How does a company increase working capital

Working Capital - Working capital

The Working capital (abbreviated WC ) is a financial metric that represents the operating liquidity available to a company, organization, or other corporation, including state-owned corporations. Working capital is viewed as part of working capital alongside fixed assets such as tangible assets. The gross current assets correspond to the current assets. Working capital is calculated as current assets minus current liabilities. When current assets are less than current liabilities, a company assigns one Working capital shortage , which is also called Working capital deficit and negative working capital is called .

A company can be endowed with assets and profitability, but there can be insufficient liquidity if its assets cannot be easily converted into cash. Positive working capital is required to ensure that a company can continue to operate and has sufficient funds to meet both short-term debt due and upcoming operating costs. Working capital management includes managing inventories, accounts receivable and payable, and cash.


Working capital is the difference between current assets and current liabilities. It is not to be confused with trading working capital (the latter excludes cash).

The basic calculation of working capital is based on the company's gross working capital.


Current assets and current liabilities comprise four accounts that are of particular importance. These accounts represent the areas of business where managers have the most direct impact:

The current portion of debt (payable within 12 months) is critical as it represents a short-term right to current assets and is often backed by long-term assets. Common types of short term debt are bank loans and lines of credit.

An increase in working capital indicates that the company has either increased its current assets (that it has increased its receivables or other current assets) or decreased its current liabilities - for example, it has repaid some short-term creditors or a combination of both.

Working capital cycle


The working capital cycle (WCC) , also known as the cash conversion cycle, is the time it takes to convert working capital and short-term liabilities into cash. The longer this cycle lasts, the longer a company will tie capital to its working capital without generating a return. Firms strive to shorten their working capital cycle by collecting receivables faster or sometimes by expanding liabilities. In certain circumstances, minimizing working capital can affect the company's ability to generate profitability; B. when unforeseen increases in demand exceed inventory levels or when a shortage of cash limits the company's ability to acquire means of trade or production.


A positive working capital cycle balances payments in and out to minimize working capital and maximize free cash flow. For example, a company that pays its suppliers within 30 days but takes 60 days to collect their accounts receivable has a working capital cycle of 30 days. This 30 day cycle usually needs to be funded through a bank line, and the interest on this funding is a book cost that reduces the company's profitability. Growing businesses need cash, and being able to free up cash by shortening the working capital cycle is the most cost-effective way to grow. Discerning buyers scrutinize a target's working capital cycle as they get an idea of ​​how effective management is in managing their balance sheet and generating free cash flows.

As the absolute rule of financiers, each of them desires positive working capital, since positive working capital implies that there are enough short-term assets to meet short-term obligations. In contrast, companies run the risk of being unable to meet their short-term obligations with working capital when working capital is negative. While it is theoretically possible for a company to have negative working capital indefinitely on regular balance sheets (since working capital can actually be positive between reporting periods), in general, working capital does not have to be negative for the business to be sustainable

Reasons a company may have negative or low working capital over the long term without indicating a financial distress include:

  • Assets above or liabilities below their real economic value
  • The accrual accounting leads to prepaid expenses, while the costs of the goods sold are lower than the income to be achieved
    • For example, software as a service company or newspaper receives cash from customers early on, but has to include the cash as a latent sales liability until the service is provided. The cost of providing the service or newspaper is usually lower than the income. When revenue is recorded, the company generates gross revenue.

Working capital management

Decisions related to working capital and short term financing are called Working capital management called . This includes managing the relationship between a company's short-term assets and its short-term liabilities. The aim of working capital management is to ensure that the company can continue its business activities and has sufficient cash flow to cover both current debts and upcoming operating costs.

An operational accounting strategy that focuses on maintaining efficient levels of both components of working capital, working capital, and short-term liabilities in relation to one another. Working capital management ensures that a company has sufficient cash flow to meet its short-term debt obligations and operating costs.

Decision criteria

By definition, working capital management involves short-term decisions - generally in relation to the next one-year period - that are "reversible". These decisions are therefore not made on the same basis as capital investment decisions (net present value or related, as above); Rather, they are based on cash flows or profitability or both.

  • A measure of cash flow is the cash conversion cycle - the net number of days from cash spent on raw materials to receipt of payment from the customer. As a management tool, this metric reveals the interdependence of decisions related to inventories, accounts receivable and payable, and cash. Because this number is effectively the amount of time the company's cash is tied up in operations and unavailable for other activities, management generally strives for a low net number.
  • In this context, the return on investment (ROC) is the most useful measure of profitability. The result is given as a percentage, which is determined by dividing the relevant income for the 12 months by the capital employed. The return on equity (ROE) shows this result for the company's shareholders. Firm value is when reinforced, and when the return on investment, the results of working capital management that exceeds the cost of capital resulting from investment decisions as above. ROC measures are therefore useful as a management tool as they combine short term politics with long term decision making. See Economic Value Added (EVA).
  • Company credit policy: Another factor that influences working capital management is the company's credit policy. It involves buying raw materials and selling finished goods either in cash or on credit. This affects the cash conversion cycle.

Working capital management

Based on the above criteria, management will employ a combination of guidelines and techniques for managing working capital. The guidelines aim to achieve that Current assets (usually cash and cash equivalents, inventories and debtors) and manage short-term financing in such a way that cash flows and returns are acceptable.

  • Cash management . Identify the cash balance that will allow the company to cover daily expenses but reduce cash holding costs.
  • Inventory management . Identify the inventory that enables uninterrupted production but reduces the investment in raw materials - and minimizes the cost of reordering - thus increasing cash flow. Also, production lead times should be shortened to reduce work in process (WIP) and similarly finished goods should be kept as low as possible to avoid overproduction - see Supply Chain Management; Just In Time (JIT); Economic Order Quantity (EOQ); Economic amount
  • Debt management . Determining the appropriate credit policy, i.e. the credit terms that will attract customers, so that any impact on cash flow and the cash conversion cycle is offset by higher income and thus ROI (or vice versa ); see discounts and allowances.
  • Short term funding . Given the cash conversion cycle, identify the appropriate source of funding: Inventory is ideally funded through supplier-granted credit. However, it may be necessary to take out a bank loan (or overdraft) or "factoring" to "convert debtors into cash".

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