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.
Firstly, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Then we’ll compare its ROCE to similar companies. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on 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. All else being equal, a better business will have a higher ROCE. 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:
0.096 = US$152m ÷ (US$2.1b – US$477m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)
Therefore, Tyler Technologies has an ROCE of 9.6%.
Is Tyler Technologies’s ROCE Good?
One way to assess ROCE is to compare similar companies. Using our data, Tyler Technologies’s ROCE appears to be around the 9.8% 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.
Remember that this metric is backwards looking – it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately 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. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. 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 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.
Tyler Technologies has total liabilities of US$477m and total assets of US$2.1b. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 23% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which would only have a small effect on ROCE.
What We Can Learn From Tyler Technologies’s ROCE
With that in mind, we’re not overly impressed with Tyler Technologies’s ROCE, so it may not be the most appealing prospect. 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).
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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