An analysis of working capital efficiency and shareholder return

Greg Filbeck, Xin Zhao, Ryan Knoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Since 1997, CFO Magazine has published a ranking of 1000 companies in its “Working Capital Scorecard.” Our research explores the question as to whether working capital management practices based on the accounting metrics used by CFO Magazine serve as a basis for investor-based strategies for superior return generation. We examine the stock performance of top ranked companies from 1997 to 2012 against benchmark portfolios. Controlling for market, market capitalization, book to market, momentum factors, liquidity factors, and corporate governance; the higher ranked firms produce statistically higher excess returns than bottom ranked firms. In bull market periods, firms with superior working capital management outperformed their counterparts on a raw and risk-adjusted basis. These top ranked firms also provide statistically significant active returns regardless of market cycle. In sum, our results indicate that shareholders reward firms with superior working capital management strategies with higher raw and risk-adjusted performance over longer holding periods across the economic cycle especially in bear markets cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-288
Number of pages24
JournalReview of Quantitative Finance and Accounting
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Finance


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