The impact of financial cycle on profitability for wholesale trading companies
Effective working capital management is particularly important for wholesale companies and influences both the profitability and liquidity. However, empirical articles which analyze the relationship between profitability, liquidity and working capital management are typical for the English-language literature, while Russian-language articles are mainly theoretical and rarely contain the results of statistical analysis of a large number of companies. An empirical study in this article is based on the data of 9 300 Russian wholesale companies for the period of 2013–2017. The results prove the existence of a nonlinear relationship between the return on assets and the financial cycle, which characterizes the efficiency of working capital management. It helped to estimate the value of the optimum financial cycle at which the company's profitability becomes maximum. According to the model, the optimum financial cycle is equal to 17 days for wholesale trade companies. Finally, the formula of the financial cycle was modified to show that financial cycle depends on two factors: current ratio and current assets turnover. It demonstrates that move to the optimal value of financial cycle depends on two factors: the current value of the financial cycle and the agreed change in current ratio and current assets turnover. The formula allows to assess the impact of each factor on the financial cycle, as well as to take into account the necessity to maintain a certain level of liquidity. Thus, the findings on working capital management are based on the results of statistical analysis of data on companies and take into account the country specifics. The results can be used in working capital management for wholesale companies, while this approach may be developed for other sectors of the economy.