Here’s Why We Think Issuer Direct’s (NYSEMKT:ISDR) Statutory Earnings Might Be Conservative

Broadly speaking, profitable businesses are less risky than unprofitable ones. That said, the current statutory profit is not always a good guide to a company’s underlying profitability. Today we’ll focus on whether this year’s statutory profits are a good guide to understanding Issuer Direct (NYSEMKT:ISDR).

We like the fact that Issuer Direct made a profit of US$1.27m on its revenue of US$16.9m, in the last year. While it managed to grow its revenue over the last three years, its profit has moved in the other direction, as you can see in the chart below.

View our latest analysis for Issuer Direct

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AMEX:ISDR Earnings and Revenue History August 18th 2020

Importantly, statutory profits are not always the best tool for understanding a company’s true earnings power, so it’s well worth examining profits in a little more detail. Today, we’ll discuss Issuer Direct’s free cashflow relative to its earnings, and consider what that tells us about the company. That might leave you wondering what analysts are forecasting in terms of future profitability. Luckily, you can click here to see an interactive graph depicting future profitability, based on their estimates.

A Closer Look At Issuer Direct’s Earnings

One key financial ratio used to measure how well a company converts its profit to free cash flow (FCF) is the accrual ratio. In plain english, this ratio subtracts FCF from net profit, and divides that number by the company’s average operating assets over that period. You could think of the accrual ratio from cashflow as the ‘non-FCF profit ratio’.

Therefore, it’s actually considered a good thing when a company has a negative accrual ratio, but a bad thing if its accrual ratio is positive. That is not intended to imply we should worry about a positive accrual ratio, but it’s worth noting where the accrual ratio is rather high. To quote a 2014 paper by Lewellen and Resutek, “firms with higher accruals tend to be less profitable in the future”.

Issuer Direct has an accrual ratio of -0.23 for the year to June 2020. That indicates that its free cash flow quite significantly exceeded its statutory profit. Indeed, in the last twelve months it reported free cash flow of US$3.7m, well over the US$1.27m it reported in profit. Issuer Direct’s free cash flow improved over the last year, which is generally good to see.

Our Take On Issuer Direct’s Profit Performance

As we discussed above, Issuer Direct’s accrual ratio indicates strong conversion of profit to free cash flow, which is a positive for the company. Based on this observation, we consider it possible that Issuer Direct’s statutory profit actually understates its earnings potential! Furthermore, it has done a great job growing EPS over the last year. The goal of this article has been to assess how well we can rely on the statutory earnings to reflect the company’s potential, but there is plenty more to consider. With this in mind, we wouldn’t consider investing in a stock unless we had a thorough understanding of the risks. You’d be interested to know, that we found 3 warning signs for Issuer Direct and you’ll want to know about them.

This note has only looked at a single factor that sheds light on the nature of Issuer Direct’s profit. But there is always more to discover if you are capable of focussing your mind on minutiae. Some people consider a high return on equity to be a good sign of a quality business. While it might take a little research on your behalf, you may find this free collection of companies boasting high return on equity, or this list of stocks that insiders are buying to be useful.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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