# Predicting Corporate Bankruptcy using the Altman Z-Score Ratio

The Altman Z-Score is provided on numerous investment websites, but many people are unaware of how it’s calculated, let alone what scores are good or bad. This article explains how the Altman Z-Score is calculated, what the score means, and provides a complete example calculation using a real-world corporation. Investors tend to avoid companies with a low Altman Z-Score as they have a significantly higher predicted likelihood of filing for bankruptcy protection.

# The Formula Explained

In 1968, Edward I. Altman, a professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business, published his first paper developing what would become the Altman Z-Score. He followed that paper up, thirty-two years later, in 2000, with an updated version of the model. Over the years, Altman’s model has shown to be 80 to 90 percent reliable in predicting whether a manufacturing firm would need to file for bankruptcy protection with approximately 15 to 20 percent Type II Error.

The Altman Z-Score measures a company’s profitability by comparing its profitability against the profitability of its industry and its competitors. The Altman Z-Score uses two numbers, the ratio of earnings to sales and the ratio of return on assets to total assets. The Altman Z-Score is also called the Altman Ratio…