Audio Version — 5:15

Financial Analysis Control Tool Explained

The fourth tool for measuring the annual control plan is the financial analysis control tool. This analysis tool looks at the relationship between the expense-to-sales analysis (ratio) and the overall financial framework to analyze where and how the company is making or losing money concerning marketing activities. In other words, it’s an analysis tool used to determine the efficiency of how a firm is using its assets to generate revenue. 

Companies efficient at generating revenue from their assets have a high asset turnover ratio. Whereas the opposite is true for firms that are not efficiently using their assets to generate sales, they have a low asset ratio.

Marketing managers and executives use the financial analysis tool to measure the return rate on their net worth.

The return on net worth is the product of two ratios: its return on assets and its financial leverage. The critical factors in determining the rate of return on net worth include:

    • Profit margin (net profits / net sales)
    • Asset turnover (net sales / total assets)
    • Return on assets (net profits / total assets)
    • Financial leverage (total assets / net worth)

There are two ways a company can improve the return on its net worth. They can:

  1. Increase its ratio of net profits to assets.
  2. Increase the ratio of assets to net worth.

Let’s take a look at an example of the financial analysis tool at work.

Financial Analysis Example

I will use a utility company for the financial analysis example. Utility companies strive to have an asset turnover ratio between 0.25 and 0.5. The higher the asset ratio, the more efficient the firm is in generating revenue or sales from assets. As a side note, utility and manufacturing firms often have a more extensive asset base, which results in a lower asset turnover. On the other hand, retail businesses tend to have small asset bases with a higher sales volume that lends itself to a high asset turnover ratio.

Taking a look at the diagram below — the Financial Model of Return on Net Wort — we can see that the asset turnover for our utility company is 0.5, which is within a normal range for a utility company. However, its profit margin is low at 3.2%, whereas the average profit margin for a utility firm hovers around 9%.

 

Financial Model of Return on Net Worth Formula Diagram

Financial Model of Return on Net Worth graphic chart Financial analysis control tool

How to Improve Rate of Return on Net Worth

 

Before I discuss improving performance concerning the low-profit margin and average asset turnover in the utility company example, let’s address how the firm could improve its rate of return on net worth. I’ll examine the net worth first since the rate of return on net worth relates to the firm’s profit margin and asset turnover and the return on assets and financial leverage.

It’s important to note that the return on assets is the product of the profit margin and asset turnover ratio. The rate of return on net worth is the product of the return on assets and financial leverage. See the formula and calculation below for more information.

 If our rate of return of net worth is 2% in our example, then for a utility company, it appears low. To improve its return on net worth, the utility company must do one of two things in this scenario. They must increase their ratio of net profits to assets or increase the proportion of assets to net worth. To achieve their goal, they should analyze their asset composition to determine if it can improve its asset management. Some assets may include:

    • cash
    • accounts receivable
    • inventory
    • plant and equipment

As discussed above, the return on assets is the product of the profit margin and asset turnover ratios. Because the asset turnover, in our example, appears to be in the normal range for utility companies, but the profit margin is low, the marketing executive can improve performance by increasing the:

    1. Profit margin by increasing sales or cutting costs.
    2. Asset turnover by increasing sales or reducing assets (inventory and receivables) held against a certain level of sales.

Financial Analysis Calculations

There are several calculations for arriving at the Rate of Return on Net Worth in the diagram below. Use the Financial Model of Return on Net Worth above as a model for using the formulas below.

 

Financial Analysis Calculations

Summary

The financial analysis control tool is simple to use when calculating if a firm efficiently uses its assets to generate sales. A high asset ratio indicates that the company is financially efficient, and a low asset ratio indicates the opposite. The tool helps guide marketing executives who want to improve financial performance concerning sales for their companies. Two ways executives can improve performance. First, they can increase the profit margin by increasing sales through marketing programs or cutting costs to produce the product. Second, they can increase the asset turnover increasing sales volume or reducing assets such as inventory and receivables held against a certain level of sales.

Audio Version — 5:03

Marketing Expense-To-Sales Analysis Explained

The marketing expense-to-sales analysis is one of four tools in the marketing annual control plan. As discussed in the article, The Marketing Control Process for your Business, the analysis is partly responsible for ensuring that a company reaches its financial goals. The ratio helps monitor marketing expenses, ensuring that a firm does not overspend on marketing to achieve its sales goals.

Many business leaders and marketing advisors tie marketing spending to industry benchmarks. However, the expense-to-sales analysis tool is a marketing control analysis tool and not a benchmarking tool because marketing drives sales and sales do not drive marketing spending.

When determining if a company is overspending on marketing to achieve its sales goal, the key metric to measure is the marketing expense-to-sales ratio. Other metrics a company uses and that make up the marketing to sales metric are:

    • Salesforce-to-sales ratio
    • Advertising-to-sales ratio
    • Sales promotion-to-sales ratio
    • Marketing research-to-sales ratio
    • Sales administration-to-sales ratio
Practical Application Question

Can you think of other possible sales ratios that a company may use to calculate the expense-to-sales ratio?

Marketing Expense-To-Sales Analysis Scenario Example

We’ll take a look at an example of how the marketing sales-to-expense analysis may impact marketing decision-makers.

A fictional manufacturing company’s marketing sales-to-expense ratio is 40 percent. That is, the firm’s marketing expenses are 40 percent of its sales revenue. Five other metrics make up the total marketing expense-to-sales ratio. The ratios are:

    • Salesforce to sales (20 percent)
    • advertising to sales (6 percent)
    • sales promotion to sales (9 percent)
    • marketing research to sales (1 percent)
    • sales administration to sales (4 percent)

A benchmark for each ratio helps marketers monitor fluctuations in expenses. If expenses fall outside of the “normal” range in any of the sales ratios, there could be cause for concern. For example, if costs are rising, the firm may still have good control over expenses, and the occurrence is considered an anomaly or one-off event. On the other hand, the marketing team may have lost control over the expense, and further investigation into its cause is warranted.

To better monitor expense ratios, marketing managers need to monitor each ratios expenses using a control chart. For example, let’s explore the advertising-to-sales ratio for our manufacturing company example.

marketing expense to sales analysis advertising expense chart

The advertising-to-sales ratio, as noted in the manufacturing company example earlier, is 6 percent. Taking a look at the control chart for this ratio, we observe expenses fluctuate between the upper limit and lower limits, with an observation that expenses steadily increased beginning in the 8th period. Marketing managers should have noted the unusual pattern and rise in expenses. An investigation into the costs should have occurred before the 14th period when expenses rose beyond the upper limit.

 

Practical Application Question

Can you identify possible reasons why the advertising-to-sales expense ratio may be increasing?

 

Marketing-to-Sales Expense Calculation/Formula

The marketing-to-sales expense ratio, along with the other ratios, is relatively simple to calculate. To calculate, divide the total marketing spending by the total sales revenue and multiply the results by 100 to get a percentage. Exclude any revenue that is not associated with the sales activity. These revenues may include royalty earnings or interest and savings. The same calculation method applies to sales-to-advertising spending and the rest of the marketing expense-to-sales ratio components.

marketing expense to sales ratio formula

Example Calculation

For example, if a company’s marketing expense for a particular product is $40,000 and the company generates a total of $100,000 in sales revenue, the marketing expense-to-sales revenue is 40%.

 

Marketing to Sales Ratio: $40,000 / $100,000 (sales revenue) = .4 x 100 = 40%.

Summary

Using the marketing-to-expense sales ratio provides marketing managers with financial insights into how their marketing budgets perform in relation to the sales revenue. With lower ratios, the company has a higher profit-earning potential. However, marketers need to monitor the ratios using a control chart with upper and lower limits to ensure that marketing expenses do not get out of control. At the first sign of heightened costs, marketers need to investigate the causes in the rise of marketing spend.

The better the financial data supplied, the better the analysis and ability to decide a marketing campaigns’ effectiveness.