Financial Ratio Analysis Introduction to Business

current ratio vs working capital

If you are in the position of having to pay suppliers before receiving payments yourself, you may be forced to use your accounts receivable as a form of collateral for financing an increase in working capital to cover the gap. A shorter operating cycle combined with trade credit insurance can be a less expensive option. Before sharing a working capital ratio working capital ratio definition, it seems essential to remind what working capital is. It’s the amount of money you need in order to support your short-term business operations. Working capital is the excess of current assets over current liabilities. The ratio that relates current assets to current liabilities is the current ratio.

current ratio vs working capital

Below is a video explanation of how to calculate the current ratio and why it matters when performing an analysis of financial statements. Two things should be apparent in the trend of Horn & Co. vs. Claws Inc. First, the trend for Claws is negative, which means further investigation is prudent. Perhaps it is taking on too much debt or its cash balance is being depleted—either of which could be a solvency issue if it worsens. The trend for Horn & Co. is positive, which could indicate better collections, faster inventory turnover, or that the company has been able to pay down debt.

Analysis and Interpretation

The difference between this and the current ratio is in the numerator, where the asset side includes only cash, marketable securities, and receivables. The quick ratio excludes inventory, which can be more difficult to turn into cash on a short-term basis. When current assets are less than current liabilities- Negative working capital position indicates that company is unable to cover its debts with the available cash resources.

current ratio vs working capital

Changes to either assets or liabilities will cause a change in net working capital unless they are equal. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. Working capital is the amount of available capital that a company can readily use for day-to-day operations. Especially if high upcoming demand is sustained, you might find a great investment opportunity there that others might be frowning on because of the decrease in FCF.

Current Ratio Calculator

We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. To properly use the results of any accounting ratio, you must understand what the results mean and use that information to your advantage. For example, in December of 2019, Jane’s balance sheet reflected the following amounts. Answer the question below to see how well you understand the topics covered above.

Rosemary Carlson is an expert in finance who writes for The Balance Small Business. She was a university professor of finance and has written extensively in this area. Others include the overgeneralization of the specific asset and liability balances, and the lack of trending information. Working capital should be assessed periodically over time to ensure no devaluation occurs and that there’s enough of it left to fund continuous operations.


Accounting ratios such as the current ratio and the quick ratio can also help you quickly identify trouble spots and if your business is headed in the wrong direction. The results of these ratios may also be helpful when creating financial projections for your business. When comparing an income statement item and a balance sheet item, we measure both in comparable dollars. Notice that we measure the numerator and denominator in cost rather than sales dollars.

Like with all stock analysis, take it business-by-business, and seek to understand rather than rush to hasty conclusions based on what the numbers are telling us. In a basic Discounted Cash Flow model, these required investments are baked into the formula automagically.


However, these ratios generally differ with the industry type and will not always make sense. Our expert Ope Farinloye shares how social and governance factors can impact a company’s risk rating.

  • The working capital ratio can help the business assess its liquidity as well as its operational efficiency.
  • Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.
  • It also offers more insight when calculated repeatedly over several periods.
  • Small businesses need to keep a certain level of inventory to sustain operations and meet customer demand.

A firm can make a profit, but if it has a problem keeping enough cash on hand, it won’t survive. A business owner should use all the financial metrics and measures available to continually manage liquidity and cash availability.

Company A also has fewer wages payable, which is the liability most likely to be paid in the short term. For example, a normal cycle for the company’s collections and payment processes may lead to a high current ratio as payments are received, but a low current ratio as those collections ebb. Calculating the current ratio at just one point in time could indicate that the company can’t cover all of its current debts, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t be able to when the payments are due.

What is current capital ratio?

The current ratio, also known as the working capital ratio, provides a quick view of a company's financial health. You can calculate the current ratio by taking current assets and dividing that figure by current liabilities. A ratio above 1 means current assets exceed liabilities.

Subtract current liabilities from current assets to get the working capital. As you can see, the net working capital of Big Company and Small Company are the same, but the small company has a much higher current ratio.