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Why We Like Insperity, Inc.’s (NYSE:NSP) 37% Return On Capital Employed

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Insperity, Inc. (NYSE:NSP) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. 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, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we'll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we'll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

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. 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?

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 Insperity:

0.37 = US$205m ÷ (US$1.3b - US$770m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

So, Insperity has an ROCE of 37%.

See our latest analysis for Insperity

Is Insperity's ROCE Good?

One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Insperity's ROCE appears to be substantially greater than the 12% average in the Professional Services industry. We consider this a positive sign, because it suggests it uses capital more efficiently than similar companies. Putting aside its position relative to its industry for now, in absolute terms, Insperity's ROCE is currently very good.

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

NYSE:NSP Past Revenue and Net Income, October 17th 2019

It is important to remember that ROCE shows past performance, and is 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. Future performance is what matters, and you can see analyst predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

How Insperity's Current Liabilities Impact 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 counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Insperity has total liabilities of US$770m and total assets of US$1.3b. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 58% of its total assets. Insperity boasts an attractive ROCE, even after considering the boost from high current liabilities.

What We Can Learn From Insperity's ROCE

So to us, the company is potentially worth investigating further. There might be better investments than Insperity out there, but you will have to work hard to find them . These promising businesses with rapidly growing earnings might be right up your alley.

For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.