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Cash is King
A guide on working capital Management.
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INTRODUCTION TO WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT.1
WHAT IS WORKING CAPITAL?2
WORKING CAPITAL CYCLE.3
ESSENTIALS OF GOOD WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT.4
REQUIREMENTS OF THE BOARD & THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT.
TEAM
5
CONCLUSIONS.6
EXPLANATIONS “DISCONNECT P&L & CASH”.7
Exclusive Business Insight from M.Simpson.
You can lose money over a long period of time but you only run out of cash ONCE.
Understand the disconnect between your accounting profit and cash.
Accounting policies IMPACT on the disconnect, they can flatter your operational performance
yet often hide a serious deterioration in cash.
M Simpson Associates will review the DETAIL of your Business and advise on best practice
Working Capital Management.
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
• Are you concerned about lack of cash?
• Do your management understand the difference between accounting profit and cash?
• Are “Profit Centre Managers” aware of the importance of cash management?
Most businesses spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about cash at the
expense of their business and the opportunities available to them
Cash management and planning for growth are essential to a company’s survival, as
Benjamin Franklin stated “Failure to plan is planning to fail” an old adage more
relevant today than ever!
M Simpson Associates have Real Experience gained over 3 decades in many
varied industry sectors. Real Experience in the “Whole Life Cycle of a
Business” Practical Experience gained through a Real “Hands on Approach” in
Start-Up – Growth - Consolidation – and Turnaround situations.
As a Small Business Owner, Managing Director, Finance Director & Consultant I
have witnessed periods of great & enjoyable success and unfortunate failure.
MSAL appreciate the difficulties of both the SME owner and the CEO of an
International Group.
Working Capital Management is the “prevention” that many businesses fail to
appreciate until it is too late. It is possible to correct poor working capital
management practices at any stage in a company’s life cycle but the sooner the
better. Solutions adopted too late are costly and may not be enough to allow a
sustainable solution.
For a company to succeed in the vital area of Working Capital Management the Owner(s) /
Board must adopt a clear strategy for Working Capital, Managers need Training, Targets need
to be set, Results (KPI’s) must be communicated, Reviews should be undertaken of all
Business activities that impact on Cash and the Visibility and Focus must be maintained.
Cash Management should be of Strategic Importance to all Businesses and the Management
need to understand how their decisions may impact on efficient Cash Management.
With over 30 years’ experience managing working capital in varied industries with multiple
income streams both in the UK and Internationally I hope this publication helps your
organisation.
ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT.
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
All businesses need cash to survive.
Cash is needed to:
• Invest in fixed assets
• Pay suppliers and employees
• Fund overheads and other fixed costs
• Pay tax due to the Government
Nearly all businesses use much of their cash resources to finance investment
in “working capital” Managing working capital effectively is, therefore, a vital
part of making sure the business has enough cash to continue.
www.planware.org
Working capital is the cash needed to pay for the day to day operation of the
business.
Definition of Working Capital:
Current assets
=
Assets of the business held in cash form (e.g.at the bank) or that that can quickly be
turned into cash (Stocks, Debtors, Cash, Investments)
Less
Current liabilities
=
Money owed by a business which will need to be paid in the next 12 months (Trade
Creditors, Taxation, Dividends, Short-term Loans).
The working capital cycle is:
The period of time between the points at which cash is first spent on the production
of a product and the final collection of cash from a customer
The Key to Managing Working Capital is to reduce the time between first expending
cash and receiving payment for Goods and Services provided
Warning: a profitable business can fail if it runs out of cash.
It is often said, you can lose money for some time, but you can only run out of
cash once.
Overtrading happens when a business tries to do too much, too quickly with too
little long-term capital
Those that ignore the signs of overtrading do so at their peril.
WHAT IS WORKING CAPITAL? 2
INTRODUCTION TO WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT 1
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
The Key to Managing Working Capital is to reduce the time between first expending
cash and receiving payment for Goods and Services supplied.
www.tutor2u.net
Cash flows in a cycle into, around and out of a business. It is the business's life blood
and every manager's primary task is to help keep it flowing and to use the cashflow
to generate profits. If a business is operating profitably, then it should, in theory,
generate cash surpluses. If it doesn't generate surpluses, the business will eventually
run out of cash and eventually failure is inevitable.
The faster a business expands the more cash it will need for working capital and
investment. The cheapest and best sources of cash exist as working capital right
within business. Good management of working capital will generate cash, will help
improve profits and reduce risks. Bear in mind that the cost of providing credit to
customers and holding stocks can represent a substantial proportion of a firm's total
profits.
There are two elements in the business cycle that absorb cash - Inventory (stocks and
work-in-progress) and Receivables (debtors owing you money). The main sources of
cash are Payables (your creditors) and Equity and Loans.
  Raw  Materials  ordered  
from  suppliers  and  put  
into  stock  awai5ng  
produc5on.  Cash  is  used  
up  to  finance  stocks  (by  
paying  the  suppliers)
More  cash  is  used  to  
finance  the  produc5on  
process  –  employ  staff,  
run  the  factory  and  other  
support  opera5ons
More  cash  is  used  up  to  
store  finished  products  
and  distribute  them  to  the  
intended  markets.  Trade  
customers  are  allowed  to  
buy  now  and  pay  later  –  so  
debtors  increase”
Finally  the  product  starts  
to  generate  cash  –  as  
customers  pay  the  
amounts  they  owe.  Then  
the  whole  process  starts  
again
WORKING CAPITAL CYCLE 3
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
Each component of working capital (namely inventory, receivables and payables) has
two dimensions TIME and MONEY.
When it comes to managing working capital - TIME IS MONEY. If you can get money
to move faster around the cycle (e.g. collect monies due from debtors more
quickly) or reduce the amount of money tied up (e.g. reduce inventory levels
relative to sales), the business will generate more cash or it will need to borrow less
money to fund working capital. As a consequence, you could reduce the cost of bank
interest or you'll have additional free money available to support additional sales
growth or investment. Similarly, if you can negotiate improved terms with
suppliers e.g. get longer credit or an increased credit limit; you effectively create free
finance to help fund future sales.
It can be tempting to pay cash, if available, for fixed assets e.g. computers, plant,
vehicles etc. If you do pay cash, remember that this is no longer available for working
capital. Therefore, if cash is tight, consider other ways of financing capital investment
- loans, equity, leasing etc. Similarly, if you pay dividends or increase drawings,
liquidity will be removed from the business.
More businesses fail for lack of cash than for want of profit.
Sources of additional working capital include the following:
• Existing cash reserves
• Profits (when you secure it as cash!)
• Payables (credit from suppliers)
• New equity or loans from shareholders
• Bank overdrafts or lines of credit
• Long-term loans
If you have insufficient working capital and try to increase sales, you can easily over-
stretch the financial resources of the business. This is called overtrading. Early
warning signs include:
• Pressure on existing cash
• Exceptional cash generating activities e.g. offering high discounts for early
cash payment
• Bank overdraft exceeds authorized limit
• Seeking greater overdrafts or lines of credit
• Part-paying suppliers or other creditors
• Paying bills in cash to secure additional supplies
• Management pre-occupation with surviving rather than managing
• Frequent short-term emergency requests to the bank (to help pay wages,
pending receipt of a cheque).
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
• It does not matter how much Revenue you recognise or how many assets
you have on your books at “Historic” costs, the only businesses that
survive are those that generate enough cash to keep their operations
going.
• Cash management is NOT about accounting policies & unlike revenue
recognition it is REAL and harder to “manipulate”
• It is relatively easy to obtain short term savings in Working Capital by:-
• Slowing down payments to Suppliers
• Speeding up Collections from Customers
• Starving Inventory
It will seriously harm your reputation if accountants simply “manipulate” supplier
payments to manage cash over long periods of time, similarly starving inventory
will eventually harm your customer service, managing working capital efficiently
impacts on the entire organisation & policies adopted need the cooperation of all
concerned (both operational & finance)
• Good training, processes & procedures and Good KPI’S will deliver long
term improvements
• Contract negotiation including terms for payment, Inventory management,
invoicing & credit control all need to be robust
• Long term gains demand a “sustained” effort & “systematic” approach
• Effective working capital management requires the cooperation of every
part of the organisation including Sales, Finance, Operations and in
particular the “Operational Directors”
• World class businesses will have their decision makers in every
department not simply achieving excellence in the area they control but
acting wisely as a steward of company cash
• A cash focus involves the transformation of mind-sets at every level of the
organisation (“Culture Change”), this cultural change will take time to
achieve and will require a constant management.
ESSENTIALS OF GOOD WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT 4
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
• Senior Management need to focus on Working Capital & make it a Priority
• Improving Working Capital requires a “Cultural” shift and a change of focus &
accountability that begins at the top and cascades down
• A Root & Branch review of all processes required (Credit Control, Contract
billing, Supply Chain & Inventory management)
• While Management interest is not enough to succeed a lack of interest will
make it fail
• Management incentives should be linked with meeting certain Working
Capital targets on a sustained basis
• It is Essential targets exist for all business units(profit centres) & central
functions (Finance, Supply Chain etc), they need to be understood, measured
and reported upon
• Employees should be rewarded based on their efficiency of Working Capital
use where possible, incentives designed to reduce the working capital cycle
will have a positive impact on cash flows and train key management the
importance of managing their respective component of working capital for the
greater good of the business.
• It is not acceptable to exclude Creditors & Inventory from Working Capital
management simply because of a weak supply chain – All areas of working
capital require measurement in order to better manage cash and ensure a
cash culture exists throughout, effective management of Inventory & better
negotiation of supplier terms can relieve pressure on short term cash
requirements.
• In companies with weak working capital practices customers may be given
the same terms regardless of their strategic importance. Credit may be
granted to low value / high risk customers, a review of customer terms and
the enforcement of a strict credit control policy can lead to significant release
of “free cash”
• Working Capital Management requires a day to day focus; a business must
ensure visibility & Good KPI measures exist & are communicated throughout
the senior management team.
• The key to success is FOCUS by the senior management, TARGETS must
be set and agreed, VISIBILITY through relevant timely reporting,
COMMUNICATION of results to all involved, TRAINING throughout the entire
organisation, GOOD PROCEDURES set in place to control the elements of
Working Capital
• Negotiate terms, , get invoicing right, improve invoice phasing, ensure credit
control procedures and credit risk management is robust
• Repeat the process and REMAIN FOCUSED
REQUIREMENTS OF THE BOARD & THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT
TEAM
5
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
• Departments will have conflicting goals (eg. Sales & Finance over Credit)
and a company’s policies need to be clear & consistent to prevent harmful
“in-fighting”
• Excellent Working Capital Management is not a trick of accounting; it is a
process that demands on-going FOCUS, it is REAL & bad practice will
result in BUSINESS FAILURE.
• Working Capital Management requires a DAILY FOCUS, it is not a
strategic decision you take once, to be effective the cooperation of the
entire organisation is required and the CONSISTANT support of the
BOARD of Directors
• Companies that strive to improve their Working Capital Management are
those that take a structured “root and branch” approach, ensuring
departments work closely & cooperate to achieve strategic goals, they will
work closely with key customers and suppliers to achieve ever greater
efficiency, and have robust risk management policies in place.
• Improving Working Capital Management can generate significant
operating cost reductions, reduce provisions / write-offs of receivables &
inventories and reduce the finance costs of short term finance
• Improving Working Capital requires a Cultural shift and a change of focus
& accountability that begins at the top and cascades down
• Cash – v – Accruals – Accounting policies for Revenue Recognition; POC*
/ WIP* / LTC’s* can create a “disconnect” between recorded profit and
cash
• The Accruals Concept – attempts to match costs with revenues for profit
calculation but ignores the cash position, for example you cannot pay bills
with “accrued sales”!
• Revenue Recognition (POC etc) allow room for “manipulation” & a further
“disconnect”
• EBITDA - should approximate to the cash generated from “current”
operations but may be significantly different due to methods of Revenue
Recognition and other Accounting Policies adopted by a business
• Businesses that have a strong EBITDA may still be “burning” cash if
Debtors or Inventory are allowed to increase beyond acceptable levels
• Businesses showing healthy EBITDA can still FAIL due to not managing
its working capital and OVERTRADING
CONCLUSIONS 6
EXPLANATIONS “DISCONNECT P&L & CASH” 7
T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com
• Businesses may “hide” problems in WIP / POC; They recognise Revenue
by Accruing Sales but the failure to actually Invoice / collect cash can
result in significant “Negative” cash-flows
• Financing Costs – Interest payments are excluded from the EBITDA
measure
• CAPEX EXPENDITURE is not reflected in the EBITDA figure
• Capital Repayments on Loans are not included in the EBITDA calculation
EBITDA is the result of accounting policies and does not take account of
Financing Costs /taxation or Capex and as a result cannot be used as a true
measure of how much cash has been generated in a period of time
Cash Management and Working Capital Management are essential to ensure the
business is able to meet its obligations and grow safely.
A business should understand and reconcile any differences in reported profits and
cash movements
• POC - % of completion for longer term manufacturing of items for sale
• WIP – Work In Progress or “unbilled sales”
• LTC – Long Term Contracts only partially billed
In all cases Revenue & Profit may have been recognised but actual invoicing to
customers remains outstanding, these “accrued sales” can seriously distort the
reported EBITDA and the actual Operational Cash movements. It is therefore
essential to reconcile the actual movement in cash which will consist of EBITDA &
the movement in Working Capital; Capital Expenditure / Capital Sales; Financing
movements (new finance / finance repaid); Finance costs (Interest) & Taxation
A focus on EBITDA is not very useful if a business runs out of cash to
keep going.
M Simpson Associates can help with a review of your working capital management
and offer real help in releasing the “free cash” available, we can work alongside your
staff on a part-time or interim basis, we can train / mentor your staff, assist with a
cultural change offering recommendations for targets / KPI’s / Reporting . We can
assist with the introduction of cash forecasts and budgeting to allow your business
plans for growth to be monitored facilitating safe growth and the delivery of your
strategic targets.

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Manage Cash Flow & Working Capital

  • 1. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com Cash is King A guide on working capital Management. Download INTRODUCTION TO WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT.1 WHAT IS WORKING CAPITAL?2 WORKING CAPITAL CYCLE.3 ESSENTIALS OF GOOD WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT.4 REQUIREMENTS OF THE BOARD & THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT. TEAM 5 CONCLUSIONS.6 EXPLANATIONS “DISCONNECT P&L & CASH”.7 Exclusive Business Insight from M.Simpson. You can lose money over a long period of time but you only run out of cash ONCE. Understand the disconnect between your accounting profit and cash. Accounting policies IMPACT on the disconnect, they can flatter your operational performance yet often hide a serious deterioration in cash. M Simpson Associates will review the DETAIL of your Business and advise on best practice Working Capital Management.
  • 2. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com • Are you concerned about lack of cash? • Do your management understand the difference between accounting profit and cash? • Are “Profit Centre Managers” aware of the importance of cash management? Most businesses spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about cash at the expense of their business and the opportunities available to them Cash management and planning for growth are essential to a company’s survival, as Benjamin Franklin stated “Failure to plan is planning to fail” an old adage more relevant today than ever! M Simpson Associates have Real Experience gained over 3 decades in many varied industry sectors. Real Experience in the “Whole Life Cycle of a Business” Practical Experience gained through a Real “Hands on Approach” in Start-Up – Growth - Consolidation – and Turnaround situations. As a Small Business Owner, Managing Director, Finance Director & Consultant I have witnessed periods of great & enjoyable success and unfortunate failure. MSAL appreciate the difficulties of both the SME owner and the CEO of an International Group. Working Capital Management is the “prevention” that many businesses fail to appreciate until it is too late. It is possible to correct poor working capital management practices at any stage in a company’s life cycle but the sooner the better. Solutions adopted too late are costly and may not be enough to allow a sustainable solution. For a company to succeed in the vital area of Working Capital Management the Owner(s) / Board must adopt a clear strategy for Working Capital, Managers need Training, Targets need to be set, Results (KPI’s) must be communicated, Reviews should be undertaken of all Business activities that impact on Cash and the Visibility and Focus must be maintained. Cash Management should be of Strategic Importance to all Businesses and the Management need to understand how their decisions may impact on efficient Cash Management. With over 30 years’ experience managing working capital in varied industries with multiple income streams both in the UK and Internationally I hope this publication helps your organisation. ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT.
  • 3. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com All businesses need cash to survive. Cash is needed to: • Invest in fixed assets • Pay suppliers and employees • Fund overheads and other fixed costs • Pay tax due to the Government Nearly all businesses use much of their cash resources to finance investment in “working capital” Managing working capital effectively is, therefore, a vital part of making sure the business has enough cash to continue. www.planware.org Working capital is the cash needed to pay for the day to day operation of the business. Definition of Working Capital: Current assets = Assets of the business held in cash form (e.g.at the bank) or that that can quickly be turned into cash (Stocks, Debtors, Cash, Investments) Less Current liabilities = Money owed by a business which will need to be paid in the next 12 months (Trade Creditors, Taxation, Dividends, Short-term Loans). The working capital cycle is: The period of time between the points at which cash is first spent on the production of a product and the final collection of cash from a customer The Key to Managing Working Capital is to reduce the time between first expending cash and receiving payment for Goods and Services provided Warning: a profitable business can fail if it runs out of cash. It is often said, you can lose money for some time, but you can only run out of cash once. Overtrading happens when a business tries to do too much, too quickly with too little long-term capital Those that ignore the signs of overtrading do so at their peril. WHAT IS WORKING CAPITAL? 2 INTRODUCTION TO WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT 1
  • 4. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com The Key to Managing Working Capital is to reduce the time between first expending cash and receiving payment for Goods and Services supplied. www.tutor2u.net Cash flows in a cycle into, around and out of a business. It is the business's life blood and every manager's primary task is to help keep it flowing and to use the cashflow to generate profits. If a business is operating profitably, then it should, in theory, generate cash surpluses. If it doesn't generate surpluses, the business will eventually run out of cash and eventually failure is inevitable. The faster a business expands the more cash it will need for working capital and investment. The cheapest and best sources of cash exist as working capital right within business. Good management of working capital will generate cash, will help improve profits and reduce risks. Bear in mind that the cost of providing credit to customers and holding stocks can represent a substantial proportion of a firm's total profits. There are two elements in the business cycle that absorb cash - Inventory (stocks and work-in-progress) and Receivables (debtors owing you money). The main sources of cash are Payables (your creditors) and Equity and Loans.  Raw  Materials  ordered   from  suppliers  and  put   into  stock  awai5ng   produc5on.  Cash  is  used   up  to  finance  stocks  (by   paying  the  suppliers) More  cash  is  used  to   finance  the  produc5on   process  –  employ  staff,   run  the  factory  and  other   support  opera5ons More  cash  is  used  up  to   store  finished  products   and  distribute  them  to  the   intended  markets.  Trade   customers  are  allowed  to   buy  now  and  pay  later  –  so   debtors  increase” Finally  the  product  starts   to  generate  cash  –  as   customers  pay  the   amounts  they  owe.  Then   the  whole  process  starts   again WORKING CAPITAL CYCLE 3
  • 5. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com Each component of working capital (namely inventory, receivables and payables) has two dimensions TIME and MONEY. When it comes to managing working capital - TIME IS MONEY. If you can get money to move faster around the cycle (e.g. collect monies due from debtors more quickly) or reduce the amount of money tied up (e.g. reduce inventory levels relative to sales), the business will generate more cash or it will need to borrow less money to fund working capital. As a consequence, you could reduce the cost of bank interest or you'll have additional free money available to support additional sales growth or investment. Similarly, if you can negotiate improved terms with suppliers e.g. get longer credit or an increased credit limit; you effectively create free finance to help fund future sales. It can be tempting to pay cash, if available, for fixed assets e.g. computers, plant, vehicles etc. If you do pay cash, remember that this is no longer available for working capital. Therefore, if cash is tight, consider other ways of financing capital investment - loans, equity, leasing etc. Similarly, if you pay dividends or increase drawings, liquidity will be removed from the business. More businesses fail for lack of cash than for want of profit. Sources of additional working capital include the following: • Existing cash reserves • Profits (when you secure it as cash!) • Payables (credit from suppliers) • New equity or loans from shareholders • Bank overdrafts or lines of credit • Long-term loans If you have insufficient working capital and try to increase sales, you can easily over- stretch the financial resources of the business. This is called overtrading. Early warning signs include: • Pressure on existing cash • Exceptional cash generating activities e.g. offering high discounts for early cash payment • Bank overdraft exceeds authorized limit • Seeking greater overdrafts or lines of credit • Part-paying suppliers or other creditors • Paying bills in cash to secure additional supplies • Management pre-occupation with surviving rather than managing • Frequent short-term emergency requests to the bank (to help pay wages, pending receipt of a cheque).
  • 6. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com • It does not matter how much Revenue you recognise or how many assets you have on your books at “Historic” costs, the only businesses that survive are those that generate enough cash to keep their operations going. • Cash management is NOT about accounting policies & unlike revenue recognition it is REAL and harder to “manipulate” • It is relatively easy to obtain short term savings in Working Capital by:- • Slowing down payments to Suppliers • Speeding up Collections from Customers • Starving Inventory It will seriously harm your reputation if accountants simply “manipulate” supplier payments to manage cash over long periods of time, similarly starving inventory will eventually harm your customer service, managing working capital efficiently impacts on the entire organisation & policies adopted need the cooperation of all concerned (both operational & finance) • Good training, processes & procedures and Good KPI’S will deliver long term improvements • Contract negotiation including terms for payment, Inventory management, invoicing & credit control all need to be robust • Long term gains demand a “sustained” effort & “systematic” approach • Effective working capital management requires the cooperation of every part of the organisation including Sales, Finance, Operations and in particular the “Operational Directors” • World class businesses will have their decision makers in every department not simply achieving excellence in the area they control but acting wisely as a steward of company cash • A cash focus involves the transformation of mind-sets at every level of the organisation (“Culture Change”), this cultural change will take time to achieve and will require a constant management. ESSENTIALS OF GOOD WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT 4
  • 7. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com • Senior Management need to focus on Working Capital & make it a Priority • Improving Working Capital requires a “Cultural” shift and a change of focus & accountability that begins at the top and cascades down • A Root & Branch review of all processes required (Credit Control, Contract billing, Supply Chain & Inventory management) • While Management interest is not enough to succeed a lack of interest will make it fail • Management incentives should be linked with meeting certain Working Capital targets on a sustained basis • It is Essential targets exist for all business units(profit centres) & central functions (Finance, Supply Chain etc), they need to be understood, measured and reported upon • Employees should be rewarded based on their efficiency of Working Capital use where possible, incentives designed to reduce the working capital cycle will have a positive impact on cash flows and train key management the importance of managing their respective component of working capital for the greater good of the business. • It is not acceptable to exclude Creditors & Inventory from Working Capital management simply because of a weak supply chain – All areas of working capital require measurement in order to better manage cash and ensure a cash culture exists throughout, effective management of Inventory & better negotiation of supplier terms can relieve pressure on short term cash requirements. • In companies with weak working capital practices customers may be given the same terms regardless of their strategic importance. Credit may be granted to low value / high risk customers, a review of customer terms and the enforcement of a strict credit control policy can lead to significant release of “free cash” • Working Capital Management requires a day to day focus; a business must ensure visibility & Good KPI measures exist & are communicated throughout the senior management team. • The key to success is FOCUS by the senior management, TARGETS must be set and agreed, VISIBILITY through relevant timely reporting, COMMUNICATION of results to all involved, TRAINING throughout the entire organisation, GOOD PROCEDURES set in place to control the elements of Working Capital • Negotiate terms, , get invoicing right, improve invoice phasing, ensure credit control procedures and credit risk management is robust • Repeat the process and REMAIN FOCUSED REQUIREMENTS OF THE BOARD & THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM 5
  • 8. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com • Departments will have conflicting goals (eg. Sales & Finance over Credit) and a company’s policies need to be clear & consistent to prevent harmful “in-fighting” • Excellent Working Capital Management is not a trick of accounting; it is a process that demands on-going FOCUS, it is REAL & bad practice will result in BUSINESS FAILURE. • Working Capital Management requires a DAILY FOCUS, it is not a strategic decision you take once, to be effective the cooperation of the entire organisation is required and the CONSISTANT support of the BOARD of Directors • Companies that strive to improve their Working Capital Management are those that take a structured “root and branch” approach, ensuring departments work closely & cooperate to achieve strategic goals, they will work closely with key customers and suppliers to achieve ever greater efficiency, and have robust risk management policies in place. • Improving Working Capital Management can generate significant operating cost reductions, reduce provisions / write-offs of receivables & inventories and reduce the finance costs of short term finance • Improving Working Capital requires a Cultural shift and a change of focus & accountability that begins at the top and cascades down • Cash – v – Accruals – Accounting policies for Revenue Recognition; POC* / WIP* / LTC’s* can create a “disconnect” between recorded profit and cash • The Accruals Concept – attempts to match costs with revenues for profit calculation but ignores the cash position, for example you cannot pay bills with “accrued sales”! • Revenue Recognition (POC etc) allow room for “manipulation” & a further “disconnect” • EBITDA - should approximate to the cash generated from “current” operations but may be significantly different due to methods of Revenue Recognition and other Accounting Policies adopted by a business • Businesses that have a strong EBITDA may still be “burning” cash if Debtors or Inventory are allowed to increase beyond acceptable levels • Businesses showing healthy EBITDA can still FAIL due to not managing its working capital and OVERTRADING CONCLUSIONS 6 EXPLANATIONS “DISCONNECT P&L & CASH” 7
  • 9. T: 01234 954191 E: info@msimpsonassociates.com • Businesses may “hide” problems in WIP / POC; They recognise Revenue by Accruing Sales but the failure to actually Invoice / collect cash can result in significant “Negative” cash-flows • Financing Costs – Interest payments are excluded from the EBITDA measure • CAPEX EXPENDITURE is not reflected in the EBITDA figure • Capital Repayments on Loans are not included in the EBITDA calculation EBITDA is the result of accounting policies and does not take account of Financing Costs /taxation or Capex and as a result cannot be used as a true measure of how much cash has been generated in a period of time Cash Management and Working Capital Management are essential to ensure the business is able to meet its obligations and grow safely. A business should understand and reconcile any differences in reported profits and cash movements • POC - % of completion for longer term manufacturing of items for sale • WIP – Work In Progress or “unbilled sales” • LTC – Long Term Contracts only partially billed In all cases Revenue & Profit may have been recognised but actual invoicing to customers remains outstanding, these “accrued sales” can seriously distort the reported EBITDA and the actual Operational Cash movements. It is therefore essential to reconcile the actual movement in cash which will consist of EBITDA & the movement in Working Capital; Capital Expenditure / Capital Sales; Financing movements (new finance / finance repaid); Finance costs (Interest) & Taxation A focus on EBITDA is not very useful if a business runs out of cash to keep going. M Simpson Associates can help with a review of your working capital management and offer real help in releasing the “free cash” available, we can work alongside your staff on a part-time or interim basis, we can train / mentor your staff, assist with a cultural change offering recommendations for targets / KPI’s / Reporting . We can assist with the introduction of cash forecasts and budgeting to allow your business plans for growth to be monitored facilitating safe growth and the delivery of your strategic targets.