March 17, 2023
min read
Written by: 
Nikolaus Hilgenfeldt
Online Retail

Working Capital vs Current Ratio - What’s the Difference?

Are you confused about how to maximize cash flow and make the most of your business's finances?

When managing a business, there are many important financial metrics to keep track of, and mastering them can be daunting.

Two such metrics that often need clarification are working capital and the current ratio. 

Whether you're looking to improve working capital, make strategic investments, or simply gain a better understanding of your business's financial health, mastering these metrics is a crucial first step.

So, what are you waiting for?

Start crunching those numbers and take your business to the next level!

What Is Working Capital?

Working capital is the difference between a company's current assets and current liabilities.

Current assets can be converted to cash within a year. 

In contrast, current liabilities are debts that are due within a year. 

Working capital is an essential measure of a company's short-term liquidity, or its ability to meet its financial obligations in the near future.

Working capital is the sum left over after paying all current obligations.

How To Calculate Your Working Capital?

A company with a positive working capital has more current assets than current liabilities, which means it has enough cash and other liquid assets to cover its debts in the short term. 

It is a primary indicator of a company's financial health and reflects its ability to fulfill its current financial obligations. 

Conversely, a company with negative working capital has more current liabilities than current assets, which means it may struggle to pay off its debts in the short term.

You can calculate the working capital using the following formula:

Working Capital = Current Assets - Current Liabilities

For example, you have $500,000 in current assets and $300,000 in current liabilities.

Your working capital would be:

Working Capital = $500,000 - $300,000 = $200,000

It means that you have $200,000 in working capital to cover your short-term debts.


Why Is Knowing Your Working Capital Important?

Understanding a company's working capital is essential for financial awareness.

In addition, it helps with short-term objectives like bill payment and obligation recognition. 

Knowing your working capital is a great way to ensure you have enough money to weather any economic or company storms that may come your way.

As we know, businesses can't survive without a steady infusion of working capital.

Even if a company is making money, it still risks going insolvent. 

After all, you need actual cash on hand to settle your debts, not just the promise of future profits. 

For example, let’s say you have a business with $1 million in cash because you kept the money you made in previous years.

But, suppose you invest a total of $1 million in new products.

In that case, there is a risk that you will need more cash to cover your short-term obligations.

What If You Have Negative Working Capital?

Having more current obligations than current assets is, indeed, a bad situation for any business. 

As a result, you will need to get creative to ensure you can promptly meet short-term obligations despite the lack of short-term resources.

How To Improve Working Capital?

Increasing a company's current assets is one way to boost its working capital. 

Whether it's putting money aside, increasing inventories, or paying ahead on bills (especially if doing so provides a cash discount), there are many ways to conserve funds and cut costs.

You can also improve working capital by reducing the company's short-term obligations. 


But, you should refrain from taking on new debt whenever possible, as this can add unnecessary costs and delay the company's progress toward its goals. 

Also, you can be frugal with the external spending on suppliers and internal expenditure on the available workforce.

What Is The Current Ratio?

On the other hand, the current ratio measures a company's ability to pay off its current liabilities using its current assets. 

You can calculate it by dividing a company's assets by its liabilities. 

Current ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities
  • Current assets on a company's balance sheet include accounts receivable, inventory, cash, and other current assets (OCA) that are anticipated to be encashed or liquidated within a fiscal year.
  • Current liabilities include short-term debt, taxes, wages, accounts payable, and the short-term component of long-term debt.

The current ratio is shown as a number, and a higher number means that a company has more current assets than current liabilities.

The current ratio measures the availability of current assets to cover current liabilities.

For example, if you have $500,000 in current assets and $300,000 in current liabilities, your current ratio would be:

Current Ratio = $500,000 / $300,000 = 1.67

It means the company has $1.67 in current assets for every $1 in current liabilities.


What Is A Good Current Ratio?

When the current ratio exceeds 1 (1.1 to 2), the business has sufficient resources to pay off its current liabilities. It depicts a balanced ratio, indicating a good financial situation.

When the current ratio equals 1, the business can only pay its short-term liabilities.

It indicates a normal ratio and, thus, a normal financial situation.

The current ratio's lack of versatility in making cross-sector comparisons is one of its significant flaws.

When the current ratio is less than 1 (from 0.2 to 0.6), the business lacks the resources to pay its current obligations. 

Therefore, it is a negative ratio, indicating poor financial solvency. 

As a result of a lack of cash, this circumstance may result in bankruptcy.

At the same time, the best management strategies can reduce the negative effect of a negative ratio.

Companies with a current ratio higher than 2 (from 2.1 to 2.5) have more than enough cash on hand to meet their debt obligations. As a result, it suggests inefficient use of current assets and an excess of such resources.

Why Is It Important To Track Your Current Ratio?

A current ratio is a valuable indicator of a company's financial health.

Use accounting software to help streamline and automate financial management procedures.

This will ensure that you know precisely where your current ratio is heading and how you appear to potential investors. 

Accounting software can also help with automating accounts receivable and invoicing, monitoring costs and revenue, managing cash and payment methods, and much more.

Differences Between Working Capital and Current Ratio

The main difference between working capital and the current ratio is that working capital is an absolute dollar amount. 

The current ratio, on the other hand, is represented by a number.

Working capital tells us the amount of cash and other liquid assets a company has to cover its debts in the short term. 

Contrarily, the current ratio tells us the extent to which a company's current assets exceed its current liabilities.

Another difference is that working capital considers all current assets and liabilities.

In contrast, the current ratio only assumes assets and liabilities due within a year.

Working capital provides a comprehensive view of a company's short-term liquidity. 

At the same time, the current ratio focuses specifically on its ability to pay off short-term debts.

Significance in Financial Analysis

Working capital and the current ratio are both crucial metrics in financial analysis. 

But it's essential to remember that you shouldn't use working capital and the current ratio alone to evaluate a company's financial health.

When figuring out how well a company is doing financially, you should also look at profitability, debt, and cash flow ratios.

In addition, it is essential to compare a company's working capital and current ratio to industry averages and benchmarks, as these can vary widely by industry and company size.

For example, a retail store that sells many items and has a steady cash flow may want a high current ratio. 

Here's an example for car industry:

Still, it may be less crucial for a software company with low inventory turnover and high cash reserves.

Furthermore, changes in working capital and the current ratio over time can provide insight into a company's financial health. 

A decline in working capital or the current ratio may indicate that a company struggles to meet its short-term obligations.

In contrast, an increase may mean improved financial health.

However, it is essential to note that changes in working capital and the current ratio can also be affected by changes in a company's business operations or financial strategy. 

For instance, a company may decide to pay off a debt to lower its current liabilities, which could temporarily lower its current ratio.

In the same way, a company may add to its stock to prepare for a rise in demand, which could temporarily cut into its working capital.


As you can see, working capital and the current ratio are essential metrics in financial analysis. 

Knowing these metrics can help you make smart decisions about cash flow and investments to ensure your business's success.

But small businesses often need a fast infusion of cash, and working capital loans can provide just that.

You no longer have to worry about missing out on exciting business opportunities due to short-term cash flow problems.

So, why don't you take control of your business's finances today with Myos?

How Can Myos Help You?

As mentioned, increasing inventory is a great way to raise working capital.

But what if you need more cash to do that?

Myos offers Purchase financing that allows you to order goods from your supplier, while Myos handles the deposit or balance payment.

There is no monthly schedule for your loan repayment.

You pay back to release a portion of your collateralized inventory whenever you need it. 

Using flexible terms, you can choose how much you want to pay. 

What Can Myos Offer You?

When working with Myos, your company's success is our top priority.

Our services are carefully designed to give you more freedom under the following fair terms:

  • You are not required to provide any personal guarantees or evidence of income.
  • You can use goods as collateral.
  • You are allowed to make loan payments whenever you want.
  • There are no annuities connected (the customer chooses when to repay the loan).
  • We will use artificial intelligence to evaluate the quality of your goods.
  • Select one of 2 financing options: purchase or stock financing.
  • Obtain a loan of between £10,000 and £2,500,000.
  • Apply in just three easy steps.
  • Get your money quickly, up to 72h.

Take control of your business's finances today!

Sign up with Myos and get a free, non-binding quote.



What is the Ideal Current Ratio?

A current ratio below 1.00 suggests a company may struggle to pay its short-term obligations, while a ratio above 1.50 indicates sufficient cash. However, it also depends on the industry and  past performance.

Can Working Capital Be Too High?

A company's working capital ratio can be excessively high (greater than 2), which may suggest operational inefficiency. A high ratio could mean that a company is holding on to a lot of assets instead of using them to grow and improve its business.

What Is A Good Current Ratio For A Retail Company?

A good current ratio is between 1.2 and 2, indicating that the company has twice as many current assets as liabilities to cover its debts.

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