What is the working capital turnover ratio?

sales/working capital ratio

Tracking it is key, since you need to know that you have enough cash at your fingertips to cover your costs and drive your business forward. Positive working capital is always a good thing because it means that the business is about to meet its short-term obligations and bills with its liquid assets. It also means that the business should be able to finance some degree of growth without having to acquire and outside loan or raise funds with a new stock issuance. Starting a new business is tough, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to regularly evaluate the financial health of their company, especially during its first few years. For businesses that sell services rather than physical items, a higher turnover ratio (between 2.0 and 10.0) would be expected. This higher ratio would be common for these types of businesses because they do not have as much physical inventory as part of their operations, meaning their working capital is likely lower.

  • There must be an investment in accounts receivable and inventory, against which accounts payable are offset.
  • However, such comparisons are meaningless when working capital turns negative because the working capital turnover ratio then also turns negative.
  • If the business does not have enough cash to pay the bills as they become due, it will have to borrow more money, which will in turn increase its short-term obligations.
  • You can monitor the Working Capital Turnover Ratio to make sure you are optimizing use of the working capital.
  • The working capital turnover ratio compares a company’s net sales to its net working capital (NWC) in an effort to gauge its operating efficiency.

When a company does not have enough working capital to cover its obligations, financial insolvency can result and lead to legal troubles, liquidation of assets, and potential bankruptcy. Usually, a certain amount of money must be invested in a company to support its operations. This amount should always be maintained at a certain level, regardless of the change in sales level. When the company is undercapitalized, they might tighten up customer credit or decrease on-hand inventory levels to reduce the amount of cash invested in receivables and inventory. However, this can result in reduced sales when the company’s payment terms become unattractive to clients. Or customers might turn to better-stocked competitors to fulfill their orders more quickly.

Example of the Sales to Working Capital Ratio

This calculation provides a current snapshot of performance and financial health. Working capital is the amount of money a company has for use in its daily operations. This figure is derived by subtracting a company’s current liabilities from its current assets (calculated from its balance sheet). Working capital is further used in financial formulas such as the sales to working capital ratio, used to visualize how well a company uses its working capital. The average working capital is calculated as current assets minus current liabilities. You can find this by summing accounts receivable and inventories and deducting accounts payable.

sales/working capital ratio

The working capital ratio — or current ratio — is used to calculate a business’ ability to pay its current assets with its current liabilities. Let’s say a small business has $50,000 in current assets and $20,000 in current liabilities. Once net working capital is calculated, the business owner can take a deeper look at assets and liabilities to determine if any operational adjustments or improvements are needed. The net working capital formula is used to determine a business’ ability to pay its’ short-term financial obligations. Positive net working capital indicates there are enough current assets to cover current liabilities when they’re due.

Analysis and Interpretation

Therefore, this ratio measures how well the company is utilizing its working capital to generate revenue. Investors are able to understand how much cash is needed to support a given level of sales. The inventory turnover ratio details the efficiency with which inventory is managed. The ratio shows how well the business manages its inventory levels and how frequently they are replenished.

Options to reduce bad debt and free up working capital can include selling more higher-margin products or increasing margins across your offerings. Tightening up credit management processes and collecting payments faster is also effective. To combat bad debt, you can reduce inventory by recalibrating stock levels and using just-in-time logistics. One way to increase cash flow is to shorten your operating cycle – the process of converting money tied up in production and sales into cash. The longer this process takes, the higher the likelihood of non-payment and the greater impact to your working capital. This time delay between when your business pays money out (e.g. to suppliers) and when it receives money back (e.g. from sales) is known as the working capital or operating cycle.

Characteristics and Financial Ratios of the Wholesale Retail Industry

If Kay wants to apply for another loan, she should pay off some of the liabilities to lower her working capital ratio before she applies. With a business line of credit, it’s unlikely your business will have difficulty paying liabilities. As with most things, though, there is a lot of nuance to understanding all of the factors that go into a working capital turnover ratio. Let’s go through all the elements that a business would want to consider in its working capital turnover ratio interpretation and calculation. The Working Capital Turnover Ratio is calculated by dividing the company’s net annual sales by its average working capital. The Working Capital Turnover Ratio indicates how effective a company is at using its working capital.

For businesses like McDonald’s or others that sell lots of inexpensive products and go through inventory quickly, low turnover ratios (between 1.1 and 2.0) are common. The working capital turnover ratio is also referred to as net sales to working capital. The Sales to Working Capital ratio measures how well the company’s cash is being used to generate sales. Working Capital represents the major items typically closely tied to sales, and each item will directly affect this ratio.

Compare Companies in the Same Industry

It provides an overview of your business’ financial health, and it’s an excellent indicator of when adjustments in resources and operations should be made. If a business is working capital ratio drawing funds from a line of credit, the ratio might appear lower than expected. When using the working capital ratio, there are some important factors to keep in mind.

sales/working capital ratio

For accuracy purposes, this ratio always uses a company’s net sales amount rather than its gross sales, and receivables and inventory are always offset by any accounts payable amounts. It is important to note that the Sales to Working Capital Ratio should not be viewed in isolation. It should be considered alongside other financial ratios and metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of a company’s financial health. For example, a company may have a high Sales to Working Capital Ratio, but if it also has a high level of debt, it may not be as financially stable as it appears. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze multiple financial indicators before making any investment decisions.


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