Working Capital has been defined in several different ways. Some call it the lifeblood of a going concern. Others define it by describing it as the amount of seed money invested in a business for purposes of meeting the day-to-day needs of “a going concern.” Some others refer to Working Capital as the Net Worth of a business, using the formula:
Working Capital = Total Current Assets – Total Current Liabilities
Yet for those who have very little or no idea about Current Assets and Current Liabilities, Working Capital as a concept may be difficult to discern. .
Understanding the Concept of Working Capital Elements
A business is a “:going concern” if it is in constant operation to generate sales. As such, its Working Capital will keep the business running continuously. The value of which is determined by the Current Assets and Current Liabilities of an entity.
Available business funds used to support the selling activities and to purchases sellable goods are simply labeled as Cash. If the business is a trading concern, the sellable goods are called Merchandise Inventory. Inventory may have other descriptions, such as Raw Materials, Raw Materials in Process or Finished Goods, Inventory by any other name is a Current Asset since they will likely be sold and converted into Cash within a short period of time.
In some instances, goods are sold on credit; denoting that the sale will not immediately increase available Cash. in such cases, sales on credit be distinguished by being classified as Account Receivable. Ideally, Accounts Receivables are collected within a short period of time so that they will immediately become part of Current Assets. .
When a “going concern” is having a good run, more than enough cash may be amassed. If so, it is a good practice to place extra funds in short-term investment instruments such as stocks, or bonds. That way, even excess money can have a chance to grow while invested. Collectively, they are classified as Marketable Securities. They can easily be sold or converted into cash, they also form part of the Current Assets of the business.
Take note that for an asset other than Cash, to form part of the Working Capital of a business, it must be Current or one that can be easily liquidated in cash form.
Current Liabilities include trade credits that allow businesses to procure inventory and other business necessities on short-term bases. Credit purchases do not earn interest for as long as the obligations are settled according to the terms of credit, which can be as short as 10 days or 180 days at the most.
In cases when a business is unable to generate additional cash funds by way of sales, fund may be secured by way of short-term loans. Payment terms include interests, and amortized monthly up to 12 months. Inasmuch as there is a need to settle obligations periodically in less than a year, they are also classified as Current Liabilities.
Total Current Liabilities are then deducted from the Total Current Assets when determining how much Working Capital is being used by a business.