financial business woman pressing a white calculator, she uses a calculator to calculate the numbers in the company's financial documents that employees in the department create as meeting documents.

Working capital is the lifeblood of any business. It is the difference between a company’s current assets and its current liabilities, and it represents the funds available for day-to-day operations. A healthy working capital is essential for a company’s financial stability and growth. However, many businesses struggle with managing their working capital effectively. In this article, we will discuss proven methods for enhancing working capital and improving the financial health of your business.

What is Working Capital?

Before we dive into the methods for enhancing working capital, let’s first define what it is. Working capital is the amount of money a company has available to cover its short-term expenses and obligations. It is calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Current assets include cash, accounts receivable, and inventory, while current liabilities include accounts payable, short-term debt, and other expenses due within a year.

Working capital is crucial for a company’s day-to-day operations, as it allows them to pay for expenses such as payroll, rent, and inventory. It also provides a cushion for unexpected expenses and allows a company to take advantage of growth opportunities.

Why is Working Capital Important?

Working capital is important for several reasons. First, it ensures that a company can meet its short-term financial obligations. Without enough working capital, a company may struggle to pay its bills, leading to late payments, penalties, and damaged relationships with suppliers.

Second, working capital is a measure of a company’s financial health. A positive working capital indicates that a company has enough assets to cover its short-term liabilities, while a negative working capital may signal financial distress.

Finally, working capital is essential for growth. A company with a healthy working capital can take advantage of growth opportunities, such as expanding into new markets, investing in new equipment, or hiring more employees.

RELATED: How Much Working Capital Does a Business Need?

How to Improve Working Capital

Now that we understand the importance of working capital let’s discuss some proven methods for enhancing it.

1. Improve Cash Flow Management

Cash flow management is crucial for maintaining a healthy working capital. A company’s cash flow is the movement of money in and out of the business. To improve working capital, a company must focus on increasing cash inflows and reducing cash outflows.

To increase cash inflows, a company can implement strategies such as offering discounts for early payments, negotiating better payment terms with customers, and improving collections processes. On the other hand, to reduce cash outflows, a company can negotiate longer payment terms with suppliers, optimize inventory levels, and cut unnecessary expenses.

2. Optimize Inventory Management

Inventory management is another critical aspect of working capital management. Excess inventory ties up cash and can lead to obsolescence and waste. On the other hand, insufficient inventory can result in lost sales and damaged customer relationships.

To optimize inventory levels, a company can implement strategies such as forecasting demand accurately, negotiating better terms with suppliers, and implementing just-in-time inventory management.

3. Negotiate Better Payment Terms

Negotiating better payment terms with suppliers can have a significant impact on a company’s working capital. Longer payment terms mean that a company can hold onto its cash for a longer period, improving its cash flow and working capital.

To negotiate better payment terms, a company can offer to pay early in exchange for discounts, negotiate longer payment terms, or explore alternative financing options such as trade credit or supply chain financing.

RELATED: The Impact of Poor Cash Flow Management on Your Business

4. Implement Technology Solutions

Technology can play a significant role in enhancing working capital. By automating processes and streamlining operations, technology can help a company reduce costs, improve efficiency, and free up cash for working capital.

For example, implementing an electronic invoicing system can speed up the payment process and reduce the time it takes to collect payments. Similarly, using inventory management software can help a company optimize inventory levels and reduce waste.

5. Improve Days of Working Capital

One of the key metrics for evaluating a company’s performance is the days of working capital. This metric measures the number of days a company can operate using its current working capital.

To improve days of working capital, business owners can implement strategies such as improving cash flow management, optimizing inventory levels, resolving open invoices and negotiating better payment terms. They can also use financial management tools to analyze their company’s performance and identify areas for improvement.

RELATED: Top Strategies to Resolve Open Invoices

Real-World Examples of Working Capital Improvement

Let’s look at some real-world examples of companies that have successfully improved their working capital.


In 2012, Apple had a working capital of $29.3 billion, which was significantly higher than its competitors. To improve its working capital, Apple implemented several strategies, including optimizing inventory levels, negotiating better payment terms with suppliers, and improving cash flow management.

As a result, Apple was able to reduce its working capital to $16.3 billion in 2013, freeing up $13 billion in cash for other investments.


In 2006, Ford was struggling with a negative working capital of $6.7 billion. To improve its financial health, Ford implemented a working capital improvement program, which included optimizing inventory levels, improving cash flow management, and negotiating better payment terms with suppliers.

As a result, Ford was able to reduce its working capital deficit to $1.5 billion in 2007, a significant improvement that helped the company weather the 2008 financial crisis.

The Bottom Line

Working capital is a critical aspect of a company’s financial health. By implementing proven methods for enhancing working capital, businesses can improve their cash flow, optimize inventory levels, and negotiate better payment terms, leading to a healthier and more successful business. If you are a business owner looking to improve your company’s financial health, these strategies can help you achieve your goals.

Improve Your Company’s Cash Flow

Whether your company is experiencing rapid growth that’s becoming challenging to manage, or if you’re dealing with delayed client payments, Universal Funding is here to support your expanding business. Reach out to Universal Funding today by calling (800) 405-6035 or by filling out our rate request form to discover how we can enhance your company’s cash flow.

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