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Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) Is Reinvesting At Lower Rates Of Return

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To find a multi-bagger stock, what are the underlying trends we should look for in a business? In a perfect world, we'd like to see a company investing more capital into its business and ideally the returns earned from that capital are also increasing. Put simply, these types of businesses are compounding machines, meaning they are continually reinvesting their earnings at ever-higher rates of return. However, after briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. The formula for this calculation on Intuit is:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.13 = US$3.1b ÷ (US$29b - US$3.6b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2022).

Therefore, Intuit has an ROCE of 13%. On its own, that's a standard return, however it's much better than the 9.7% generated by the Software industry.

See our latest analysis for Intuit

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roce

In the above chart we have measured Intuit's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

What Can We Tell From Intuit's ROCE Trend?

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Intuit, we didn't gain much confidence. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 13% from 55% five years ago. However, given capital employed and revenue have both increased it appears that the business is currently pursuing growth, at the consequence of short term returns. And if the increased capital generates additional returns, the business, and thus shareholders, will benefit in the long run.

On a side note, Intuit has done well to pay down its current liabilities to 13% of total assets. That could partly explain why the ROCE has dropped. What's more, this can reduce some aspects of risk to the business because now the company's suppliers or short-term creditors are funding less of its operations. Some would claim this reduces the business' efficiency at generating ROCE since it is now funding more of the operations with its own money.

What We Can Learn From Intuit's ROCE

Even though returns on capital have fallen in the short term, we find it promising that revenue and capital employed have both increased for Intuit. And long term investors must be optimistic going forward because the stock has returned a huge 184% to shareholders in the last five years. So while investors seem to be recognizing these promising trends, we would look further into this stock to make sure the other metrics justify the positive view.

Intuit does have some risks though, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Intuit that you might be interested in.

While Intuit may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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