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Return on Average Assets (ROAA)


Return on Average Assets (ROAA) is a financial metric used to assess a company’s profitability relative to its total assets. It’s calculated by dividing the net income of a company by its average total assets over a certain period. High ROAA values typically indicate that the company is effectively using its assets to generate profits.


The phonetics of the keyword “Return on Average Assets (ROAA)” is:Rih-turn on Av-er-age As-sets (Arr-O-A-A)

Key Takeaways

  1. Measure of Profitability: ROAA is a performance metric that is commonly used to understand a company’s profitability in relation to its total assets, by measuring the net income produced by total assets during a period. It is used by investors to assess a company’s operational efficiency and how well it manages its assets to generate income.
  2. Higher ROAA is Preferred: A higher ROAA value is preferable and often denotes a company’s superior financial performance. If a business shows a high ROAA, it means that the company is earning more money with less investment (i.e., the business has a higher level of asset turnover or profit margin). Generally, businesses with an ROAA over 5% are thought to be performing well.
  3. Comparison Tool: It is particularly beneficial in comparing the performance of companies in the same sector or industry since such companies are assumed to use similar assets. However, different sectors have different capital requirements, so it may not be suitable to compare the ROAA across sectors or industries.


Return on Average Assets (ROAA) is an important business/finance metric as it provides insight into how effectively a company is utilizing its assets to generate earnings. It is calculated by dividing net income by the average total assets. This ratio is commonly used by investors, creditors, and internal management to assess a firm’s profitability relative to its total assets, helping stakeholders understand the efficiency of asset use. A higher ROAA ratio indicates more effective management and productive use of the company’s assets. Thus, ROAA plays a critical role in comparing the performance of companies in the same industry and helping stakeholders to make informed investment and management decisions.


The purpose of the Return on Average Assets (ROAA) is to give investors, shareholders, and management an indication of the operational efficiency and profitability of a company relative to its total assets. This measure is particularly useful when comparing the performance of similar businesses within the same industry. ROAA is commonly used in businesses where substantial assets are required to generate profits, like banks or manufacturing companies. By indicating how effectively a company uses its assets to generate profits, ROAA helps discern a firm’s financial health and operational efficiency.Moreover, ROAA takes into account changes that occurred in the asset base during the period measured by calculating the average of the beginning and end assets. This brings precision to the ratio by avoiding the effects of any unusual fluctuations. Furthermore, since it is directly related to assets, ROAA can also be utilized in strategic decision-making, such as when contemplating significant investments or asset purchases, helping to identify if the company has been generating sufficient returns from its existing assets before opting to expand.


1. Bank Analysis: Banks are one of the most common businesses to use ROAA as a key measure of their performance. For example, Wells Fargo & Co reported ROAA of 1.02% for the year 2019. This performance metric showed investors the profitability of the bank relative to its total average assets, helping them to understand how effectively the bank was using its asset base to generate profits.2. Retail Industry: Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers, reported an ROAA of 7.92% in the fiscal year 2021. This demonstrated to stakeholders that for every dollar in average assets, the company was generating approximately 0.0792 dollars of profit. 3. Automotive Industry: In 2020, General Motors reported an ROAA of 1.5%, indicating their effectiveness in utilizing their assets to gain profit. Despite the challenges in the automotive industry due to the pandemic, GM’s ROAA offered a snapshot of the company’s profitability on its asset base to its investors and shareholders.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Return on Average Assets (ROAA)?

Return on Average Assets (ROAA) is a financial ratio used to measure the profitability of a company in relation to its total assets. It shows how efficiently a company’s management is using its assets to generate profits. It is calculated by dividing net income by the average total assets.

How is ROAA calculated?

ROAA is calculated by dividing the net income of a company by its average total assets over a certain period. The formula is: ROAA = Net Income / Average Total Assets

What is the significance of ROAA in financial analysis?

ROAA is a key indicator of how profitable a company is relative to its total assets. Higher ROAA values indicate higher asset efficiency and profitability. It helps investors and analysts gauge the financial health and operational efficiency of a company.

How does ROAA differ from Return on Assets (ROA)?

While both ROAA and ROA measure a company’s profitability relative to its assets, the key difference lies in the denominator. ROAA uses the average total assets over a reporting period, which smoothens out fluctuations and provides a more accurate reflection of a company’s performance over time.

What is considered a good ROAA?

A “good” ROAA may vary by industry, but typically, a ROAA over 5% is considered good for most businesses. However, this may not be the case for all industries.

How can a company improve its ROAA?

A company can improve its ROAA by increasing its net income or by more efficiently managing its assets. This could be accomplished by reducing costs, improving sales, managing inventory more effectively, or optimizing debt levels.

Can ROAA be negative? What does a negative ROAA imply?

Yes, ROAA can be negative. This usually occurs when a company is incurring losses (negative net income). A negative ROAA implies that a company is not making efficient use of its assets to generate profits.

What does a high ROAA imply?

A high ROAA implies that a company has been successful at using its assets to generate high profits. It indicates that the company’s management is effective in using their assets efficiently and profitably.

Related Finance Terms

  • Asset Utilization
  • Profit Margin
  • Financial Performance Analysis
  • Total Asset Turnover
  • Net Income

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