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Are Tyler Technologies, Inc.’s Returns On Capital Worth Investigating?

Simply Wall St

Today we are going to look at Tyler Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:TYL) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of 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. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. In general, businesses with a higher ROCE are usually better quality. In brief, it is a useful tool, but it is not without drawbacks. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that 'one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar'.

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 Tyler Technologies:

0.10 = US$149m ÷ (US$1.9b - US$454m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Tyler Technologies has an ROCE of 10.0%.

Check out our latest analysis for Tyler Technologies

Is Tyler Technologies's ROCE Good?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, Tyler Technologies's ROCE appears to be around the 10.0% average of the Software industry. Setting aside the industry comparison for now, Tyler Technologies'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 see in the image below how Tyler Technologies's ROCE compares to its industry. Click to see more on past growth.

NYSE:TYL Past Revenue and Net Income, September 2nd 2019

When considering ROCE, bear in mind that it reflects the past and does not necessarily predict the future. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. Since the future is so important for investors, you should check out our free report on analyst forecasts for Tyler Technologies.

How Tyler Technologies'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 ROCE is calculated, a high level of current liabilities makes a company look as though it has less capital employed, and thus can (sometimes unfairly) boost the ROCE. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Tyler Technologies has total liabilities of US$454m and total assets of US$1.9b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 23% of its total assets. It is good to see a restrained amount of current liabilities, as this limits the effect on ROCE.

The Bottom Line On Tyler Technologies's ROCE

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

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.