The Hackett Group's “2018 Working Capital Survey”reveals a massive opportunity to free up over $1.5 trillion in cashacross the United States and Europe. (See Figure 1, below.) Thisopportunity is cash tied up in receivables and payables. In theUnited States, the receivables and payables opportunities represent$334 billion and $358 billion, respectively. The opportunities inEurope are a similar size.

Accessing this cash to show a healthy balance sheet is theprimary driver for year-end gamesmanship, also known as the“dash for cash.” The result may well meet market andshareholder expectations and have a positive impact on share price.However, playing the year-end game is successful only for the shortterm.

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