You have choices in sources of working capital finance and in business credit solutions.
It is all about understanding the problem and knowing where to go for the solution, so let’s look at those two key issues. Understanding the problem is not something you have to read about, as a business owner and financial manager in Canada you live the working capital ‘ crunch ‘ or ‘ challenge ‘ every day .
Working capital is best understood as your operating capital, and you have investments in receivables, inventory, that’s where your investment currently lies, and your goal is to monetize those assets in the best manner possible.
The textbook definition doesn’t really help us out – our accountants and analysts tell us to go to the balance sheet, subtract current liabilities from current assets, and , voila! That’s working capital!
One of the biggest contradictions in working capital that you need to understand is the issues of assets, profit, liquidity and turnover. Once you have a handle of those the concept of working capital and, more importantly, the solutions start making more sense.
We hate those textbook definitions we referred to, but we will agree that the calculation we shared needs to be positive – you do need more inventory and receivables combined as measured against payables and other short term liabilities. How you manage those short term assets of A/R and inventory is what working capital is about.
Many business owners quickly realize that one of their liabilities, i.e. payables, is actually a large asset in measuring working capital and managing it. That is because if you can continue to convert inventory into A/R into cash, and slow down payables you are achieving working capital progress.
Is there a perfect way to measure your working capital needs and progress? One of those methods is to check into the ‘cash conversion cycle ‘– It’s a tool you can use to measure how low a dollar takes to flow through your company. It simply takes your inventory and receivable days outstanding, subtracts your payables days outstanding, and there is your final number. It’s a great long tool to understand your working capital progress over long periods of time.
In order to achieve solid working capital you need to increase turnover – that can be done by accelerating cash flow by borrowing against receivables, or selling receivables via a factoring process.
Your working capital solutions in Canada are limited, but they are very focused and real. Your can increase working capital today with no ones assistance simply by accelerating turnover of your assets such as receivables and inventory. If you feel your challenge is more of a long term nature a working capital term loan (if larger these loans are called subordinated debt) is the solution.
You can also generate unlimited working capital by entering into an asset based lending or working capital facility with a non bank finance firm. Don’t forget that term loans for working capital add debt and obligations to your balance sheet, so we often suggest to clients that the best solution is in fact monetizing your assets, not borrowing more – that where asset based lines of credit work best.
So whats working capital all about – it’s a case of understanding what it is, looking at how your firm performs in key metric areas of turnover, etc, and then choosing a solution that works best for your firm, whether that is long term in nature, or a bulge type facility that augments your daily cash needs. Speak to a trusted, credible and experience working capital business financing advisor to determine what choice is best for your firm.