Working Capital Ratio: What Is Considered a Good Ratio?

working capital ratio

This is especially important in the short-term as they wait for credit sales to be completed. This involves managing the company’s credit policies, monitoring customer payments, and improving collection practices. At the end of the day, having completed a sale does not matter if the company is unable to collect payment on the sale. Knowing the difference between working capital and non-cash working capital is key to understanding the health of your cash flow and the liquidity of your current assets and obligations. The working capital ratio shows the ratio of assets to liabilities, i.e. how many times a company can pay off its current liabilities with its current assets.

However, the company’s cash position will fall due to the longer wait for customers to pay, potentially leading to the need for a bank overdraft. Interest on the overdraft may even exceed the profit arising from the additional sales, particularly if there is also an increase in the incidence of bad debts. Working capital represents the net current assets available for day-to-day operating activities.

How to Calculate the Working Capital Ratio

Inventory turnover shows how many times a company has sold and replaced inventory during a period, and the receivable turnover ratio shows how effectively it extends credit and collects debts on that credit. Working capital is also a measure of a company’s operational efficiency and short-term financial health. If a company Classified Balance Sheet Financial Accounting has substantial positive NWC, then it could have the potential to invest in expansion and grow the company. If a company’s current assets do not exceed its current liabilities, then it may have trouble growing or paying back creditors. It’s a commonly used measurement to gauge the short-term health of an organization.

  • Moreover, a business’s working capital balance can also hint at its operational efficiency.
  • These loans are usually amortized for a relatively short duration, ranging from four to eight years.
  • Some current assets include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and short-term investments.
  • To gauge just how efficient a company is at using its working capital, analysts also compare working capital ratios to those of other companies in the same industry and look at how the ratio has been changing over time.
  • Many large companies often report negative working capital and are doing fine, like Wal-Mart.

However, a ratio that’s too high (e.g. above 2.0) might indicate the company isn’t investing its assets efficiently. Conversely, a ratio under 1.0 shows that liabilities exceed assets, which could signal potential financial troubles. For instance, if a retail business has enough working capital, it can easily pay its suppliers and employees, restock its shelves, and keep the lights on without needing to borrow more money or sell off long-term assets. In contrast, a company with negative working capital might struggle to make ends meet, potentially leading to a slowdown in operations or even insolvency. The length of the cash operating cycle indicates that there will be 70 days between Topple Co receiving cash from sales and paying cash to suppliers. This is significantly longer than the industry average of 29 days (53 + 23 – 47) and likely to lead to liquidity problems, as evidenced by the size of the overdraft.

Is Negative Working Capital Bad?

The change of tack in inventory management is especially evident in the EU and Asia. Against a backdrop of rising inflation, global revenues have continued to grow, adding to the recovery seen in 2021. Largely in line with this revenue growth, we’ve seen a continued build‑up of nominal working capital, though input costs are also increasing. Companies have managed to keep this parallel growth in their favour, resulting in a decrease of 1.1 days of cash tied up in NWC. A technical article written by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on managing working capital, including what to aim for, an explanation of liquidity ratios and cash cycles, and more. If revenue declines and the company experiences negative cash flow as a result, it will draw down its working capital.

  • (i) year-end receivables are representative of the average figure; and

    (ii) all sales are made on credit.

  • Regular working capital is the minimum amount of capital required by a business to carry out its day-to-day operations.
  • For example, if a company’s balance sheet has 300,000 total current assets and 200,000 total current liabilities, the company’s working capital is 100,000 (assets – liabilities).
  • Many businesses experience some seasonality in sales, selling more during some months than others, for example.
  • Liquidity ratios calculate the organisation’s ability to turn assetscloseassetSomething a business owns that has monetary value such as a delivery van or money in the bank.
  • Products that are bought from suppliers are immediately sold to customers before the company has to pay the vendor or supplier.

Companies can reduce the cycle by working to extend payment terms with suppliers and limiting payment terms for their customers. The goal should be to balance the time it takes for the cash to go out of the company with the time it takes for the cash to come in from sales. A positive working capital ratio is important for a business to be able to operate effectively. It means that the business has the ability to repay more than the total value of its current liabilities.


A ratio that is too high may suggest that the company is not investing its excess cash in profitable ventures. On the other hand, a low working capital ratio may indicate that the company is struggling to meet its short-term obligations. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the working capital ratio in conjunction with other financial metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of a company’s financial health.

working capital ratio

Once Topple Co becomes more established it should benchmark its sales to How to prepare a statement of retained earnings for your business against sector data if available. The sales to working capital ratio indicates how efficiently working capital is being used to generate sales. (i) year-end receivables are representative of the average figure; and

(ii) all sales are made on credit. Although cash obviously provides liquidity it generates little return, even if held in the form of cash equivalents such as treasury bills. This is particularly true in an era of low interest rates (for example, in November 2016 the annualised yield on three-month US dollar treasury bills was approximately 0.4%). Hence, a company with a high level of working capital may fail to achieve the return on capital employed (Operating profit ÷ (Total equity and long-term liabilities)) expected by its investors.

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Working capital management also involves the timing of accounts payable (i.e., paying suppliers). A company can conserve cash by choosing to stretch the payment of suppliers and to make the most of available credit or may spend cash by purchasing using cash—these choices also affect working capital management. In its simplest form, working capital is just the difference between current assets and current liabilities. However, there are many different types of working capital that each may be important to a company to best understand its short-term needs. Current assets, such as cash and equivalents, inventory, accounts receivable, and marketable securities, are resources a company owns that can be used up or converted into cash within a year. In contrast, a low ratio may indicate that a business is investing in too many accounts receivable and inventory to support its sales, which could lead to an excessive amount of bad debts or obsolete inventory.

working capital ratio