- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY:
Working capital refers to the organisation’s investment in short term assets and it is important to the financial health of businesses of all sizes (Padachi, 2006). This importance is hinged on many reasons, first, the amounts invested in working capital are often so high in proportion to the total assets employed and it is vital that these amounts are used in an efficient way. Second, the management of working capital directly affects the liquidity and profitability of the corporate organization and consequently its net worth. Working capital management therefore, aims at maintaining a balance between liquidity and profitability while conducting the day-to-day operations of a business concern (Smith, 1980).
Working capital is of utmost importance in any organization. Management of working capital is one of the most important functions of corporate management. Every organisation whether profit oriented or not, irrespective of its size and nature of business, needs requisite amount of working capital to be maintained at any point in time. The capital to keep an entity moving on day-to-day operation of the business is working capital. The efficient working capital management is the most crucial factor ensuring survival, liquidity, solvency and profitability of the concerned business organisation (Jose, Lancaster and Stevens,1996). An organisation needs sufficient cash to carry out purchase of raw materials, payment of day-to-day operational expenses including salaries, wages, repairs and maintenance expenses and others. Funds to meet these expenses are collectively known as working capital.
In simplicity, working capital refers to that portion of total fund, which finances the day-today working expenses during the operating cycle of a business. Working capital is necessary in the day to day running of the business and this includes inventories, debtors, short term marketable securities, cash at bank, cash on hand, short term loans and advances, payment of advance tax and all current assets and current liabilities. A business organisation should determine the exact requirement of working capital and maintain the same evenly throughout the operating cycle. It is worth mentioning that a firm should have neither excess nor inadequate working capital as both phenomena of over capitalisation and under capitalisation of working capital generates adverse effects on the profitability and liquidity of the concerned companies. The effective working capital necessitates careful handling of current assets as to ensure liquidity and solvency of the business (Harris, 2005).
The ultimate objective of any firm is to maximize the profit (Deloof, 2003). However, preserving liquidity of the company to a minimal level is also an important objective for organisational survival (Smith, 1980). Thus, the problem is that increasing profits at the cost of liquidity can bring serious problems to the company. Therefore, there must be a trade off between these two objectives of the company (Eljelly, 2004). The debtors collection period should be reduced while the creditors payment period should be increased. One objective should not be at the cost of the other because both have their importance for corporate survival. If organisations do not care about profit, they cannot survive for a longer period. On the other hand, if they do not care about liquidity, they may face the problem of insolvency or bankruptcy which may finally lead to liquidation. Thus, to achieve the above corporate objectives, there is need for proper consideration of working capital management and ultimately its effect on corporate profitability (Egbide, Enyi and Uremadu, 2012). Hence, this study examines working capital management and corporate profitability, analysis of Nigerian firms.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
One of the serious problems faced by a good number of companies is poor working capital management (Smith, 1980). A large number of business failures in the past had been blamed on the inability of financial managers to plan and control the working capital of their respective organizations (Egbide et al, 2012). These reported inadequacies among financial managers are still manifesting today in many organizations in the form of high bad debts, high inventory cost, etc. which adversely affect their operating performance. Also, increasing of profits at the cost of liquidity might cause serious trouble to the firm and this might lead to financial insolvency. Moreover, insufficient liquidity might damage the firm’s goodwill, deteriorate firm’s credit standings and might lead to forced liquidation of company’s assets (Charterjee, 2012). In view of the above problems, this study will consider working capital management and corporate profitability, analysis of Nigerian firms.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is
- To assess the impact of working capital management on corporate profitability in Nigerian companies.
The specific objectives are,
- To examine the impact of working capital management on liquidity in Nigerian companies.
- To establish the effects of liquidity on corporate profitability of firms in Nigeria.
- To ascertain a relationship between corporate profitability and debt of firms in Nigeria.