Operating ratio is computed by dividing operating expenses by net sales. It is expressed in percentage.


Operating ratio is computed as follows:

The basic components of the formula are operating cost and net sales. Operating cost is equal to cost of goods sold plus operating expenses. Non-operating expenses such as interest charges, taxes etc., are excluded from the computations.

The following example may be helpful in understanding the computation of operating ratio:


The selected data from the records of Good Luck limited is given below:

Net sales 200,000
Cost of goods sold 120,000
Administrative expenses 20,000
Selling expense 20,000
Interest charges 10,000

Required: Compute operating ratio for Good Luck limited from the above data.


= (160,000* / 200,000) × 100

= 80%

The operating profit ratio is 80%. It means 80% of the sales revenue would be used to cover cost of goods sold and operating expenses of Good Luck limited.

*Computation of operating cost:

Cost of goods sold + Administrative expenses + Selling expenses

= $120,000 + $20,000 + $20,000

= $160,000

Notice that the interest charges have not been included in operating cost because they are not operating expenses.

Significance and interpretation:

This ratio is used to measure the operational efficiency of the management. It shows whether the cost component in the sales figure is within normal range. A low operating ratio means high net profit ratio i.e., more operating profit.

The ratio should be compared: (1) with the company’s past years ratio, (2) with the ratio of other companies in the same industry. An increase in the ratio should be investigated and brought to attention of management. The operating ratio varies from industry to industry.