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What Is Working Capital Management? - Definition & How To Calculate

Published on Oct 5, 2023

What Is Working Capital Management? - Definition & How To Calculate

Financial management is the umbrella under which processes like working capital management lie. It is the strategic planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of a company's financial resources to achieve its financial goals and objectives. It involves making informed decisions about acquiring, utilizing, and managing funds to maximize shareholder wealth and ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.

Working capital management being a subset of financial management, specifically deals with the management of a company's short-term assets and liabilities. In this article, we’ve explored the intricacies of working capital management and how to efficiently calculate it.

What Is Working Capital Management?

Working capital management, meaning a crucial financial concept that plays a pivotal role in the day-to-day operations and overall financial health of a business, pertains to the management and optimization of a company's short-term assets and liabilities to ensure smooth operations, financial stability, and efficient use of resources. Effective working capital management is essential for businesses of all sizes and industries, as it directly impacts their ability to meet short-term obligations, fund growth initiatives, and navigate economic fluctuations.

Understanding Working Capital

Working capital can be defined as the difference between a company's current assets and current liabilities. Current assets include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and short-term investments, while current liabilities encompass accounts payable, short-term loans, and other obligations due within a year. The formula to calculate working capital is:

Working Capital = Current Assets - Current Liabilities

A positive working capital indicates that a company has more current assets than current liabilities, providing it with a financial cushion to cover short-term obligations. Conversely, negative working capital suggests that a company may face challenges in paying off its short-term obligations using its available resources.

Calculating Working Capital

To calculate working capital, follow these steps:

1. Identify Current Assets

List all current assets, including cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and short-term investments.

2. Identify Current Liabilities

List all current liabilities, such as accounts payable, short-term loans, and other obligations due within a year.

3. Calculate Current Assets:

Add up the values of all current assets.

4. Calculate Current Liabilities:

Add up the values of all current liabilities.

5. Apply The Formula:

Subtract the total current liabilities from the total current assets:

Working Capital = Total Current Assets - Total Current Liabilities

A positive working capital indicates that the company has enough resources to cover its short-term obligations, while a negative working capital suggests potential financial strain.

Importance Of Working Capital Management

Efficient working capital management is essential for several reasons:

1. Liquidity:

Adequate working capital ensures that a company has enough resources to cover its day-to-day operational expenses, such as salaries, raw materials, and utility bills.

2. Smooth Operations:

Proper management of working capital prevents disruptions in operations by ensuring that the company can meet its obligations without delays.

3. Growth Opportunities:

A well-managed working capital position allows a company to seize growth opportunities by having the necessary funds available for expansion, research and development, or marketing initiatives.

4. Creditworthiness:

Lenders and investors often assess a company's working capital position to gauge its ability to repay loans and generate returns on investments.

5. Risk Management:

Effective working capital management helps mitigate the risk of financial distress or bankruptcy, especially during economic downturns.

Must Read: 8 Factors that Determine the Requirements of Working Capital

Objectives Of Working Capital Management

One of the primary objectives of working capital management is ensuring liquidity. Inadequate working capital within a business renders it incapable of fulfilling its obligations on time, resulting in delayed payments to employees, suppliers, and other credit providers. Such delays can result in lost employee loyalty, missed opportunities for supplier discounts, and a low credit rating.

Furthermore, the other fundamental objective of working capital management pertains to profitability. Capital tied up in working capital often yields minimal, if any, returns. Consequently, a company boasting substantial working capital may fail to attain the anticipated return on capital employed, a metric evaluated by investors (Operating profit ÷ (Total equity and long-term liabilities)).

Hence, when determining the optimal working capital threshold, a delicate balance must be struck between liquidity and profitability.


Working capital management is a critical aspect of financial management for any business. It involves the careful balance of current assets and liabilities to ensure liquidity, smooth operations, and the ability to seize growth opportunities. Proper working capital management empowers businesses to navigate economic challenges and achieve long-term success.

SMFG India Credit offers different ways to help you manage your working capital. Our tailored working capital loans are designed to help you effectively manage the working capital you need to run your business.

We offer application process that is 100% online business loans starting from INR 50,000 up to INR 75,00,000*. For your convenience, SMFG India Credit provides flexible tenures spanning from 12 to 48 months.

* Please note that this article is for your knowledge only. Loans are disbursed at the sole discretion of SMFG India Credit. Final approval, loan terms, disbursal process, foreclosure charges and foreclosure process will be subject to SMFG India Credit's policy at the time of loan application. If you wish to know more about our products and services, please contact us

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