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Is SilverSun Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SSNT) Investing Your Capital Efficiently?

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Today we are going to look at SilverSun Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SSNT) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we're going to calculate its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), in the hopes of getting some insight into the business.

First up, we'll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Then we'll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since 'No two businesses are exactly alike.'

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:

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

Or for SilverSun Technologies:

0.075 = US$413k ÷ (US$12m - US$6.2m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Therefore, SilverSun Technologies has an ROCE of 7.5%.

Check out our latest analysis for SilverSun Technologies

Does SilverSun Technologies Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, SilverSun Technologies's ROCE appears to be significantly below the 9.4% average in the Software industry. This performance is not ideal, as it suggests the company may not be deploying its capital as effectively as some competitors. Separate from how SilverSun Technologies stacks up against its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is mediocre; relative to the returns on government bonds. It is possible that there are more rewarding investments out there.

SilverSun Technologies's current ROCE of 7.5% is lower than its ROCE in the past, which was 12%, 3 years ago. Therefore we wonder if the company is facing new headwinds.

NasdaqCM:SSNT Past Revenue and Net Income, May 14th 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. You can check if SilverSun Technologies has cyclical profits by looking at this free graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Do SilverSun Technologies's Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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.

SilverSun Technologies has total liabilities of US$6.2m and total assets of US$12m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 53% of its total assets. SilverSun Technologies's current liabilities are fairly high, making its ROCE look better than otherwise.

What We Can Learn From SilverSun Technologies's ROCE

Even so, the company reports a mediocre ROCE, and there may be better investments out there. But note: make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

I will like SilverSun Technologies better if I see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.