Businesses require adequate capital to succeed in business environment. There are two types of capital required by business; fixed capital and working capital. Businesses require investment in asset, which has to be utilized over a longer period of times. These long-term investments are considered as fixed capital, e.g. plant, machinery, etc.
Another type of finance required is short term in nature. This short term finance or capital is required to undertake day to day operation. Such short capital is called current capital or working capital.
Working capital refers to companys investment in short term asset such as cash, inventory, short term marketable securities and account receivable.
Information technology is playing a big part in todays working capital management. Several aspects of working capital management like the cash management, inventory management, account receivables/payable management, etc. are managed through enterprise resource planning modules.
The cash management module within the working capital management system should be fully integrated with other modules like account receivable/payable, payroll and general ledger. The main features of cash management tools are as follows:
Inventory management and control module is utilized by companies to avoid product overstock and outages. There are several components of an inventory management tool such as order management, asset tracking, product identification, etc. The main purpose within the inventory management system is to reduce the overall costs of carrying. An inventory management tool helps in:
The main advantage of an inventory management tool is cost savings, increased efficiency, warehouse management, etc.
An account receivable management tool helps solve critical question like when payment is due, how much payment is due, etc. The main features of account receivable tool are as follows:
Appropriate credit policy is essential to maintain the cash flow cycle and return on capital.
Another important aspect of working capital management is short term financing. The short term financing tool based on cash flow cycle, inventory position and requirement helps in deciding the quantity of capital required. It also helps identify the term of financing and track payment.
Working capital management decision directly affects day to day business operations. One of the such factors is the cash conversion cycle which immediately affects the liquidity of the organization.