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Return on Equity (ROE) Calculator


What is Return on Equity?

Return on Equity, often abbreviated as ROE, evaluates a company’s prowess in generating profits from its shareholders’ equity. Essentially, it provides insight into how effectively a firm uses the capital entrusted to it by shareholders to yield net income.

To break it down with an example: if a company has an ROE of 20%, it implies that for every $100 of shareholders’ equity, the company successfully earns a profit of $20.

Investors frequently analyze ROE when determining the long-term profitability of a prospective company. This is especially relevant when comparing companies in the same industry sector. A heightened ROE is generally perceived as an indication of superior financial performance and adept management. On the other hand, a diminished ROE might hint at managerial inefficiencies or underlying business risks.

Return on Equity Formula

Having gained insight into what Return on Equity (ROE) is, the next logical step is to explore how it is computed. The formula for ROE, while simple, offers powerful insights:

Return on Equity Formula
Return on Equity Formula

1. Net Income: This represents the total earnings of the company after all costs, taxes, and other associated expenses have been deducted. The income statement is the place to locate this figure.

2. Average Shareholders’ Equity: This is the net value of the company’s assets, which can be found by subtracting the total liabilities from the total assets. Both of these figures can be found on the balance sheet.

However, a critical distinction to remember is that the income statement and the balance sheet serve different purposes in terms of time frames. While the income statement reflects the company’s financial performance over a duration (such as a quarter or year), the balance sheet offers a snapshot of the company’s financial position at a particular moment.

To reconcile this temporal discrepancy and ensure accurate computation, we use the average shareholders’ equity. This is derived by summing the shareholders’ equity values at the start and end of a given period, and then dividing the result by two. This alignment ensures that the time frame of the balance sheet matches that of the income statement, providing a more harmonized basis for evaluation.

Return on Equity Calculation Example

Let’s delve into a tangible example showcasing how you might employ ROE to make informed investment decisions.

Consider you’re evaluating two promising contenders in the technology realm: TechCorp and InnovateInc.

Upon analyzing their financial statements, you unearth the following data:

  • TechCorp boasts a net income of $2 million and carries an average shareholders’ equity of $10 million.
  • InnovateInc, on the other hand, reveals a net income of $1.5 million and an average shareholders’ equity of $5 million.

Applying the ROE formula, the computations unfold as follows:


$2 million ÷ $10 million = 0.2 or 20%


$1.5 million ÷ $5 million = 0.3 or 30%

At first glance, both firms present commendable ROEs. However, InnovateInc stands out with a superior ROE of 30%, indicating a heightened efficiency in producing profits relative to its equity.

Yet, as you delve deeper, a noteworthy observation comes to light. InnovateInc’s financial structure leans more towards debt when juxtaposed with TechCorp. This dimension introduces a potential financial risk, warranting closer scrutiny in conjunction with its impressive ROE.

Given this nuanced perspective, you conclude that a diversified investment approach would be judicious. TechCorp provides a bedrock of stability, whereas InnovateInc tempts with a tantalizing growth trajectory. As a result, you steer a larger share of your funds towards InnovateInc, but thoughtfully counterbalance it with a judicious stake in TechCorp.

Through this analytical journey, ROE has emerged as an invaluable beacon, illuminating the landscape of potential investments, aiding in risk evaluation, and shaping a diversified, effective portfolio strategy.

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