Working Capital vs Investing Capital

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What is Working Capital vs Investing Capital?

In the performance of their duties, financial analysts often need to distinguish between working capital vs investing capital. Working capital, also referred to as net-working capital or NWC, represents the difference between an organization’s current assets (e.g., cash, inventory, accounts receivable) and its current liabilities (e.g., accounts payable). Working capital serves as a measure of a company’s liquidity.

Working Capital vs Investing Capital

On the other hand, investing capital is an amount of money given to an organization to achieve its business objectives. The term also refers to the acquisition of tangible long-term assets, such as manufacturing plants, real estate, and machinery.


  • Working capital (WC) is represented as the difference between an organization’s current assets (e.g., cash, inventories of raw materials and finished goods, accounts receivable) and its current liabilities (e.g., accounts payable).
  • Current assets include cash, inventory, accounts receivable, and other assets that are expected to be turned into cash or liquidated in less than a year.
  • Current liabilities contain taxes payable, accounts payable, wages, and the current portion of long-term debt.

What is Working Capital?

Working capital measures a business’s operational efficiency, liquidity, and financial health in the short term. If a company shows enough positive working capital, then it can potentially grow and invest, using the capital at its disposal. If an organization’s current assets are less than its current liabilities, it may encounter challenges to pay back creditors or expand the business. Also, the company can even go bankrupt.

As mentioned earlier, the working capital is calculated by taking the company’s current assets and subtracting its current liabilities. Current assets are assets that are expected to be turned into cash or liquidated in less than a year. Current liabilities are also due within twelve months.

Most major projects, such as expansion into new markets or in production, require a working capital investment. It reduces the company’s cash flow. Nevertheless, the cash level will also decrease if sales volumes are decreasing or money is being collected very slowly, which leads to a similar decline in accounts receivable.

What is Investing Capital?

The investing capital term is broadly used and can be defined in two different ways:

  • An individual, a financial institution, or a venture capital group can make a capital investment in a company. A sum of money is provided in return for its repayment promise or profit shares down the road, or as a loan. In this context, capital is referred to as cash.
  • Company executives can make a capital investment in the business. They acquire long-term assets that will help the business expand faster or run more efficiently. In this context, capital refers to physical assets.

In both cases, the money for investment capital must be provided from somewhere. A new enterprise may seek investing capital from different sources, including angel investors, venture capital firms, and regular financial institutions. The capital will be further utilized to develop and market its products. When a new enterprise goes public, it is obtaining investing capital on a large scale from various investors.

An established organization may make a capital investment by seeking a loan from a bank or using its cash reserves. If it is a public company, it can consider issuing bonds to finance investing capital.

A decision by a company to make a capital investment is related to its long-term growth strategy. Investing capital is generally made to occupy a larger share in the market, increase operational capacity, and generate more revenues. The organization may make the investing capital in the form of an equity stake in another organization’s complementary operations for the same goals.

To measure whether the success of a capital investment, the return on invested capital ratio (ROIC) is used. The higher the ROIC is, the more a company profits on the amount initially invested. The formula for ROIC is given below:

ROIC Formula

If ROIC is more than the company’s WACC, then it creates value for its shareholders because it earns more than it borrows.

Additional Resources

CFI is the official provider of the global Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional resources below will be useful:

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