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Effective Working Capital Management and Optimal Synchronization of Cash Flows

How do firms choose their operating cycle? How do firms choose their cash conversion cycle? What is the impact of firm’s operating cycle on the size and periodicity of investments in receivables and inventories? How do seasonal and cyclical trends affect firm’s operating cycle, cash conversion cycle and investments in current assets? These strategic policy questions relate to optimal cash flows synchronization and effective working capital management designed to maximize the wealth producing capacity of the enterprise.

In this review, we will examine some pertinent and extant academic literature on effective working capital management and provide some operational guidance to small business enterprises. The shorter the cash conversion cycle, the smaller the size of the firm’s investment in inventories and receivables and consequently the less the firm’s financing needs. Although setting ending cash balances is, to a large extent, judgmental, some analytical rules can be applied to assist effective formulation of better judgments and optimize cash flow management.

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