What Strategies Optimize a Company's Working Capital?

    Authored By

    CFO Drive

    What Strategies Optimize a Company's Working Capital?

    In the quest to enhance a company's financial health, we've tapped into the expertise of industry leaders, including a CFO, to reveal their strategies for managing and optimizing working capital. While these professionals provide invaluable insights, from overhauling the accounts receivable process to negotiating favorable credit terms, we also include additional answers that offer a broader spectrum of approaches. Discover a range of tactics that combine expert advice and practical tips to keep your company's finances flowing smoothly.

    • Revamp Accounts Receivable Process
    • Implement Cash-Flow Management
    • Negotiate Flexible Supplier Terms
    • Accelerate Receivables with Digital Invoicing
    • Adopt Just-in-Time Inventory Practices
    • Incentivize with Dynamic Discounting
    • Negotiate Favorable Credit Terms

    Revamp Accounts Receivable Process

    We've implemented a complete revamp of our accounts receivable process, including a more agile process to bill our customers—from contract signature to billing and collection—that improved our process by over 20%, and a multidisciplinary cadence to review eventual delays and delinquency. Composed of members from the Finance, Sales, and Customer Success teams, it is helping us to make faster decisions and connect with our customers in a more agile and human way.

    Renato Guerra
    Renato GuerraCFO, Rock Content

    Implement Cash-Flow Management

    One common approach is to implement effective cash-flow management strategies, such as forecasting the timing of your cash inflows and outflows. Doing so consistently will enable one to anticipate periods of surplus or shortage. Depending on the specific business environment, monitoring your cash flow may be done on a rolling basis, week-to-week or month-to-month, to provide broader visibility of your cash position for a specific range of time. By adopting this approach, businesses can enhance overall financial stability and make informed decisions about using working capital.

    Michael Reeder
    Michael ReederCPA, Managing Shareholder, Reeder CPA Group

    Negotiate Flexible Supplier Terms

    Negotiating with suppliers to diversify payment terms can significantly impact cash outflows, providing more flexibility in managing finances. By extending payment terms, a company can retain more cash on hand, allowing it to invest in growth opportunities or earn interest on idle funds. This strategy requires understanding the cash flow cycles and the willingness to communicate effectively with suppliers to reach mutually beneficial arrangements.

    Maintaining good relationships with suppliers is crucial as it opens the door to negotiate terms that align with the company's cash flow needs. Consider reaching out to your suppliers to discuss extending your payment terms – it could be a valuable step towards optimizing your working capital.

    Accelerate Receivables with Digital Invoicing

    One way to bolster working capital is to hasten the collection of receivables using advanced invoicing systems. By introducing digital invoicing, a company can reduce the time between billing and receipt of funds. Digital systems often offer automation, which means invoicing can occur promptly after services or goods are delivered, and payments can be tracked in real-time.

    This approach reduces errors and saves time, potentially improving customer satisfaction due to the ease of transaction. Examine your current invoicing process and see if switching to a digital system could help speed up your collections.

    Adopt Just-in-Time Inventory Practices

    Implementing just-in-time inventory practices enables businesses to minimize excess stock and reduce holding costs, thereby enhancing working capital. By aligning inventory levels closely with demand, companies can avoid the unnecessary capital being tied up in unsold products. The key to this strategy is accurate demand forecasting and strong relationships with reliable suppliers who can deliver quickly.

    Just-in-time inventory management not only preserves cash flow but can also lead to increased efficiency and less waste. Businesses should assess their inventory management processes and consider whether adopting just-in-time practices can strengthen their working capital position.

    Incentivize with Dynamic Discounting

    By utilizing dynamic discounting, companies can offer early payment discounts to their customers, incentivizing quicker payment and improving cash inflows. This approach allows a company to maintain a more consistent and predictable cash flow, which is critical for effective working capital management. It also fosters stronger relationships with customers, as they benefit from cost savings through early payment.

    Additionally, dynamic discounting is adaptable to the company's cash needs, providing flexibility in how discounts are offered. If managing cash is a priority, investigate how dynamic discounting can be integrated into your financial strategies for more streamlined operations.

    Negotiate Favorable Credit Terms

    Strategically negotiating credit terms with lenders can create a more favorable environment for managing a company's available funds. Longer credit terms mean that funds can be used for operational needs or to take advantage of investment opportunities before the obligation to repay arises. Such negotiations necessitate a clear understanding of the company's financial position and future projections, alongside solid relationships with lenders.

    Demonstrating a track record of timely repayments increases a lender's willingness to consider more accommodating terms. Review your credit arrangements and contemplate engaging with your lenders to discuss the potential for longer credit terms.