How can payments improve your working capital? Part I

| 6-4-2017 | Olivier Werlingshoff |

Working Capital is the term for the operating liquidity of a company that can be used and is needed to continue the day to day business. To calculate the working capital you have to deduct the current liabilities from the current assets. By managing your account receivables, accounts payables and inventory you can fluctuate your cash position and optimize your working capital so that the cash “trapped” in the company can be lowered to a minimum while you are still able to meet your payment agreements.

The way you are making or receiving payments can have influence on the trapped cash and therefore can influence your working capital.In a few articles we will dive into the world of payments and explain the influence on working capital. In this first article we will discuss the wire transfers within the EU and cross border.

Wire Transfer

With SEPA all payments in the EU are considered as a local payment. To minimize your banking process time with bank transfers you don’t need to open local bank accounts in the different countries in the EU anymore. If you have a customer in, let’s assume Spain and you agreed on a payment term of 30 days, you send your invoice by mail as soon as the  client signed the contract. At that moment your working capital will increase with the amount until the moment the amount is paid into your bank account.

You can mention on your invoice that payments can be done by transfer to your IBAN number in The Netherlands. The maximum processing time will be one banking business day if you send the payment instruction before the cut off time of your bank. This means that if the client is doing the payment on Friday before the cut off time, mostly 3.30 PM, the amount will be on your account on Monday. Otherwise you will receive it on Tuesday.

Risk of non-payment
With wire transfers you still have the risk of nonpayment by you customer. Within the SEPA area you can also use Direct Debits. With this type of payment you can be the one who initiates the payment and if your client accepts, your money could be on your account after the agreed payment term of 30 days. Furthermore Direct debits can’t be reversed by your client when you use the Business variant.

Cross border
If you have a client in the US, you will also send him the invoice by mail to skip the postage process. You can ask him to transfer the amount to your IBAN number. The client will probably convert the amount in his own currency and make an international transfer. With a cross border transfer you will have different costs: the outgoing transfer cost, the incoming transfer cost and also even sometimes correspondent bank costs. Besides the high costs, payments can even take a week before reaching your bank account.

What is the effect on your working capital? Because it takes a long time before you get paid, your accounts payables will increase and the “days sales outstanding” will be longer than the 30 days you agreed on.
When you have a lot of international clients in one specific country you can make a calculation whether opening a local account in the country of your clients could be profitable for you. To avoid correspondent cost you can choose a bank that has connections with your main bank.
After receiving the money on your local account there are some instruments you can use to sweep the balance to your main account in The Netherlands, those products are called pooling techniques.

In the next articles we will focus on payments by internet, credit – and debit cards but also payment on delay and trade products.

Olivier Werlingshoff - editor treasuryXL
Olivier Werlingshoff

Owner of WERFIAD




More articles from this author:

Managing cash across borders

How to improve cash awareness without targets



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