Fixed Asset Turnover Ratio Explained With Examples


Dive into the intricate realm of the fixed asset turnover ratio (FAT) as we unveil its profound implications for evaluating operational efficiency. This comprehensive exploration will guide you through calculation methodologies, nuanced interpretations, and practical examples, including the case of Amazon. By grasping the strengths and limitations of this ratio, you’ll gain a strategic edge in optimizing asset utilization and making informed decisions.

Understanding the fixed asset turnover ratio

Let’s embark on a journey to decode the world of financial metrics with the Fixed Asset Turnover ratio (FAT). Often tucked away in the financial statements, this little gem helps us peek into a company’s operational prowess.

Simply put, the FAT ratio investigates how well a company is using its fixed assets – things like buildings, machinery, and equipment (often referred to as Property, Plant, and Equipment or PP&E) – to generate sales. By balancing net sales against the fixed assets (after accounting for their wear and tear or depreciation), we get a measure of the company’s efficiency in squeezing sales out of its assets. A higher FAT ratio? That’s like a high score in a game – it means the company is doing a great job using its assets to churn out sales!

Before we move forward, let’s weigh in on the pluses and minuses:


  • Asset efficiency radar: Offers insights into how well assets are being utilized.
  • Capital investment GPS: Directs companies where to channel their capital investments for maximum output.


  • Narrow lens: Focuses strictly on sales, leaving out a holistic view which includes expenses, profits, and cash flows.
  • Not one-size-fits-all: The ‘perfect’ ratio can vary significantly across different industries and company sizes.

Calculating the fixed asset turnover ratio

Ready to don your math hats? The calculation is actually quite straightforward:

FAT = Net Sales / Average Fixed Assets

What do these components or variables mean?

  • Net sales: This is your total sales, but after accounting for any returns or allowances. Think of it as the final sale number.
  • Average fixed assets: Add up the starting and ending balance of your net fixed assets for a period and divide by two. Voila, you have your average!

Interpreting the ratio

Seeing a high FAT ratio is like hearing the chime of a bell in a bustling marketplace; it draws attention. It suggests that a company is adept at transforming its static assets into dynamic sales. However, it’s essential to remember that there’s no universal “good” number. Just like our favorite coffee flavors differ, so does an impressive FAT ratio across industries. Analysts often compare a company’s current ratio to its past figures, its competitors, and the industry standard for a full picture.

Fixed asset turnover vs. total asset turnover

Picture this: if FAT ratio is a microscope zooming in on fixed assets, then the asset turnover ratio is more like a pair of binoculars, offering a broader view of all assets. Companies, especially those in the manufacturing realm, often lean towards the FAT ratio because it zones in on their hefty capital investments, like machinery.

Limitations and considerations

No metric is perfect, and FAT ratio is no exception. Its numbers can dance around due to periodic sales variations or changes in how a company operates. What’s more, the FAT ratio doesn’t capture the full spectrum of a company’s financial health, such as its expenses, profits, or cash in hand. For those who are serious about understanding a company inside out, it’s wise to examine multiple ratios over various periods and in comparison to close competitors.

Example: amazon’s fixed asset turnover ratio

Taking a snapshot from Q3 2022, Amazon strutted out with a FAT ratio of 2.16. In simpler terms, for every dollar they poured into their fixed assets, they raked in $2.16 in sales. That sounds impressive, right? But the real magic lies in stacking this number against industry benchmarks to truly appreciate the giant’s operational stride.

In wrapping up, the FAT ratio, while just one tool in the financial toolkit, provides a sharp lens to view how effectively a company is translating its major investments into sales magic.

Key takeaways

  • The FAT ratio serves as a compass for assessing sales generation efficiency from fixed assets.
  • An elevated ratio implies adept asset management and utilization.
  • Comparative analysis offers valuable insights into performance.
  • Consider limitations, including the exclusion of expenses.
  1. Financial ratios – Iowa State University
  2. Financial statement analysis – University of Oregon
  3. Understanding current assets: How to calculate it with examples – SuperMoney
  4. The evolution of financial ratio analysis: From traditional ratios to modern analysis – SuperMoney