Return on equity is a measure that compares a company’s net income with the equity needed to generate that income.

Profitability ratios determine a company’s return on profit, although they do not focus entirely on profit margins. Two common attributes included in profitability analysis include return on equity and cost of equity. Return on equity is a measure that compares a company’s net income with the equity needed to generate that income. The cost of equity represents how much a company must pay to generate revenue, which is the shareholders’ external capital. There is a connection between the two attributes as a company cannot have one without the other.

The basic return on equity formula divides net income by the average equity on the company’s balance sheet. Average net worth is simply starting net worth plus ending net worth divided by two. These two numbers usually come from a company’s year-end financial statements. Companies use the information to assess how efficiently they use invested funds. Higher returns are often better, as it means the company is good at earning financial returns.

The cost of equity is a little different in terms of the general calculation for a company. While the total cost may represent the amount of equity needed to finance a single project, the cost of equity is a dividend capitalization model. In terms of measuring profitability, the last formula is to divide dividends per share by the market value of the share plus the dividend growth rate. This formula includes the remuneration that investors demand when risking their resources in a business. However, there are other models for measuring a company’s cost of equity.

A company often analyzes its return on equity and cost of equity at various times during its operations. This real-time analysis ensures that the company remains profitable on each major set of operations or projects. For example, a company paying a lot of dividends or experiencing a high rate of dividend growth often has higher costs that it needs to cover with its net income, so it is possible for a company’s cost of equity to reduce its net income.

Investors can also calculate these numbers for a company. Information taken from publicly disclosed financial statements contains the information necessary for this process. It helps investors select the most profitable stocks to invest funds in for potential financial returns.