Days Working Capital
What it is:
How it works/Example:
Using the working capital formula and the information above, we can calculate that XYZ Company’s working capital is:
$160,000 - $65,000 = $95,000
Remember, the balance sheet is a snapshot of where things stand on the last day of the accounting period, so we need to multiply this $95,000 by 365 days.
Using this information and the formula above, we can calculate that Company XYZ's days working capital is:
Days Working Capital: ($95,000 x 365)/$25,000,000 = 1.387
Thus, we can say that Company XYZ only has about a day and a half worth of working capital available.
Why it matters:
working capital reflects the results of a host of company activities, including inventory management, debt management, collection and payments to suppliers.
Analysts are sensitive to decreases in days working capital; they generally suggest a company is becoming overleveraged, is struggling to maintain or grow , is paying bills too quickly, or is collecting too slowly. Increases in days working capital, on the other hand, generally suggest a company is possibly underleveraged, is experiencing high sales growth, is paying bills too slowly, or is collecting receivables quickly.
When not managed carefully, businesses can grow themselves out of cash by needing more working capital to fulfill expansion plans than they can generate in their current state. This usually occurs when a company has used cash to pay for everything, rather than seeking financing that would smooth out the payments and make cash available for other uses. As a result, days working capital shrinkage can cause many businesses to fail even though they may actually turn a . The most efficient companies invest excess working capital wisely to avoid these situations.
It is also important to understand that the timing of purchases, payment and collection policies, the likelihood that a company write off some past-due receivables, and even capital-raising efforts can generate different days working capital expectations for similar companies. Equally important is that days working capital needs vary from industry to industry, especially considering how different industries depend on expensive equipment, use different revenue methods, and approach other industry-specific matters. For these reasons, comparison of days working capital is generally most meaningful among companies within the same industry, and the definition of a "high" or "low" ratio should be made within this context.