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7 Benefits of Using Working Capital to Finance Your Small Business

Written by Banks Editorial Team

Updated April 14, 2024​

5 min. read​

Working capital is a crucial aspect of your business that reflects its efficiency and short-term financial health. It represents the operating liquidity available to your organization, allowing you to meet current, short-term obligations. To ensure your working capital serves your business well, it’s vital to understand its components and how to manage it effectively.

The backbone of working capital is its formula, calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. In essence, this equation tells you the short-term liquid assets at your disposal after all short-term liabilities have been paid off. By monitoring your working capital, you can gauge your company’s financial stability and make informed decisions on growth and sustainability.

As you delve deeper into the world of working capital, you’ll come across concepts such as the working capital ratio or current ratio, which is a measure of your company’s ability to pay off short-term obligations. Analyzing this ratio, along with other financial analytics and cash flow management strategies, will equip you with the knowledge needed to keep your business running smoothly and responsibly.

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What is Working Capital?

In simple terms, working capital it’s the money available to meet your current, short-term obligations. To comprehend its importance in your business operations, you’ll need to understand how working capital is calculated along with its various components.

How Do You Calculate Working Capital

To calculate working capital, you need to subtract your current liabilities from your current assets. Here’s the formula:

Working Capital = Current Assets – Current Liabilities

Current assets are liquid assets that can be quickly converted into cash within one year, such as cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and marketable securities. On the other hand, current liabilities are short-term debts or obligations that need to be paid within one year, including accounts payable, short-term debt, and accrued expenses.

A key measure related to working capital is the current ratio. It’s calculated by dividing your current assets by your current liabilities:

Current Ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities

A current ratio greater than 1 generally indicates that your company has adequate working capital to pay off its short-term debt and cover day-to-day operations. A ratio of less than 1 means your company isn’t generating enough cash flow to pay down the debts due in the coming year.

Key components to consider for effective working capital management involve managing cash flow, inventory, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.

  • Cash Flow: Ensure regular monitoring of cash inflows and outflows to maintain a healthy cash balance and forecast potential shortfalls.
  • Inventory: Keep inventory levels optimal to prevent tying up too much capital in goods and ensure a sufficient supply to meet customers’ demands.
  • Accounts Receivable: Closely track the customers’ accounts and follow up on late payments to reduce the risk of bad debts and maintain a steady cash inflow.
  • Accounts Payable: Manage payments to suppliers and negotiate favorable credit terms to maximize the cash at your disposal without damaging relationships with vendors.
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Components of Working Capital

Here’s a breakdown of the two components of working capital:

Current Assets

Current assets are the resources your company has that can be converted into cash within a year. These assets are crucial for day-to-day operations and maintaining liquidity. Major components of current assets include:

  • Cash and cash equivalents: This refers to actual cash and easily convertible securities or investments, such as money market accounts or certificates of deposit.
  • Accounts receivable: This is the money owed to your company by customers who have purchased goods or services on credit.
  • Inventory: This represents the raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods in your company’s possession that can be sold to generate revenue.

Keep in mind that maintaining adequate levels of current assets is essential for running a successful business and ensuring you can meet your short-term financial obligations.

Current Liabilities

Current liabilities are your company’s financial obligations that are due within one year. Therefore, it is vital to manage current liabilities effectively to avoid financial setbacks. Key components of current liabilities include:

  • Short-term debt: This consists of short-term loans and outstanding credit lines that need to be repaid within the year.
  • Accounts payable: This is the money your company owes to suppliers and vendors for goods and services purchased on credit.
  • Accrued expenses: These are liabilities that have been incurred by your company but not yet paid, such as wages and taxes.

Proper management of current liabilities will help you maintain your company’s cash flow and ensure that you can meet your short-term obligations. Keeping a healthy balance between current assets and current liabilities is crucial for your business’s financial stability.

7 Benefits Of Using Working Capital To Finance Your Small Business

Below, you’ll find seven advantages of using working capital to help fund your small business.

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1. Fund Short-term Expenses

Working capital can help you cover your business’s short-term expenses, such as inventory, payroll, and day-to-day operating expenses. This is essential for maintaining smooth operations, as it ensures financial stability and prevents any disruptions in cash flow. Utilizing working capital effectively can help reduce financial stress and allow you to focus on growing your business. Consider a short-term business loan if you need working capital to cover short-term expenses.

2. Easy Application and Funding

Applying for working capital financing is often more straightforward and faster than other types of loans. Many lenders have simplified processes, allowing for quicker approval and disbursement of funds. This means that you can access the necessary funds quickly to meet your business’s immediate needs.

3. Maintain Business Cash Flow

Having an adequate cash flow is crucial for your business, as it enables you to pay employees, vendors, and other expenses on time. In addition, by using working capital, you can ensure that your cash flow remains positive, allowing you to execute decisions and make investments more efficiently.

4. May Eliminate the Need for Collateral

Some working capital loans are unsecured, meaning that they do not require collateral. This can be beneficial for your business, as it allows you to access funds without having to pledge any of your assets. However, you should be aware that unsecured loans often come with higher interest rates.

5. You Don’t Have to Give Up Equity

Using working capital financing allows your business to access funds without giving up any ownership. This means that you can retain full control of your company, and any profit generated will remain in your hands.

6. Helps During Slow Seasons and Financial Hardships

Working capital can provide a financial cushion during slow seasons or unexpected financial hardships, ensuring that your business can continue to operate. This is especially critical for seasonal businesses or those facing temporary cash flow issues.

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7. Flexible Repayment Schedules

Working capital loans often come with flexible repayment schedules, which can be tailored to suit your business’s unique financial situation. This makes it easier for you to manage repayments and reduce the financial burden on your business.

Conclusion

In your pursuit of understanding working capital, it’s essential to recognize its significance in maintaining your company’s operational efficiency and short-term financial health. With efficient working capital management, you can ensure smooth operations and improve your company’s overall performance.

As you manage your working capital, focus on balancing the movements of five main items:

  • Cash
  • Trade receivables
  • Trade payables
  • Short-term financing
  • Inventory

By maintaining adequate levels of cash, you can address ordinary or unexpected needs without holding excessive funds. Consider monitoring your trade receivables and payables closely to prevent any potential cash flow issues. Additionally, inventory management is vital to avoid tying up funds in unproductive assets.

When handling working capital for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), be aware of the unique challenges these companies may face, especially in developing economies like Oman, where SMEs contribute significantly to economic and social development.

Remember that effective management of working capital is a vital aspect of ensuring your company’s financial success. By striking the right balance, you’ll optimize daily operations and secure a strong foundation for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is working capital, and how does it work?

To calculate working capital, you’ll need to understand its basic components: current assets and current liabilities. Working capital measures your company’s short-term financial health and efficiency by subtracting your current liabilities from your current assets.
Current assets are the resources that are either cash or can be converted to cash within a year. They include cash and cash equivalents, marketable securities, accounts receivable, inventory and prepaid expenses.
To properly assess your current assets, make sure to list all the above items and their respective values.
On the other hand, your current liabilities are the financial obligations that your company needs to fulfill within a year. They include: accounts payable, short-term debt, accrued expenses (like wages and taxes) and the current portion of long-term debt
Similar to calculating current assets, list all the current liabilities and their respective values.
Now, you can calculate your working capital using the following formula:
Working Capital = Current Assets – Current Liabilities

What does the working capital ratio indicate about a company’s financial position or liquidity?

Additionally, consider calculating the working capital ratio to evaluate your company’s liquidity. The working capital ratio is simply the proportion of current assets to current liabilities, expressed as:
Working Capital Ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities
A working capital ratio between 1.2 and 2.0 is generally considered healthy, as it indicates that your company can efficiently use its assets to cover short-term liabilities. A ratio below 1 means that your company may struggle to pay its obligations in the coming year.
Remember to use accurate data to determine your working capital and working capital ratio, and regularly monitor them to ensure your company maintains a financially healthy position.

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