Permanent or Fixed Working Capital

Permanent working capital is the minimum investment required in working capital irrespective of any fluctuation in business activity. Also known as fixed working capital, it is that level of net working capital below which it has never gone on any day in the financial year. Net working capital (NWC) means current assets less current liabilities. This term is important to be calculated for decisions relating financing mix of working capital and save the interest cost of the firm.


Effectively, 

NWC = Current Assets – Current Liabilities

NWC = Inventories + Account Receivables + Bank Balance + Cash Balance – Accounts Payables.

For smoothly running the business operating cycle, it is necessary to pay our obligations when due, satisfy the customer as and when a need arises, and improve and promote revenues of the business. For honoring the obligation, we need cash and bank balances as and when required.

For satisfying the customer needs, we need to maintain a minimum level of inventory and to generate revenue and improve customer relations, we have to extend credit and thereby maintain accounts receivables.

Therefore, it is clear from the above explanation, irrespective of the activity levels of the business, a minimum investment in the current asset is always required. This investment requirement is called permanent working capital.

How to Calculate Permanent Working Capital?

There is no formula for calculating the exact permanent working capital. It is an estimation based on the experience of the entrepreneur. Statistical data on the balance of all current assets and liabilities can help in deciding that level. We can plot the net working capital amount of each day in a table and find the lowest amount in it. In the example below, 2500 is the permanent working capital.

Types of Working Capital

Net Working Capital Permanent / Fixed Working Capital Temporary / Variable Working Capital Requirement

Types of Working Capital
Net Working Capital Permanent / Fixed Working Capital Temporary / Variable Working Capital Requirement
3000 2500 500
2500 2500 0
2800 2500 300
3200 2500 700

Permanent Working Capital is also not Permanent

Permanent or fixed working capital is also not fixed in the long term. As the business grows, it will also grow. We have shown two graphs one for businesses which are set and stable and there is not much change in sales, margin and other workings. Obviously, such businesses are rare. Another graph is for businesses are constantly growing and expanding.Permanent or Fixed Working Capital Graph

Types of Permanent Working Capital

Since we know that it is impossible to determine the exact amount of permanent working capitaley can also be further divided into following two:

Regular Working Capital

It is the permanent working capital which is normally required in the normal course of business for the working capital cycle to flow smoothly.

Reserve Working Capital

It is the working capital cushion which needs to be maintained over and above regular working capital for contingencies which may arise due to unexpected situations.

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Why is Classifying Working Capital as Permanent Working Capital Important?

The prime reason behind differentiating permanent working capital and temporary working capital is the decision relating to the financing mix of financing the working capital gap. After classifying as permanent working capital, we can finance the permanent part of working capital with the long-term sources of finance such equity, debenture, long-term loans etc. Long-term sources are cheaper than the short term sources of finance. This strategy of financing will save the cost of interest for the company.

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".

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