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I am wondering why the return on asset (ROA) is so much different for a company when reported on Yahoo finance and Market watch website. Here is Yahoo finance link: Yahoo Finance and here is Marketwatch link: MarketWatch The ROA on Yahoo finance for IESC is 5.75% and on MarketWatch is 38.89%.

Why there is this huge difference?

Is there any other free online source that provides ROA so I can compare and see if any 2 out of 3 sources agree?

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    Notice how some of the other values are different like Revenue? Chances are the "Trailing Twelve Month" periods are different would be my guess. – JB King Feb 22 '17 at 7:00
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    Another reason to consider is the difference in data vendors and other variables. Your best bet is to look at the 10K/Qs and do the calculations yourself. – NuWin Feb 22 '17 at 7:02
  • Do you mean the start of trailing twelve month is different?one for example in January and one in September? – TJ1 Feb 22 '17 at 7:03
  • @JBKing do you know of any other free online resources that provide ROA? – TJ1 Feb 22 '17 at 13:56
  • Your question of "are there any other free resources" is still off-topic even though you are asking it to verify existing sources. If you change your question to "How can I know which is correct" you might get an answer. A third source might just give you another different number and not help you, or might give the same "wrong" answer and lead you in the wrong direction. – D Stanley Feb 22 '17 at 20:49
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Why there is this huge difference?

I am not able to reconcile Yahoo's answer of 5.75%, even using their definition for ROA of:

Return on Assets

Formula: Earnings from Continuing Operations / Average Total Equity

This ratio shows percentage of Returns to Total Assets of the company. This is a useful measure in analyzing how well a company uses its assets to produce earnings.

I suspect the "Average Total Equity" in their formula is a typo, but using either measure I cannot come up with 5.75% for any 12-month period.

I can, however, match MarketWatch's answer by looking at the 2016 fiscal year totals and using a "traditional" formula of Net Income / Average Total Assets:

              2016FY    2015FY
Total Assets  394.34    226.71
Net Income    120.78    16.88
ROA           38.90%    

I'm NOT saying that MatketWatch is right and Yahoo is wrong - MW is using fiscal year totals while Yahoo is using trailing 12-month numbers, and Yahoo uses "Earnings from Continuing Operations", but even using that number (which Yahoo calculates) I am not able to reconcile the 5.75% they give.

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IESC has a one-time, non-repeatable event in its operating income stream. It magnifies operating income by about a factor of five. It impacts both the numerator and the denominator. Without knowing exactly how the adjustments are made it would take too much work for me to calculate it exactly, but I did get close to their number using a relatively crude adjustment rule.

Basically, Yahoo is excluding one-time events from its definitions since, although they are classified as operating events, they distort the financial record. I teach securities analysis and have done it as a profession. If I had to choose between Yahoo and Marketwatch, at least for this security, I would clearly choose Yahoo.

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