What is Solvency?

Solvency reflects the firm’s position and ability to meet the long term and short term obligations. It is known as the long term stability from the financial aspect to cover various obligations as and when they become due to the firm. It also depicts the firm’s ability to continue and grow the business in the future. If it is high that means firms’ have sufficient financial resources to meet all the obligations and if solvency is low that the firm will struggle in meeting or fulfilling the debt obligations on time.

It is very important to maintain solvency as it helps in continuing operations into the foreseeable future. It is different from liquidity and should not be confused with it. Liquidity associates with short term obligations, while solvency associates with long term obligations. In order to be solvent, the company’s assets must be higher than all of its debt.

What does it Explain?

It identifies the capacity of a firm to manage the debts and attain the goals of the organization by managing the profitability. A firm that is unable to maintain good solvency will find difficulty in paying debts and hence will get bankrupt.

What are its Uses?

  • It helps in identifying the sustainability of a firm and the ability to continually grow in longer tenure. As it reflects the firm’s capacity in meeting the obligations on time and attain the required growth and development.
  • It also helps a firm in managing the assets and liabilities that contribute towards attaining the required level of debts by striking an effective balance between assets and liabilities.
  • It also guides in managing the various cash related transactions to maintain the cash flow as required which will directly affect the liquidity of a firm.

Stakeholders for the Firm’s Solvency

Investors and creditors check the solvency. They are concerned with checking the financial standing and evaluate the growth and profitability aspect of the organization. Investors before investing should analyze all the financial records to find out the solvency. Even creditors before giving the credit take this into consideration to find out the ability of the firm to repay debt. A firm having low solvency find difficulty in managing revenues to pay off obligations and hence they will not be able to timely pay back the new debts.


Solvency Vs Liquidity

These two concepts help in determining the financial health of an organization. But these two are distinct from each other. Liquidity measures firms’ ability to deal with short term debts while solvency is related to managing long-term sustenance and continued operations in longer duration.

Assessing the Solvency of a Business

Balance sheet and cash flow reflect the solvency to some extent.

  • The balance sheet shows the assets and liabilities. The firm is considered to be solvent if the realizable value of all assets is greater than liabilities.
  • Cash flow shows the cash transactions that helps in identifying the firm’s capacity to meet short term obligations

How to Calculate?

Solvency ratio measures whether the cash flows are sufficient to meet short term and long term obligations. The higher the ratio, the better the position of a firm with regard to meeting obligations whereas a lower ratio shows the greater the possibility of default by the firm.

It is calculated by dividing the firm’s after-tax net operating income by its total debt obligations

Net after-tax income= Net income + non-cash expenses

A ratio higher than 20% is considered to be good, but again it varies from industry to industry.


Let’s say that Mr.X is planning to invest in a company. He doesn’t know how to make the decision. He asked one of his planner, he suggested considering the solvency of the company. So The planner on behalf of Mr. X checks the net worth. The net worth of the company is positive and it signifies that the company has sufficient assets to meet the obligations.


Thus, the solvency evaluated the firm’s capacity to manage the long term obligation and timely fulfill all the debts. In order to judge the firm’s ability to grow and sustain in the market, solvency check is one of many good parameters. The better the solvency of the firm is the better they will meet all the obligation timely. The prospective lenders should use the solvency to judge the creditworthiness of a firm before lending the credit.

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".



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