How to calculate net working capital?

Let us start by defining and contemplating the meaning of Net Working Capital (NWC). This is a monetary facet that decides if a business has adequate liquid assets to pay its payments that are outstanding in one year. Assets are liquid if they can swiftly be altered to cash. Instances include cash, amounts due from clients, interim savings and merchantable financial securities, and inventory. How to calculate net working capital is one of the main formulas that help an organization view itself on a financial standpoint.

This is estimated by deducting total current liabilities from total current assets. Assets and liabilities are measured current if they are anticipated to be used or paid within one year. Current assets comprise all of the liquid assets deliberated earlier. This include unsettled bills, installments on mortgages and loans due in the coming year, and amounts due to others that are not yet owed, such as salaries and interest. From the below instance, you will be able to understand how to calculate net working capital.


ABC Limited is a company taken over by Mr. XYZ from the previous owner and is concerned there will not be adequate funds to operate the business in the upcoming year. He is now finding how to calculate net working capital in order to locate himself in his business.

Below are the current assets and liabilities of ABC Limited:

Current assets:

  • Bank deposit – $500,000.00
  • Due from clients – $150,000.00
  • Inventory – $70,000.00

Current liabilities:

  • Dealers – $200,000.00
  • Mortgage yearly installment – $76,000.00

Formula: Total current assets – Total current liabilities = net working capital

Therefore, the net working capital of ABC Limited is $720,000.00 – $276,000.00 = $444,000.0

Working Capital Formula

Now we shall have a look at how to calculate change in net working capital (NWC)

Change is required to understand the differences, improvements, and progress a corporation has gone through over a period of time. There is an equation which shows how to calculate change in net working capital. It is the variance between the present year’s NWC from the last year’s NWC.

We have to follow the equation below to figure out the change between two years’ performances financially.

Formula: change in net working capital = present year’s   –   last year’s net working capital

                               Net working capital

You will first need to find current assets in the present and last year. This includes accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, inventory, and cash in hand. Step number two is to find out the current liabilities of present and last year. These are accounts payable, accumulated expenses, interest and expenses payable, delayed revenue, and salaries.

You then add all the current assets and liabilities in correspondence with its year. Once you find out the current assets and current liabilities for the respective years, estimate the NWC for the present year separately and the last year separately. Then you subtract the present year’s NWC from last year’s NWC to find out the change in NWC

One of the easiest ways to display the difference between two years using NWC is, Colgate’s balance sheet. Progress is one of the main concerns of any organization, institute, or corporation. It is one of the main reasons to start up a business, so you can progress financially. From year to year, any business owner would dream of succeeding and making more profit. Therefore, it is important to know the variance between two year’s liquidity and make sure to improve in areas as required.

What is net operating working capital?

Net operating working capital (NOWC) is a financial measure that determines a corporation’s operating liquidity by comparing operating assets to its operating liabilities. Before determining the organization’s leverage in terms of its ability to pay off its operational liabilities with its operational assets, let us see how to calculate net operating working capital through an example.


Let’s assume ABC’s corporation has the following assets on its balance sheet.

  • Cash: $110,000
  • Accounts Receivable: $200,000
  • Inventory: $510,000
  • Accounts Payable: $320,000
  • Accrued Expenses: $130,000

ABC would estimate his NOWC as follows:

$110,000 + $200,000 + $510,000 – $320,000 – $130,000 = $370,000

This means that ABC could pay off all of his operating liabilities with only a portion of his operating assets. Therefore, if his sellers or creditors called all of his debts at the same time, he would still be able to pay them off and still have a good amount of operating assets left to run the business. Calculating NOWC helps to find out how healthy and liquidized the business is and it also gives an assurance to the investors and creditors to work with you freely.

Net working capital and Balance Sheet

All the accounting formulas are made to find out the standpoint of an organization in terms of finance. Now let us see how to calculate net working capital from balance sheet. This is the way of determining an organization’s health in terms of finance. It is easy to calculate NWC from the balance sheet because current assets and current liabilities will be clearly accounted in the balance sheet.

Let us see what Balance Sheet means. It is a financial/ accounting statement that reflects an organization’s assets and liabilities at a specific time. It gives a pathway to analyze it and understand the status of the organization in a financial view. Using the balance sheet to estimate net working capital is the most efficient way of calculating NWC because the balance sheet has the entire set of information regarding the assets and charges.

It also helps to compare the previous and present year’s NWC to see the progress of the organization. It is one of the main reasons why balance sheets are maintained! It does not matter what kind of a company it is, or what size of a company it is. As long as the company is making money, it needs to know if its assets and liabilities are in the right place.

In conclusion, I would like to state that every company requires understanding where it stands financially on a regular basis. We as humans always tend to measure our progress in every aspect of life. Regardless of which field we work in or have businesses in, it is always our tendency to see where we are headed.

Net working investment is one of those measures where an organization finds out its financial capacity. It is also important that the liquidity of an organization is maintained in order to face crisis situations successfully. As a company owner, it is important to know how to calculate net working capital because it is the foundation of the organization.

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