The working capital needs of a firm are determined and influenced by various factors. A wide variety of considerations may affect the quantum of working capital required and these considerations may vary from time to time. The working capital needed at one point of time may not be good enough for some other situation. The determination of working capital requirement is a continuous process and must be undertaken on a regular basis in the light of the changing situations. Following are some of the factors which are relevant in determining the working capital needs of the firm:
1. Basic Nature of Business: The working capital requirement is closely related to the nature of the business of the firm. In case of a retail shop or a trading firm, the amount of working capital required is small enough. Most of the transactions are undertaken in cash and the length of the operating cycle is generally small. The trading concerns usually have smaller needs of working capital, however, in certain cases, large inventories of goods may be required and consequently the working capital may be large. In case of financial concerns (engaged in financial business) there may not be stock of goods but these firms do have to maintain sufficient liquidity all the times.
In case of manufacturing concerns, different types of production processes are performed. One unit of raw material introduced in the production schedule may take a long period before it is available as finished goods for sale. Funds are blocked not only in raw materials but also in labor expenses and overheads at every stage of production. The operating cycle is usually a longer one and sales are made generally on credit terms. So, in case of manufacturing concerns, there is a requirement of substantial working capital.
2. Business Cycle Fluctuations: Different phases of business cycle i.e., boom, recession, recovery etc. also affect the...