Some business owners assume that working capital is the amount of money they have or revenue they generate, but this isn’t necessarily true. Working capital can best be described as the amount of money and assets a business has minus its debt and liabilities. To learn more about working capital and how it pertains to accounting, keep reading.
As explained above, working capital is the amount of assets a business has minus its liabilities. If a business has $100,00 of assets — cash, outstanding invoices, property, etc. — and $30,000 of debt, for instance, it’s working capital is $70,000. The $30,000 worth of debt is subtracted from the business’s $100,000 worth of assets; thus, leaving $70,000 of working capital.
Why Working Capital is Important
So, for what reasons do business owners need to keep track of their working capital? For starters, it allows business owners to see whether or not they can cover short-term liabilities, such as overhead and payroll. If a business has a low working capital, it may struggle to cover short-term expenses like these. On the other hand, a high working capital indicates the business is financial stable and can easily cover these expenses.
Furthermore, lenders often scrutinize a business’s cashflow and working capital when the business applies for a loan. While lenders use a variety of criteria to determine whether to approve or deny a business’s loan applicant, there’s a great deal of emphasis placed on working capital — and for good reason. If a business has a low or even negative working capital (see below), it may struggle to pay back the loan. This doesn’t necessarily mean the lender will reject the business’s loan application; however, they may charge higher interest rates and/or require the use of collateral.
Negative Working Capital
Let’s hope his doesn’t occur with your business, but there are times when a business’s liabilities may exceed its assets. Known as negative working capital, this indicates the business is struggling financially and may not be able to pay its short-term debt and liabilities. If a business’s debt and liabilities exceed its total assets, the business has negative working capital.
To recap, working capital is a measure of a company’s short-term financial health. It uses the formula of assets minus liabilities, revealing its working capital. Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of working capital in accounting.
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