Liquidity is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that. : How does working capital management affect the profitability of Swedish SMEs?
Abstract: Abstract Master Thesis in Business Finance, School of Economics, Linnaeus University Authors: Adis Cikotic and Eric Hörnell Supervisor: Magnus Willesson Examiner: Andreas Jansson Title: "Liquidity is not a matter of life and death, it is more important than that" Background: One of the biggest concerns for Swedish small and medium businesses is their lack of capital, which might lead to lower profitability. A significant reason behind this is said to be the buyer's long payment terms contrary to the supplier's payment terms for their own expenses, which increases the risk of an imbalance between the inflows and outflows of money. This situation occurs due to, for example, power relations and institutional factors, which might affect a firm's Cash Conversion Cycle and furthermore the firm's profitability. Purpose: The primary purpose of the thesis is to examine whether the length of a firm's Cash Conversion Cycle has an impact on the profitability of Swedish SMEs. Moreover, the purpose is to determine if the presence of Buyers Power affects a firm's profitability. Method: The thesis has a deductive research approach where the theories applied, Cash Conversion Cycle and Buyers Power, lead to the formulated hypotheses. The quantitative research methodology is based on a data set of approximately 38 000 Swedish SME's between the years 2015-2018. Conclusions: It could be seen that there is a concave relationship between firm's Cash Conversion Cycle and a firm's profitability for Swedish SMEs. The interpretation is therefore that both too short and too long Cash Conversion Cycle is not optimal, and the optimal length of the Cash Conversion Cycle is 36 days for Swedish SMEs. Moreover, the result showed that a presence of Buyers Power has a positive relationship with profitability, meaning that a larger ratio between a firm's accounts receivables and accounts payables increases the firm's profitability.
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