Solvency

Solvency is the ability of an organization to pay for its long-term obligations in a timely manner. If it cannot marshal the resources to do so, then an entity cannot continue in business, and will likely be sold or liquidated.

Solvency is a core concept for lenders and creditors, who use financial ratios and other financial information to determine whether a prospective borrower has the resources to pay for its obligations. The debt to equity ratio and the times interest earned ratio are among the more commonly used metrics for making a determination regarding solvency.

Solvency can also be considered difficult to maintain based on a non financial event. For example, a company that relies on an income stream from patent royalties may be at risk of insolvency once the patent expires. Continued solvency can also be a concern when a business loses a lawsuit from which the damages are considered to be significant, or regulatory approval is not obtained for a business venture.

When the management of a company is deciding whether to finance operations with additional debt or equity, the risk of insolvency is one of its key considerations. When a business operates in a low-profit environment where monthly results are highly variable, it is at greater risk of insolvency, and so should be more inclined to finance operations with additional equity.

Related Courses

Business Ratios Guidebook 
Corporate Cash Management 
Treasurer's Guidebook