Interval Measure – Meaning, Importance, How to Calculate, and More

Interval Measure is a financial ratio that allows a company to understand the money it needs for its operations. And it helps understanding how much funds a company needs for operations helps in the long-term survival of the company.

Basically, the interval measure ratio helps a business get an idea of how long it would survive using the money or capital on hand. Or, we can say this ratio helps to determine the number of days a firm can operate using just the funds it has on its hands without accessing the long term assets. Because in the short term those long term assets may not be easily converted to cash.

Importance of Interval Measure

For any business, it is important to know how long it could continue to meet its obligations if it has no revenue or no access to other funds.

Also, it assists businesses in controlling and optimizing expenses so that the operational period can be stretched further. And a business can control its expenses by making sure it does not exceed the interval measure output. Suppose a firm faces any problems and needs to make emergency expenditures. This, in turn, could push the company to exceed the ratio.

Now, the firm should go for cost-cutting measures to meet the interval ratio. It will help the firm to avoid a drop in the number of days it can support operations with the funds on hand.

How to Calculate Interval Measure?

Interval measure is easy to calculate as well. All one needs to do is divide the total quick or liquid assets by the average daily operating expenses. And the quick assets are ones that one can quickly convert into cash. Or, it is current assets less inventory. Moreover, One may or may not include inventory in the calculation depending on how quickly a company can sell it and get the cash.

The answer that we get on dividing this (liquid assets by operating expenses) is the number of days that a firm can use its assets to fund its operations. The standard formula is thus:

Interval Measure (expressed as a number of days) = quick or liquid assets / daily operational expenses

Interval Measure

For example, suppose Company A has $50,000 cash, $25,000 marketable securities, and $25,000 accounts receivables. The daily operating expenses for Company A is $2,000.

Thus, the total liquid assets for the Company A is $100,000 ($50,000 + $25,000 + $25,000). The interval measure in this case is 50 days ($100,000 / $2,000).

Burn Rate

Burn rate is also a similar concept to interval measure. The Interval measure also serves as an input for the burn rate. A burn rate is a measure of spending from a company to keep its operations running. A point to note is that the burn rate does not consider the challenges that a company may face in keeping operations running.

Defensive Interval Ratio

Similar to interval ratio, there is another ratio called Defensive interval ratio (DIR). This ratio also tells about a company’s liquidity. Or, we can say, this ratio tells the number of days a firm can fund its operations without resorting to non-current or long term assets. Several analysts believe this ratio is more important than the quick or current ratio.

Final Words

Interval measure is important for a business to get an idea of how long it could survive with cash and equivalent. However, one must know that the internal measure and burn rate only give a rough estimate of the cash burn. They fail to give or account for problems that companies face to continue with their operations. Nevertheless, the ratio is still popular among analysts and investors to get an idea of the financial health of the company.  Even venture capitalists use this ratio to decide whether or not a business is worth investing.


Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".



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