROE is, in effect, a speed limit on a firm's growth rate, which is why money managers rely on it to gauge a growth potential. In fact, many specify fifteen percent as their minimum acceptable ROE, when evaluating investment candidates. Still, there are caveats that need to be considered. The ROE is not an absolute indicator of the investment value. After all, a ratio gets a big boost whenever the value of the shareholder equity, the denominator, goes down. Moreover, a high ROE does not tell if a company has an excessive debt and is raising more of its funds through borrowing rather than issuing shares. Remember that the shareholder's equity is assets less liabilities, which represent what a firm owes, including its long and short-term debt. Consequently, the more debt a company has, the less equity it has; and the less equity a company has, the higher its ROE ratio will be.
Nevertheless, a type of business or highly complex sales businessmen want their visitors to convert, make purchases, subscribe, register or become a lead online, enhance their brand loyalty or have an online presence compliment of offline efforts. Those goals should be reflected in the conversion rate; after all, it is a measure of somebody's ability to persuade the prospects to take an action that should to be taken. Finally, no single metric can provide a perfect tool for examining fundamentals. However, contrasting a five-year average return on equity within a specific industrial sector highlights companies with a competitive advantage and with a knack for delivering a shareholder value. Think of the ROE as a handy tool for identifying industry leaders. A high ROE can signal an unrecognized value potential so long as it is known where the ratio's numbers are coming from.