1.1 General introduction and background of the study
The management of an organization’s capital relates to the finance and investment of non-human resources, that is, physical and monetary assets, for the purpose of maximum benefit in terms of profitability. According to Frear (1980) profitability is determined in part by the way in which a company manages its working capital elements, especially the company’s management policies in respect of cash and account receivable/payable. Basically, there would be a drop in profit if the basic element of working capital were raised without a corresponding rise introduction or margins. So one of the principal functions of a financial manager is to provide the arrect amount of each elements of working capital at the right time and in the appropriate place to realize the greatest return on investment. A business which is basically profitable in a capital intensive industry with high level of inventory turnover but does not have an effective/efficient policies for it's’ working capital constituents, especially cash, can easily be stopped by a temporary set-back into liquidation because it has no room to maneuver. Traditionally, the users of accounting information, especially the external users are interested in notions of solvency and liquidity as criteria for assessing credit worthiness. In recent years, cash and trade credit management has become the most important sector of financial management in many trading and manufacturing organizations. At one time, it was possible for a business to survive without proper cash management policies as well as lay down policies for accounts receivable (trade debtors) as long as it was reasonably profitable. Accounting to Bennel (1989) prior to 1970’s; trade credit was not a dominant feature of conducting business and procurement of fund were largely easily were not exploited to its fullest use. Today however, this has not generally been the case and many highly profitable companies have had liquidity. Problems and some have gone into liquidations, largely because of lack of appropriate cash and credit management policies/techniques. In these circumstances, business executives now attach a high decree of importance to the cash and accounts receivable management function. In large organizations, the financial director or treasurer is usually in charge of the management of cash resources and in introducing appropriate systems that will ensure adequate working flow that enable the economy to remain liquid at all times. Illiquidity problems could be found in all types of companies and not restricted to small inefficient firms. In some cases, large well known companies have experiences illiquidity problems and in some few instances, liquidation proceedings and eventual demise of such organizations. The current wave to distress in our financial sectors (Banks and insurance companies) provides a good background to illiquidity problems arising from inefficies in cash and credit management policies in spite of their profitability. Today, several of these institutions have been liquidated.
These developments have naturally had an effect on credit and cash management policies and it is therefore considered to be particularly important that the reasons behind these liquidity problems should be appreciated; using Anambra motor company ltd – a manufacturing organization as a case study. The choice of this organization is the relevant, which cash and credit management policies bear to its operation.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Many profitable organizations are forced into untimely liquidation, bankruptcy and experience work stoppages as a result of strike action and consequently operate at losses not because the business is not profitable but due to inefficient utilization of cash and other material resources at its disposal. Moreover, majority of business transactions are conducted credit basis and this has always increased the volume of account receivable (debtor) and a substantial amount of these receivable are lost daily through bad and doubtful debts. The resultant effect is that companies have huge amount of its fund tied to un-collectables, hence a state of illiquidity can arise. Therefore, the continued existence of a firm/company, its survival and growth depends, among other factors on how best the firm utilizes its available cash resources and the efficient management of its collectable as the neglect of these highly important core of management are could soon lead to a state of insolvency due to illiquidity problems. The study is therefore designed to evaluate the essence of efficient cash and credit management policies existing in Anambra motor company limited
1.3 Objective of study
Realizing the high rate of failed / distressed organization in the financial sector and the manufacturing sectors of the economy due to illiquidity and problems and the fact that factors responsible for such distressed conditions had not been properly addressed, the specific objectives of the study are to find out:
i. The magnitude to which cash and collectibles bear to the firm’s total working capital
ii. To discuss as far as possible the extent to which improper management of cash resources and accounts receivable can create illiquidity/ a state of insolvency in a business outfit.
iii. To evaluate the extent to which an organization that requires regular use of cash resources that can ensure regularity in its liquidity management through the technique of cash flow budgeting.
iv. To assess the adequacy of cash and credit management policies of the case study
v. On the basis of the findings of the study, propose a comprehensive and effective cash/credit policies (package) that would made for an effective management of cash and account receivable as a way off insolvency and eventual liquidation.
1.4 Research question
The following research questions have been designed to address the detailed area of the study and will serve as a guide to the researcher on the issue of the study.
i. Why are most profitable organization experiencing liquidity problems in spite of large turnover and better profit margin?
ii. Why is cash management an essential variable in determining the continuous existence and growth of business organization?
iii. What are the techniques that can lead to efficient cash management?
iv. How can a company achieve efficiency and effective collective of receivable.
v. When should a company grant credit to its customers?
vi. What are the likely consequences of refusing credit?
vii. When should a company stop further credit facilities to customers?
viii. What are the likely consequences of not collecting receivables as at when due?
ix. How can cash budgeting/ preparation of flow statements ensure adequate cash availability to solve liquidity problems?
x. What are the consequences of not using cash projections techniques for cash planning and control?
xi. How can a company determine the optimum cash balance to meet liquidity requirements?
xii. Should a company charge interest on over due accounts?
These and others are the area in which this study intends to explore.
1.5 Working hypothesis
According to Spiege (1972) “a research hypothesis is an assumption, statement or suggestion about the population under consideration”.
Omololaijie (1986) defined hypothesis as a suggested investigation”
Consequently, the following hypothesis will be used in this study:
1. Illiquidity and insolvency is a result of bad credit and cash management policies.
2. Profitable organizations do not face liquidity problems since they made huge amount of profit
3. liquidity problems are due to lack of cash planning and budgeting system
4. granting cash discount has no significant effect on the ability of debtors to pay their debts.
1.6 Significance of the study
This research project will be of great importance to the company management and other corporate bodies as well as the general public as investors. This way which this study has been planned and carried out will offer enough information and explanation to all those engaged in the management of an organization either as financial managers or financial controllers.
Furthermore, this study is expected to offer a secondary source of data to many students/ researchers in the are of working capital management.
1.7 Scope and limitation of the study.