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Are Computer Programs and Systems, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CPSI) Returns On Investment Worth Your While?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPSI) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities affect its ROCE.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What is it?

ROCE measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.

How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?

Analysts use this formula to calculate return on capital employed:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

Or for Computer Programs and Systems:

0.087 = US$26m ÷ (US$341m - US$43m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

So, Computer Programs and Systems has an ROCE of 8.7%.

See our latest analysis for Computer Programs and Systems

Does Computer Programs and Systems Have A Good ROCE?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see Computer Programs and Systems's ROCE is around the 8.0% average reported by the Healthcare Services industry. Aside from the industry comparison, Computer Programs and Systems's ROCE is mediocre in absolute terms, considering the risk of investing in stocks versus the safety of a bank account. Readers may find more attractive investment prospects elsewhere.

You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Computer Programs and Systems's past growth compares to other companies.

NasdaqGS:CPSI Past Revenue and Net Income, December 6th 2019
NasdaqGS:CPSI Past Revenue and Net Income, December 6th 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Computer Programs and Systems's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Computer Programs and Systems has total liabilities of US$43m and total assets of US$341m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 13% of its total assets. This very reasonable level of current liabilities would not boost the ROCE by much.

Our Take On Computer Programs and Systems's ROCE

That said, Computer Programs and Systems's ROCE is mediocre, there may be more attractive investments around. Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Computer Programs and Systems. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.