Allensbach poll on working capital

One in five businesses needs outside capital

Only one third of the small and mid-sized companies are currently endeavoring to reduce their working capital. On the other hand, 62 percent of the companies with more than 1,000 employees want to optimize their net current assets.

That was the result of a poll by the Institut für Demoskopie (Institute for Public Opinion Polls and Research) in Allensbach and the Kerkhoff Competence Center of Supply Chain Management at the University of St. Gallen, on behalf of the consultancy Kerkhoff Consulting. "Especially German small and mid-sized businesses underestimate that they can more favorably refinance themselves by reducing their working capital", says Gerd Kerkhoff, Managing Director of the consultancy Kerkhoff Consulting. For investments, one in five of the small and mid-sized businesses must predominantly fall back on outside capital, whereas the rate is one in ten for large companies with more than 1,000 employees. For capital procurement, 84 percent of small and mid-sized businesses primarily use bank credits, while 21 percent finance their investments via shareholder loans.

For a reduction of their net current assets, companies especially concentrate on three measures: 94 percent rely on a reduction of their stock inventories. Large companies with more than 1,000 employees more frequently use the possibility of reducing their receivables (79 percent) than small and mid-sized businesses (55 percent). One third of the small and mid-sized businesses working on the optimization of their working capital increase their supplier liabilities – for large companies, it's nearly one half.

For a long-term reduction of the working capital, the entire added value chain needs to be optimized. "In purchasing, it's first of all necessary to change payment terms so that goods received will have to be paid as late as possible", says Kerkhoff. When tying into the IT systems of companies, suppliers may be given the responsibility for inventory control, for example. About 500 deciders from German companies were polled. DSZ