Your Quick Guide To Working Capital Ratio

Most businesses go bankrupt not because they’re not making profits but because they run dry of cash when they need it. Hence, meeting their current payment obligations becomes challenging. However, an organization can run out of cash due to increasing capital requirements for new investments as they expand. This can cause an otherwise promisinb business to collapse because bills can’t be paid.

Working capital ratio(NWC) is a fundamental financial ratio, and it provides valuable information about a business’s short-term financial health and operating efficiency. By definition, it’s the sum of an entity’s current assets (cash, inventories and receivables) and the current liabilities (mortgage, bank loans and short-term debts).

This quick guide focuses on how to calculate the working capital ratio to determine a company’s liquidity. It will further provide the clearest definition and practical meaning for business.

1. Understanding Working Capital Ratio

A business can determine its growth by gauging its financial ability to pay for liabilities as they occur. Focusing on profit alone doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy balance sheet. You need to manage your working capital, as it impacts your business’s success.

The working capital ratio, or current ratio, is a measure of how the company manages its short-term cash flow needs based on its current fund accessibility and short-term financial obligations. It is calculated by dividing the sum of current assets by current liabilities. The formula is as follows:

Working Capital=Current Assets divided by Current Liabilities

Current assets cover invoices for bills up to their due dates and goods inventory in stores with a one-year expectation of liquidation. As compared, short-term unpaid accounts, immediate expenses, and short-term debt obligations that are supposed to be cleared within a year are categorized into the current liabilities category. The working capital ratio is one of the main tools that allows business analysts to understand a company’s operation and financial stability. It is commonly used as a key indicator to gauge the business’s well-being.

Good Working Ratio

The working capital ratio is a leverage that determines the company’s liquidity and financial strength. A ratio greater than 1 indicates that current assets are more than current liabilities, thus showing that the company has a good liquidity position. However, some believe a good working capital ratio should be between 1.5 and 2, which suggests a company is on very solid ground. This is a sign that it has enough money to settle liabilities in a quick time frame if needed.

Negative Working Ratio

On the other hand, a working capital ratio of less than 1 indicates that the company may be experiencing liquidity problems, which means the current liabilities exceed the current assets. Although this ratio may not necessarily imply financial problems, a thorough review of cash management and the firm’s financial stability is essential.

Therefore, you should increase revenues and cut expenses or both to avoid liquidity issues. Review where you can cut back or seek external sources of funding, but first consider your billing cycle and customer payments. You might suggest altering payment terms, such as receiving an up-front portion of the money or asking for a letter of credit to use as short-term funding collateral. An exception to this option is when negative working capital arises in businesses that generate cash quickly and can sell products to their customers before paying their suppliers.

Take note that if you opt to increase production to increase revenue, you will need more cash. This is the hidden danger that growth presents.

2. Interpreting Working Capital Ratio

In order to properly evaluate the capital’s percentage, data about industry standards, historical data and company specificity are very important. If the business has a short sales cycle, for instance, retail, production and so on, it will employ the appropriate working capital ratio to achieve its operational goals.

Accordingly, processing industries are able to utilize smaller amounts of working capital through shorter cash conversion cycles, which is a factor of reverse relation. You can get the background for analysis through a comparison process of assessing the company’s working capital ratio against its peers’ figures, including its previous performance.

A low liquidity ratio may suggest that the business has experienced problems maintaining liquid assets or struggling with working capital management. On the other hand, a ratio that is close to one may demonstrate that the company has no liquidity issues or is underutilizing its financial resources.

3. Practical Implications for Businesses

A business should sustain its finances by maintaining a high working capital ratio, and protecting the company against any operational setbacks. If the ratio is greater than 3, it suggests that a company may not be using its assets effectively to generate future growth. Therefore, you should convert them to develop other projects to yield more profit. Too little cash on hand is a problem, but so is too much.

A ratio that is too high could also indicate the possibility for a company to face liquidity-related problems. Thus, the firm won’t be able to drive growth or deal with economic problems. Valuable enough, the fine-tuned balancing act compels the creation and implementation of skillful working capital strategies. These utilize accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR), prudent borrowing and constant rationalization of inventory levels to minimize risks. Companies need to coordinate their current financing activity with their fundamental business mission and external market situation to benefit from financial flexibility and secure sustainable growth.


The working capital ratio is a significant financial indicator that gauges a company’s liquidity program and financial strength. You can calculate the working capital by measuring its current assets to its current liabilities. While a higher working capital ratio represents a healthy financial position of the business, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s successful. Therefore, considering other factors to get a realistic position in the company is crucial.