Liquidity vs. Solvency: Are You Free and Clear of Debt?

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Difference between Liquidity and Solvency

Liquidity and solvency are two issues that any business may eventually have to face, particularly in the face of a financial crisis. Both are particularly important in terms of dealing with a financial situation, and this comparison article takes a look at their more salient points.

Liquidity
Solvency

Definition

Liquidity is the term used to refer to the ease and rate by which assets can be converted into a commonly accepted exchange medium. This is of course considered an advantageous situation for any business organization. Money is considered the most liquid asset of all, since it does not require conversion into any other form in order to be utilized.

Solvency refers to the ability of an individual or an organization to pay its debts. The solvency of a company is a clear indicator that the company is ale to pay any debts, which of course makes it attractive to any investor. In order to determine the solvency of a company, a liquidity ratio is commonly used. This includes the Acid-Test Ratio or Current ratio.

In Practice

Both liquidity and solvency are important indicators of a company’s ability to pay off its financial obligations. This is determined by an examination of its balance sheet, particularly the assets, liabilities, and equity categories. The most basic formula for determining liquidity and solvency is “assets = liabilities + equity”. Ideally, the sum of the company’s liabilities and equity must be equal to its assets. This is in fact what has given rise to the term “balance sheet”.

There is also a situation referred to as “illiquid”, which is when a company does not have sufficient cash to pay off their debts. Keep in mind that this applies only to situations wherein the debts are already due, so a company that has debts may not necessarily be illiquid of the said debts aren't due yet. However, if the entirety of the company’s assets is tied up in infrastructure and/or inventory that cannot be sold, they can be considered illiquid.

The Implications

In most cases, liquidity and solvency issues are tied in with each other. This means that a company will have to address both issues if it is to remain "in the black". In terms of the national economy, the solvency issue will have to be addressed if a more serious potential issue with liquidity is to be avoided. In a possible scenario, the hesitation of banks to lend out money may result in many companies being unable to raise funds necessary for operations. This may result in widespread insolvency, which is a potentially disastrous scenario. Simply put, a solvency issue at one point may therefore potentially cause a liquidity issue elsewhere in the process, and this may in turn cause further solvency issues.

Similarities and Differences

Liquidity

  • Refers to the ease and rate by which assets can be converted into a commonly accepted exchange medium
  • Important indicators of a company’s ability to pay off its financial obligations

Solvency

  • Refers to the ability of an individual or an organization to pay its debts
  • A solvency issue at one point may cause a liquidity issue elsewhere in the process

Which term sounds better to business owners?
  • Liquidity
  • Solvency
 
 

Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • Quick Loans Website wrote on January 2013

Getting out of debt doesn’t mean keeping your assets in danger for which you invested all your hard money. Liquidation could be a good possibility for a time being of keeping away debt but still you have to manage your finances so as to clear your debt as well as your asset.

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