Return on Assets (ROA) Definition

Define ROA In Simple Terms

Return on assets, or ROA, is a metric used to evaluate how efficiently a company is able to generate profit with the assets it has available.

Expressed as a percentage, a higher ROA indicates a more efficient use of company resources.

Calculating ROA

It is calculated by dividing a company’s net income for a period by the value of the company’s total assets as follows:

ROA is most useful when comparing two companies within the same industry.

This is because the assets that are required to do business in different industries can be vastly different from one another, making it hard to appropriately compare, say, an airline and a law firm.

ROA Example

For example, say an investor wanted to compare two competing ice cream stores.

Company A has $5 million in net income and $20 million in assets.

Company B has $2 million in net income and $5 million in assets.

At first glance, Company A might seem like the better investment since it has a higher net income.

However, Company A’s ROA is only 25%, whereas Company B has an ROA of 40%.

This shows that Company B is able to use its assets more effectively to generate profit, and so is likely the better investment.

Return on Assets (ROA) Definition FAQs

ROA stands for Return on Assets
Return on assets, or ROA, is a metric used to evaluate how efficiently a company is able to generate profit with the assets it has available.
Return on Assets is calculated by divided a company's Net Income by its Total Assets.
ROA is most useful when comparing two companies within the same industry. This is because the assets that are required to do business in different industries can be vastly different from one another, making it hard to appropriately compare, say, an airline and a law firm.