Only 53% of companies plan to focus on improving working capital in 2013

Cheapest source of incremental cash flow potentially being overlooked

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - While 80% of Canada's financial executives remain focused on increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs this year, only 53% are looking at ways to improve working capital. That could be a missed opportunity, according to a new Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF) study sponsored by Ernst & Young.

"The importance of effective working capital management is often overlooked," says Michael Conway, Chief Executive and National President of Financial Executives International (FEI) Canada. "Skillful cash management and good cash forecasting are keys to the successful financing of any enterprise."

Working capital optimization, published by CFERF, the research arm of FEI Canada, found 48% of companies undertook a working capital improvement program and, of those that did, 69% said they achieved a high success rate. Although businesses remain highly focused on cost reduction (80%), profitability improvement (75%) and system implementations (50%), the findings suggest that a balanced approach to managing competing priorities can generate significant returns.

"The impact of cash flow should ultimately be ingrained in all initiatives," explains Simon Rockcliffe, Senior Manager, Working Capital Advisory Services at Ernst & Young. "Anything from renegotiating supplier contracts to reducing manufacturing waste can have an impact on working capital performance, so it makes sense to ensure that impact is considered and the results optimized, both in the short- and long-term."

The survey also found companies that tended to be more proactive - by executing improvement initiatives, reviewing performance more frequently and reporting more accurate cash forecasts - were the ones that placed high importance on working capital management.

"Too often, working capital management has become a reactive, month-end or even window dressing exercise," adds Rockcliffe. "While there's no silver bullet for improving working capital performance, every organization should adopt a tailored approach if they hope to enhance overall business performance."

"Finance executives have many competing priorities moving into 2013 and management's time will become ever more precious," adds Conway. "But ensuring a focus on cash and working capital can have substantial payback, rapidly generating liquidity that can be reinvested into the business."

About the survey
The study comprises the results of an online survey of Canadian financial executives in November 2012. Further insights were gathered at executive roundtables in Toronto and Montreal. More than half (56%) of respondents were CFOs, and 17% held the title of VP Finance. Respondents were drawn from a wide range of industry groups and sectors. Of respondents, 55% were from private companies, and 35% from public.

About the Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation
CFERF is the non-profit research institute of FEI Canada. The foundation's mandate is to advance the profession and practices of financial management through research. CFERF undertakes objective research projects relevant to the needs of Canada's senior financial executives in working toward the advancement of corporate efficiency in Canada.

About Financial Executives International Canada
FEI Canada is the all-industry professional membership association for senior financial executives. With 11 chapters across Canada and 1,800 members, it provides professional development, thought leadership and advocacy services to its members. The association membership, which consists of chief financial officers, audit committee directors and senior executives in the finance, controller, treasury and taxation functions, represents a significant number of Canada's leading and most influential corporations.

For more information, please visit

About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

For more information, please visit

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.

SOURCE: Ernst & Young

For further information:

Ernst & Young:

Erika Bennett
416 943 5497

Julie Fournier
514 874 4308 

Sarah Shields
604 648 3607

FEI Canada:

Christian Bellavance
416-366-3007 Ext. 5114

Profil de l'entreprise

Ernst & Young

Renseignements sur cet organisme


Jetez un coup d’œil sur nos forfaits personnalisés ou créez le vôtre selon vos besoins de communication particuliers.

Commencez dès aujourd'hui .


Remplissez un formulaire d'adhésion à CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1-877-269-7890.


Demandez plus d'informations sur les produits et services de CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1‑877-269-7890.