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Veeva Systems Inc. (NYSE:VEEV) Is Employing Capital Very Effectively

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Today we'll look at Veeva Systems Inc. (NYSE:VEEV) and reflect on its potential as an investment. Specifically, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

Firstly, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

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

ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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?

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 Veeva Systems:

0.18 = US$250m ÷ (US$1.8b - US$413m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2019.)

Therefore, Veeva Systems has an ROCE of 18%.

Check out our latest analysis for Veeva Systems

Does Veeva Systems Have A Good ROCE?

When making comparisons between similar businesses, investors may find ROCE useful. Using our data, we find that Veeva Systems's ROCE is meaningfully better than the 7.0% average in the Healthcare Services industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Regardless of where Veeva Systems sits next to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears satisfactory, and this company could be worth a closer look.

We can see that , Veeva Systems currently has an ROCE of 18% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 14%. This makes us wonder if the company is improving. The image below shows how Veeva Systems's ROCE compares to its industry, and you can click it to see more detail on its past growth.

NYSE:VEEV Past Revenue and Net Income, July 5th 2019

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. 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, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Veeva Systems.

Veeva Systems's Current Liabilities And Their Impact On Its ROCE

Short term (or current) liabilities, are things like supplier invoices, overdrafts, or tax bills that need to be paid within 12 months. The ROCE equation subtracts current liabilities from capital employed, so a company with a lot of current liabilities appears to have less capital employed, and a higher ROCE than otherwise. To check the impact of this, we calculate if a company has high current liabilities relative to its total assets.

Veeva Systems has total liabilities of US$413m and total assets of US$1.8b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 23% of its total assets. Low current liabilities are not boosting the ROCE too much.

What We Can Learn From Veeva Systems's ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Veeva Systems could be worth a closer look. Veeva Systems shapes up well under this analysis, but it is far from the only business delivering excellent numbers . You might also want to check this free collection of companies delivering excellent earnings growth.

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