Course Outline
Join PRO

Why are average balance sheet amounts used in calculating the turnover ratios?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

In the calculation of a turnover ratio, the numerator is an amount from an annual income statement, while the denominator is a balance sheet amount. Since a balance sheet amount is a snapshot and reflects only an instant or moment, there is an inconsistency between the numerator and the denominator.

For example, the numerator in the inventory turnover ratio is the cost of goods sold for the 365-day year, while the denominator reflects the cost of inventory for a just one moment at the end of the last day of the accounting year. To overcome this shortcoming, the denominator needs to be representative of all of the moments during the year.

When the inventory amount on last year’s balance sheet and the amount on this year’s balance sheet are the only amounts available, it is common to use the average of these two balance sheet amounts in the denominator.

Using the average of only two days can also be misleading if the company’s year ends at the low point of business activity. For example, when a company’s peak season is August through May, it is common to set the accounting year to be July1 through June 30. At June 30 its inventory will likely be at their lowest point of the whole year and will not be representative of the amounts during the months of August through May.

Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your job
  • Get hired for a new position
  • Understand your small business
  • Pass your accounting class
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews



PRO Plus

Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Word Scrambles
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus