Working Capital Management

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CHAPTER

14

Working Capital Management

I

n the chapters on ‘Planning an SSI Unit’ and ‘ Business Plan’, a discussion was made on the fixed capital and the working capital. Every business needs investment to procure fixed assets, which remain in use for a longer period. Money invested in these assets is called ‘Long term Funds’ or ‘Fixed Capital’. Business also needs funds for short-term purposes to finance current operations. Investment in short term assets like cash, inventories, debtors etc., is called ‘Short-term Funds’ or ‘Working Capital’. The ‘Working Capital’ can be categorised, as funds needed for carrying out day-to-day operations of the business smoothly. The management of the working capital is equally important as the management of long-term financial investment. Every running business needs working capital. Even a business which is fully equipped with all types of fixed assets required is bound to collapse without (i) adequate supply of raw materials for processing; (ii) cash to pay for wages, power and other costs; (iii) creating a stock of finished goods to feed the market demand regularly; and, (iv) the ability to grant credit to its customers. All these require working capital. Working capital is thus like the lifeblood of a business. The business will not be able to carry on day-to-day activities without the availability of adequate working capital. The diagram shown on the next page clarifies it: Working capital cycle involves conversions and rotation of various constituents/components of the working capital. Initially ‘cash’ is converted into raw materials. Subsequently, with the usage of fixed assets resulting in value additions, the raw materials get converted into work in process and then into finished goods. When sold on credit, the finished goods assume the form of debtors who give the business cash on due date. Thus ‘cash’ assumes its original form again at the end of one such working capital cycle but in the course it passes through various other forms of current assets too. This is how various components of current assets keep on changing their forms due to value addition. As a result,

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Cash

Creditors

Debtors Value Addition

Raw Material Value Addition

Working Expenses

Finished Goods

Work in Process

they rotate and business operations continue. Thus, the working capital cycle involves rotation of various constituents of the working capital. While managing the working capital, two characteristics of current assets should be kept in mind viz. (i) short life span, and (ii) swift transformation into other form of current asset. Each constituent of current asset has comparatively very short life span. Investment remains in a particular form of current asset for a short period. The life span of current assets depends upon the time required in the activities of procurement; production, sales and collection and degree of synchronisation among them. A very short life span of current assets results into swift transformation into other form of current assets for a running business. These characteristics have certain implications: i. Decision regarding management of the working capital has to be taken frequently and on a repeat basis. ii. The various components of the working capital are closely related and mismanagement of any one component adversely affects the other components too. iii. The difference between the present value and the book value of profit is not significant. The working capital has the following components, which are in several forms of current assets: Stock of Cash Stock of Raw Material 146 Chapter Fourteen

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Stock of Finished Goods Value of Debtors Miscellaneous current assets like short term investment loans & advances The working capital needs of a business are influenced by numerous factors. The...
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