The use of financial leverage by the firm has a potential impact on which of the following? The risk associated with the firm The return experienced by the shareholder The variability of net income. The degree of operating leverage. The d

What Is Financial Leverage? And How Do Companies Use It?

When the leverage value is higher, the company relies more on debt than on equity. High leverage makes lenders offer loans at a higher interest rate. As a result, the interest expenses of a company increase, negatively affecting its finances. However, the value should also not be too low as it would mean the company’s reliability on equity for raising funds.

What Is Financial Leverage? And How Do Companies Use It?

If borrowing rose above 70 percent, this figure would rise, that is, financial leverage would be greater. If financial leverage is measured, instead, as an index number, an additional calculation is necessary to determine what return on equity it produces. It is true, of course, that if a businesses substitutes capital for labor; thereby raising its fixed costs, it will simultaneously reduce a variable cost, labor cost, per unit. Some businesses by their very nature, such as airlines, must employ a high ratio of capital to labor. If at the maximum possible level of output fixed costs are a large percent of total costs, price per unit will have to be high relative to variable cost per unit in order for the business to be able to earn a profit.

Join 41,000+ Fellow Sales Professionals

When companies use financial leverage, their production capacity increases because of the employment of new… In evaluating the wisdom of their investment in a corporation, its owners should use the current market value of its stock, because this is what they would have available to invest elsewhere if they liquidated the stock.

  • Compensation may impact the order of which offers appear on page, but our editorial opinions and ratings are not influenced by compensation.
  • Using financial leverage ratios helps management and potential investors understand one part of a business’s risk.
  • Debt financing is an essential source of capital to support the limited investment of stockholders.
  • They can invest in companies that use leverage in the normal course of their business to finance or expand operations—without increasing their outlay.
  • An even more extreme case is produced by letting Widget Works, Inc. have fixed costs of $10,000 and variable costs per unit of $1.00, while Bridget Brothers has fixed costs of only $100 and variable cost per unit of $1.99.
  • For example, if a publicly traded company has total assets valued at $500 million and shareholder equity valued at $250 million, then the equity multiplier is 2.0 ($500 million/$250 million).

Depending on the size of the company, businesses will sometimes take on hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in order to leverage it and purchase assets. While that might seem like risky business, it’s the name of the game for competing corporations looking to outgrow each other. Using debt financing from the loan, the company is able to hire two more employees, purchase top-of-the-line equipment, and contract a designer to create a billboard advertisement.


Financial leverage is measured using leverage ratios and a company’s financial data found on its balance sheet, cash flow statement, or income statement. You can measure how much of a company’s capital structure and working capital (capital a business uses in its day-to-day operations) are made up of debt using these ratio formulas. There is a suite of financial ratios referred to as leverage ratios that analyze the level of indebtedness a company experiences against various assets.

What Is Financial Leverage? And How Do Companies Use It?

Businesses leverage their operations by using fixed cost inputs when revenues are expected to be variable. An increase in revenue will result in a larger increase in operating profit. On the contrary, leverage could be an effective way of understanding and assessing financial risks an organization might face. These risks include everything related to monetary transaction issues, such as taking up company loans and defaulting. Moreover, if the returns on investment are not as expected, the investors might incur severe financial losses. If the owner of ABC Art Supplies wants to know their current financial leverage ratio, the first step they would need to complete is to add together all of the debt listed on their balance sheet above.

The use of financial leverage by the firm has a potential impact on which of the following? …

The fluctuations in revenues may easily push a company into bankruptcy since it will be unable to meet its rising debt obligations and pay its operating expenses. With looming unpaid debts, creditors may file a case at What Is Financial Leverage? And How Do Companies Use It? the bankruptcy court to have the business assets auctioned in order to retrieve their owed debts. Alternatively, the company may go with the second option and finance the asset using 50% common stock and 50% debt.