Reanalysing Cash Flows In Global Trade

Against a backdrop of increased globalisation and flourishing economy, a comprehensive plan to handle working capital becomes necessary. Read to know how a holistic approach to working capital management can lead to significantly better results over time. Global trade involves a network of suppliers throughout the entire business journey from start to end irrespective of the geographical locations. Organisations whose businesses involve trade beyond the borders need to bolster their working capital with in the country and stabilise their supply chain with more effective management solutions. Creating tailored solutions is a great way to address the full breadth of the company’s financial situation.

Changing The Approach

The product-driven mindset of businesses means that the big picture gets ignored putting efficiencies on the table. Hence, organisations must be armed with effective tools to manage the backend process of global trade as manual procedures can be time-consuming. Additionally, cash flow itself has its own time-period and obstacles which is a separate entity altogether. The implementation of global trade management (GTM) solutions can be effective if it manages to eliminate the complexity of trade processes.

Bottlenecks Of Liquidity

Working capital is the mainstay of businesses, whereas the focus should be more on opportunities to maximise cash flows. The ratio of production versus the cash flow is often imbalanced as demand and supply overtake the need to clear payments immediately for suppliers. Traditionally, the typical working capital cycle affects the overall well-being of the business ecosystem. It also depends on other factors like:
  • Access to liquidity
  • State of its balance sheet (for instance, whether there are any covenants on outstanding loans)
  • Geographical footprint 
  • Currencies in which it is operating its business
Buyers focus on increasing their payment terms to the fullest as well as reducing their stock and inventory with the onus on their suppliers. But not all suppliers can manage the request for longer payment terms considering the changing regulatory environments and market conditions.

Customising The Working Capital Solution

The influence of global flows on GDP is crucial over the long term while simultaneously raising productivity. The average global trade cycle, order through settlement, is 60-120 days, while few follow the 30-60 days cycle. The implementation of solutions to tackle working capital must include making better-informed procurement decisions while bringing down the average settlement cycle. The bulk of the business depends on clearing the payments for sellers which often results in the irregular supply chain. A tactical approach to customise working capital is adopting cash discounting by sellers who can encourage the buyer with an early payment discount. The idea is to ease the pressure on sellers who can get timely payments and manage their inventory effectively with no cessation of production. In a nutshell, this approach not only benefits the organisation in the near term but promotes further efficiencies over time.


Cross border sales, whether short term working capital needs or assisting purchasers with long term financing solutions, generally present exporters with financing challenges. Hence relying on supplier credit is quite common in international sales transactions, particularly in developing markets. To optimise the global supply chain, organisations need to raise the bar by developing better collaboration with suppliers, partners, and regulatory authorities while improving the visibility in the process.