Small Business Glossary

Fixed Asset Turnover - definition & overview


Fixed Asset Turnover is the financial ratio calculated as sales divided by fixed assets. Measures efficiency of using property, plant and equipment to generate revenue.

In the realm of small business operations, the term 'Fixed Asset Turnover' holds a significant place. It is a financial metric that helps business owners, investors, and stakeholders understand how effectively a company is using its fixed assets to generate sales. This ratio is a crucial indicator of the efficiency of a business in managing and utilising its fixed assets, such as buildings, machinery, and equipment, to produce revenue.

Fixed Asset Turnover is a key performance indicator that can provide a wealth of insights into a business's operational efficiency. It is a critical tool for small businesses, particularly in industries where significant investments in fixed assets are required. By understanding and monitoring this ratio, small businesses can make informed decisions about asset management, capital investments, and operational strategies.

Understanding Fixed Asset Turnover

The Fixed Asset Turnover ratio is calculated by dividing net sales by the average net fixed assets during a specific period. Net sales refer to the total sales revenue minus any returns or allowances, while net fixed assets are the total fixed assets minus accumulated depreciation. The ratio provides a measure of how effectively a company is using its fixed assets to generate sales.

A higher Fixed Asset Turnover ratio indicates that a company is more efficient in using its fixed assets to generate sales. Conversely, a lower ratio may suggest that a company is not effectively utilising its fixed assets, which could be due to factors such as poor asset management, underutilisation of assets, or overinvestment in fixed assets.

Importance of Fixed Asset Turnover

The Fixed Asset Turnover ratio is a critical financial metric for small businesses. It provides insights into the efficiency of a company's asset management, which is crucial for businesses that rely heavily on expensive fixed assets. By monitoring this ratio, businesses can identify areas for improvement in their asset utilisation and make informed decisions about capital investments.

A high Fixed Asset Turnover ratio can be a positive sign, indicating that a company is effectively using its fixed assets to generate sales. However, it's also important to consider the industry context. In industries where high asset turnover is common, a company with a lower ratio may be at a competitive disadvantage. Conversely, in industries where low asset turnover is the norm, a high ratio may indicate overutilisation or underinvestment in fixed assets.

Limitations of Fixed Asset Turnover

While the Fixed Asset Turnover ratio is a useful tool, it's important to remember that it has its limitations. The ratio is based on book values of fixed assets, which may not accurately reflect their current market value. Additionally, the ratio does not take into account the age or condition of the assets, which can significantly impact their efficiency and productivity.

Furthermore, the Fixed Asset Turnover ratio can vary greatly across different industries. Therefore, it's most useful when comparing companies within the same industry. Comparing the ratio across different industries can lead to misleading conclusions due to differences in asset intensity and business models.

Improving Fixed Asset Turnover

Improving the Fixed Asset Turnover ratio can be a key strategic goal for many small businesses. This can be achieved through various strategies, including improving operational efficiency, optimising asset utilisation, and making strategic capital investments.

Operational efficiency can be enhanced by implementing lean manufacturing practices, improving process flows, and investing in technology and automation. Optimising asset utilisation may involve strategies such as asset sharing, outsourcing, or selling underutilised assets. Strategic capital investments can include investing in more efficient equipment or technology, or expanding into new markets to increase sales.

Strategies for Improvement

There are several strategies that small businesses can implement to improve their Fixed Asset Turnover ratio. One such strategy is to increase sales without significantly increasing the investment in fixed assets. This could be achieved by improving marketing efforts, expanding into new markets, or introducing new products or services.

Another strategy is to reduce the investment in fixed assets without significantly impacting sales. This could involve selling underutilised assets, leasing instead of buying equipment, or outsourcing certain functions. It's important for businesses to carefully consider the potential impact of these strategies on their operations and financial performance.

Monitoring and Analysis

Regular monitoring and analysis of the Fixed Asset Turnover ratio can help small businesses identify trends and make timely adjustments to their strategies. This could involve regular financial reporting, benchmarking against industry averages, and detailed analysis of asset utilisation and efficiency.

By regularly monitoring this ratio, businesses can identify potential issues early and take corrective action. For example, a declining ratio could indicate that assets are being underutilised or that sales are declining. On the other hand, a steadily increasing ratio could suggest that the business is becoming more efficient in using its assets to generate sales.


In conclusion, the Fixed Asset Turnover ratio is a powerful tool that can provide valuable insights into a company's operational efficiency and asset management. While it has its limitations, when used correctly and in the right context, it can help small businesses make informed decisions and drive operational excellence.

By understanding, monitoring, and actively working to improve this ratio, small businesses can enhance their asset utilisation, improve their financial performance, and gain a competitive edge in their industry. Remember, the journey to operational excellence is a continuous one, and every step you take towards improving your Fixed Asset Turnover is a step towards success.

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