How To Calculate Working Capital Requirement Of A Company?

To maintain profitability, a business owner must harness efficient working capital management strategy. Without sufficient working capital, a firm will not only incur losses but also find it challenging to continue its operations without interruptions. In this article, you will learn how to calculate working capital requirement, and determine working capital needs for business.

The best way to ascertain that is by understanding your firm’s working capital requirements.

What is Working Capital Requirement?

Working Capital Requirement (WCR) is the monetary sum necessary to meet your operational expenses, reflecting your company's immediate financial needs. It displays the short-term finance needs of your business. These needs are brought on by inconsistencies in your cash flows (the money that comes in and goes out), which correlate to the cash inflow and cash outflow related to your business operations, or more precisely, your company's main activity. The working capital requirement formula calculates the funds necessary to meet a company's day-to-day operations and short-term financial obligations by taking the difference between current assets and current liabilities.

In simple words, working capital requirement can be described as the amount of money a firm would need to bridge the gap between its accounts payable and accounts receivable. It is essentially the amount a business requires to  keep its operations afloat. 

In the case of working capital deficit, businesses can use their outstanding invoices and avail funds to meet their working capital requirement. With KredX businesses can utilise their unpaid invoices to avail working capital within 24 -72 hours*. 

Three Reasons Why Working Capital Requirement Gaps Appear

The three main reasons why Working Capital Requirement (WCR) gaps can appear are:

1. Seasonal Fluctuations

Some businesses experience seasonal variations in sales and cash flow. During peak seasons, they may need additional working capital to manage increased inventory levels, hire temporary staff, and meet higher customer demands. Conversely, in low seasons, they might face a surplus of inventory and lower sales, leading to a temporary surplus of working capital.

2. Rapid Business Growth

When a company experiences rapid expansion and growth, it often requires more working capital to finance increased production, purchase additional inventory, hire more employees, and extend credit to customers. If the growth is not matched with sufficient financing, it can lead to a working capital shortfall.

3. Delayed Payments and Slow Receivables

If a business faces delays in receiving payments from customers or has a significant portion of its accounts receivables outstanding for an extended period, it can strain the available working capital. The company may struggle to pay its own suppliers and meet immediate obligations, resulting in a working capital gap.

These factors can create fluctuations in the working capital requirements of a company and highlight the importance of effectively managing working capital to ensure the smooth functioning of the business and avoid potential liquidity problems.

Factors That Help To Determine Required Working Capital

These are among the top factors that help businesses determine their working capital requirements -




A significantly high sales volume generates high revenue which means the working capital required is not much.

Duration of Operating Cycle

The longer it takes a business to convert current assets into cash and cash equivalents, the more will be the required working capital. 

Type of Business

Trading businesses require relatively high working capital when compared to manufacturing businesses.

Terms of credit

Businesses that extend longer terms of credit to customers are often in need of more working capital.

Inventory turnover

Stagnant or slow turnover of extensive inventories results in a higher working capital requirement. 

Seasonal variation

Businesses that are dependent on specific seasons may need more working capital.

Production technology

Usually, labour-intensive businesses require more capital than a business which needs the use of machines.


A provision to meet the changes in demand and products’ price.

Components of Working Capital

All components of working capital are found on a company's balance sheet, though not all elements may be applicable to every business. For instance, a service company without inventory will exclude inventory from its working capital calculation.

Current assets encompass economic benefits expected within the next 12 months, including:

  • Cash and Cash Equivalents: All available money, including low-risk investments like money market accounts.
  • Inventory: Unsold goods, including raw materials and finished products.
  • Accounts Receivable: Claims to cash for items sold on credit.
  • Notes Receivable: Claims to cash from other agreements, usually formalized by a signed contract.
  • Prepaid Expenses: Value for expenses paid in advance, though not easily convertible to cash.
  • Others: Any additional short-term assets, such as short-term deferred tax assets.

Current liabilities represent debts a company owes or will owe within the next twelve months:

  • Accounts Payable Unpaid invoices to vendors and suppliers for various operating expenses.
  • Wages Payable
    Unpaid accrued salary and wages for employees.
  • Current Portion of Long-Term Debt
    Short-term payments related to long-term debts scheduled within the next 12 months.
  • Accrued Tax Payable
    Accruals for tax obligations due within the next 12 months.
  • Dividend Payable
    Authorized payments to shareholders, even if future dividends are declined.
  • Unearned Revenue
    Capital received in advance for work yet to be completed.

The main objective of assessing working capital is to determine if a company can meet its short-term liabilities with the existing short-term assets on hand. Businesses analyze these components to gauge their financial position and ensure effective management of working capital for a stable and thriving operation.

How To Compute A Company's Working Capital Requirement?

The working capital requirement formula calculates the difference between a company's current assets and current liabilities, providing insights into its short-term financial needs. The formula for calculating working capital requirement is given by -

Working Capital formula = Current Assets - Current Liabilities 

Here, current assets include these following -

  • Cash in hand 
  • Cash equivalent
  • Company inventory
  • Accounts receivable 
  • Pre-paid liabilities 

Here, current liabilities include these following -

  • Accounts payable
  • Notes payable
  • Income tax owed
  • Immediate debts
  • Dividends

Based on this working capital requirement formula, businesses can estimate their working capital requirement easily. For instance, if the current assets of a firm exceed its current liabilities, it indicates that the firm has surplus working capital. Notably, items like cash commitments, non-trade receivable and old or wasted inventory are excluded or adjusted during the working capital requirement calculation.

How to Calculate Working Capital Requirement | Example of Working Capital Requirement Calculation

Suppose the current assets of Mr Kumar’s business stands at Rs. 25000, while current liabilities amount to Rs. 45000.

Using the formula -

Working capital = Current assets - Current liabilities 

= Rs. (25000 - 45000) 

= - (Rs. 20000)

Since the outcome is negative, it indicates Mr Kumar’s business has a deficit in working capital. It means that his firm’s immediate liquidity is not enough to optimise everyday functions.

Some of the effective ways of reducing working capital gap include -

  • Quick collection of accounts receivables
  • Reducing inventory cycle
  • Reducing credit terms 
  • Increasing sales volume

How to Find Working Capital?

However, to meet your working capital requirement immediately and to keep operational activities continuous, you can opt for alternative solutions like  invoice discounting services from KredX. 

Limitations of Working Capital

Working capital analysis is a valuable tool for assessing a company's short-term financial health. However, it also comes with certain limitations and considerations:

Exclusion of Long-Term Perspective

Working capital requirement ignores the long-term financial picture in favor of concentrating only on short-term assets and liabilities. It does not give a complete view of a business's total financial situation or its potential for long-term growth and profitability.

Industry Differences

Different industries have varying working capital requirements. Comparing working capital ratios across industries may not provide meaningful insights, as each industry operates under unique business models and cash flow dynamics.

Seasonal Fluctuations

Businesses with seasonal sales patterns may experience temporary fluctuations in working capital requirements. This can lead to misleading interpretations if working capital is assessed during a specific seasonal peak or trough.

Inadequate for Capital-Intensive Businesses

Companies with significant capital investments, such as manufacturing firms or infrastructure projects, may have higher fixed asset requirements. Working capital alone may not adequately reflect their financial position.

Does Not Consider Non-Cash Items

working capital calculation emphasize cash as well as current assets and obligations. Depreciation, amortization, and other non-cash costs or profits that affect a company's cash flow are not taken into account.

Inflation and Currency Changes

Working capital ratios may be affected by inflation and currency fluctuations, which can distort the value of current assets and liabilities over time.


Working capital needs can be influenced by management decisions, such as delaying payments to suppliers or accelerating collections from customers. In some cases, companies may manipulate working capital calculation to present a more favorable financial position.

Limited for Comparative Analysis

While working capital ratios can be compared over time for a single company, comparing them across different companies may not be meaningful due to variations in accounting policies and financial reporting practices.

No Consideration of Quality of Assets

Working capital needs analysis does not account for the quality or liquidity of current assets. For instance, a high level of inventory may indicate slow-moving or obsolete items, affecting the company's cash flow.

In spite of these drawbacks, working capital is nevertheless a useful statistic for short-term financial management since it can give important information about a company's liquidity, operational effectiveness, and capacity to pay short-term obligations. To do a thorough analysis, it is essential to combine working capital needs analysis with other financial measures and take into account the company's overall financial situation.

Ensuring future business growth necessitates the accurate determination of working capital requirements

Government stimulus programmes and tax breaks during the past year have helped the economy by injecting much-needed liquidity and supporting enterprises. The opportunity to obtain working capital loans with advantageous conditions has enabled businesses to benefit from the current climate of cheap interest rates, enabling improvements, project expenditures, and strategic acquisitions that pave the way for future success.

However, before proceeding with investments, it is prudent to seek expert trade and risk analysis to strike a balance between being overly aggressive due to the fear of missing out (FOMO) and being overly cautious, which may risk falling behind competitors. It's essential to recognize that the recovery may vary from country to country, impacting the choice of investment targets. Engaging an expert trade credit insurer can offer valuable advice, empowering you to make well-informed decisions.

Determining your working capital requirements and staying attuned to any changes provides a safety net for your company, enabling flexibility and fostering a forward-looking approach for future growth. By understanding these dynamics and planning strategically, businesses can navigate uncertainties and seize opportunities to thrive in the long run.

Analyzing Working Capital Requirement

By contrasting current assets and current liabilities, you can learn more about your company's financial status while analyzing the working capital demand. There are three possible possibilities to take into account:

  1. If your working capital requirement (WCR) is positive, your company needs to secure funding to meet short-term obligations. Vigilance and proactive measures to seek financing may be necessary. Various ways to finance the WCR will be explored later in this article. For additional insights, you may also want to read about anticipating and managing cash flow when dealing with elevated WCR.
  2. If your WCR is zero, your company has sufficient operational resources to cover all its requirements without the need for additional financing. In this situation, there is no surplus or deficit in working capital. It's worth noting that having a WCR of exactly zero is rare in reality.
  3. If your WCR is negative, your company doesn't have immediate short-term financial needs, allowing you to allocate resources towards funding net cash flow. This surplus in working capital can potentially be used to invest in growth opportunities or other strategic initiatives.


Working capital requirements play a vital role in shaping a company's financial landscape. Efficient management of working capital ensures a smooth and resilient operation, allowing businesses to meet their short-term financial obligations and seize growth opportunities. Maintaining positive working capital is a sign of stability, while addressing negative working capital is essential to avoid liquidity challenges. By continually monitoring and optimizing working capital, businesses can thrive in a competitive environment and achieve long-term financial success.


A. A firm can find out whether it has sufficient working capital or not with the help of current ratio. Typically, a ratio of 2 is considered ideal for a firm. However, such a ratio may vary from one industry or business to another

A. Minimum working capital can be defined as the least amount of capital required to keep a business operating without the need to avail a business loan or other funding options to support revenue.

A. Every firm, irrespective of their size must practise active working capital management as it helps them to keep their operations running smoothly. It further improves earnings and ensures sustainability.

A. There are 3 methods of forecasting or estimating the future working capital of a firm. They are - the percentage of sales methods, operating cycle method and regression analysis method.