how to calculate working capital ratio

She is a Business Content writer and Management contributor at, where she contributes a business article weekly. She has over 2 years of experience in writing about accounting, finance, and business. Working capital is the leftover amount after paying all current obligations.

  • If so, these receivables cannot be considered current assets, and so should be excluded from the calculation.
  • A company may have a large amount invested in loans to employees, for which there may be lengthy repayment terms.
  • Working capital represents a company’s ability to pay its current liabilities with its current assets.
  • A working capital ratio of between 1.5 and 2 indicates solid financial stability, and usually indicates that assets are being used properly.
  • It’s calculated by dividing the average total accounts receivable during a period by the total net credit sales and multiplying the result by the number of days in the period.

For more information about working capital and the current ratio, try out the calculator tool and learn more about applying the current ratio to your business. Current assets include all assets that are expected to be converted to cash within one year. Accounts receivable is a perfect example of this, whereas a van is a long-term asset. By the same token, larger items like a company van would be considered an asset, even if the business is still paying down a loan for it.

Example of the Working Capital Ratio

It implies that the available short-term assets are not enough to pay off the short-term debts. To calculate working capital, subtract a company’s current liabilities from its current assets. Both figures can found in the publicly disclosed financial statements for public companies, though this information may not be readily available for private companies. Working capital estimates are derived from the array of assets and liabilities on a corporatebalance sheet.

how to calculate working capital ratio

For instance, a working capital ratio of less than one indicates that your business is facing severe liquidity issues and does not have enough current assets to pay current working capital ratio formula liabilities. We created a current ratio calculator where you can easily plug in your own current assets and liabilities from past balance sheets to find this ratio.

Working Capital Ratio Video

As this table shows, if the liabilities of a company increase, then the working capital ratio decreases. Conversely, if the liabilities of a company decrease, then the working capital ratio increases. Likewise, if the assets of a company increase, then the working capital ratio increases, but if the assets of a company decrease, then the working capital ratio decreases. As we’ve seen, the major working capital items are fundamentally tied to the core operating performance, and forecasting working capital is simply a process of mechanically linking these relationships. We describe the forecasting mechanics of working capital items in detail in our balance sheet projections guide. The section above is meant to describe the moving parts that make up working capital and highlights why these items are often described together as working capital. While each component is important individually, together they comprise the operating cycle for a business, and thus must be analyzed both together and individually.

  • The current ratio helps business owners answer exactly these questions—hopefully before they find themselves in a cash flow pinch.
  • While the above formula and example are the most standard definition of working capital, there are other more focused definitions.
  • So as an efficiency ratio, firms should ensure that they can know the optimum inventory level to keep to minimize the inventory-related costs such as storage and maintenance.
  • Current assets are all assets that are expected to be converted to cash within one year.
  • Working capital is a measure of a company’s liquidity and short-term financial health.
  • Noodle’s negative working capital balance could be good, bad or something in between.

That’s because a company’s current liabilities and current assets are based on a rolling 12-month period and themselves change over time. As an entrepreneur, it matters to you almost daily because it’s a vital barometer of your company’s financial health. This ratio can also help you predict upcoming cash flow problems and even bankruptcy.


For example, only under extreme circumstances would a company consider using all of its working capital to pay off debt. Once the company’s working capital is depleted, it has no more funding to operate and would likely be forced into bankruptcy. Working capital is the difference between current assets and current liabilities, while the net working capital calculation compares current assets and current liabilities. Current liabilities refer to those debts that the business must pay within one year.

  • Current assets and liabilities are always stated first on financial statements and then followed by long-term assets and liabilities.
  • Simply put, Working Capital is the leftover amount after paying all the business operating expenses.
  • Companies, like Wal-Mart, are able to survive with a negative working capital because they turn their inventory over so quickly; they are able to meet their short-term obligations.
  • Current liabilities are best paid with current assets like cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities because these assets can be converted into cash much quicker than fixed assets.

However, if the ratio is extremely high — over 80 percent — it could mean that the business doesn’t have enough capital to support expansion and sales growth. A very high ratio also indicates that the business is very likely to become insolvent in the near future.

Related Terms

To spot an extremely high turnover ratio, you need to compare the ratio for your company with other businesses in the same industry and scale. Negative values show a company with more liabilities than assets, while higher numbers indicate a slow collection process, where money is tied up elsewhere and not available to pay current liabilities. In the IMI example, the high working capital ratio might indicate that IMI has too much inventory or is not investing any excess cash.

Working Capital: Formula, Components, and Limitations – Investopedia

Working Capital: Formula, Components, and Limitations.

Posted: Sun, 26 Mar 2017 08:17:41 GMT [source]