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written by | September 6, 2022

Sinking Funds - Meaning, Types, Importance, and Purposes

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Sinking funds are valuable for fulfilling working capital needs. These funds are an essential element of the financial management of commercial companies, organisations, and governments for future expenditures. They help offset cash flow shortfalls over time. It plays a vital role in improving the company's cash position, rather than just being a temporary solution to keep the business running.

High net-worth individuals and institutions often use sinking funds to diversify their investments. The idea behind sinking funds is not expecting to return all your capital but at least protecting from significant losses if something goes wrong with the acquisition.

Did you know?

In 1716, Robert Walpole used sinking funds, which came from the commercial tax syndicates of the Italian peninsula, followed by the 1720s and 1730s.

What Is A Sinking Fund?

Sinking funds are a type of account that holds money for a specific purpose, such as retirement or education. The funds are nothing but invested securities that do not produce income but will pay out when the funds are needed.

Also read: What are Business Proposals? How to Write One Effectively? Explained in Detail

They are similar to pension funds, except that they are usually used to build up the capital structure of a business. Sinking funds can align as an in-year expense account, or a separate pool of money only used when revenues fall short of expenses. In this case, the warranties and withdrawals from such statements go smoothly because of regulation and strict rules.

Sometimes referred to as depreciation funds, they are specific accounts that address an immediate need or a negative cash flow. It is separate from the general funds. Sinking funds are usually in short-term investments or bonds. It can be withdrawn in conditions such as equipment purchases or unexpected capital expenditures. The sinking fund has a specific period, typically five years or less, to finance the replacement needs of the entity and is appropriate as needed. 

A sinking fund comes in a list of noncurrent or long-term assets on a company's balance sheet and includes them in the listing for long-term or other investments.

For investments, sinking funds allow for a steady and safe withdrawal of capital, primarily when used in types of debt. Nevertheless, the disadvantage would be that you have to wait forever to get your return, depending on its duration.

Uses Of Sinking Funds

  • A sinking fund is a fiscal tool of the Government that deposits a certain fixed amount of money periodically to liquidate its outstanding debt
  • The sinking fund is not only used for taking care of a risky debt but also used for different purposes like maintenance, construction, and so on. 
  • Suppose a company has a certain amount of profit that cannot distribute because some projects will complete soon. In that case, diverting some percentage towards the sinking fund is better than distributing all the money to shareholders.
  • Sinking funds effectively can maximise investment potential and provide more flexibility when liquidating some or all of your investment.
  • Sinking funds is a constructive tool for project management in construction projects.

Purpose of Sinking Funds

  1. Providing for the depreciation and obsolescence of tangible assets
  2. To decide whether or not to accelerate depreciation when deemed in the company's best interest.
  3. To prevent the owner from losing their investment.
  4. It helps to provide a safe place for the money invested in the fund.
  5. Sinking funds are an accounting device used to set up an escrow account to fund future expenditures such as repairs and replacements before the actual occurrence or at a predetermined date, which is helpful with or without interest earned on the escrowed funds.
  6. To provide sufficient resources for future needs by taking advantage of rising asset values. If it were not, the business would have to spend its available cash on operations leading to higher losses in the long run.
  7. It provides liquidity while protecting the organisation from price fluctuations and market conditions. 
  8. It helps to protect against liquidity risk by providing some cushion against sudden changes in demand or supply. It helps to protect against loss. 
  9. Many investors use sinking funds when they invest in stocks or other types of investments. 

Importance of Sinking Funds

The insurance industry most commonly uses sinking funds. It is helpful to cover an organisation's liability and liabilities associated with the activities of its member's insurance companies using sinking funds. They are mainly used to protect against the possibility of large claims or losses, which can arise from natural disasters and other events that are not predictable or within the control of the insurance company.

Businesses, governments, and other organisations primarily use sinking funds to secure financial resources for future expenditure. Sinking funds ensure stations do not run out of money during high spending or low revenue. They also help limit risk because they provide a predictable source of long-term funding for projects.

Also read: Types of Business - Different Types of Businesses One Must Know

Sinking Fund Examples

  1. A company has been given a contract to build a new factory but does not have enough money in its operating account to pay for it. To avoid defaulting on payments under this contract, the company can set up a sinking fund using some of its profits generated from other agreements it has signed over time.
  2. Suppose an organisation has established a bond of maturity of 10 years, which needs to pay the amount after ten years. In that case, a company begins to put some money from the starting on regular intervals into a sinking fund, so at the end of 10 years, the company can pay on time.
  3. Organisations that are capital intensive usually issue long-term bonds to fund purchases of new plants and equipment. Oil and gas organisations are capital intensive because they require significant capital or money to fund long-term operations such as oil rigs and drilling equipment.

Types of Sinking Funds

Specific Purpose Sinking Fund

A specific purpose sinking fund is when an organisation uses the sinking fund for a particular purpose and does not use the fund for anything else.  

Regular Payment Sinking Fund

These sinking funds help send payments to the trustee or the other essential members regularly.

Purchase Back Sinking Fund

The organisation uses this fund to purchase the bond. Bonds from the bondholder can be from two different ways. One is buying bonds by market price, and another one is buying bonds by sinking fund prices. 

Callable Bond Sinking Fund

In this sinking fund, businesses or organisations have a specific call price, and its uses mainly depend on the necessity and requirements. 

Advantages of Sinking Funds

  • It helps a company to redeem its liabilities well before the due date.
  • This fund helps the company redeem the bond or any liability mid-term.
  • Sinking funds allow a company to boost the investors by increasing the investment in the business or company.
  • Sinking funds can also help to satisfy financial planning and reporting requirements that require good cash management.
  • Sinking funds for investments allows for a steady and safe withdrawal of capital, mainly when used in types of debt. 

Disadvantages of Sinking Funds

  • A company or business uses the sinking funds to redeem the bonds or liability midway when investors lack the interest for a period. Thereby chances of losing the investors are high.
  • Investors start losing interest in the business when an organisation buys the bonds at a discount or per the price.
  • Uncertainty to investors will arrive when the organisation has the chance to buy back the bonds or liabilities, and investors won’t be able to take advantage.

Also read: Business Model Meaning - What Is Business Model? Types, Importance & Advantages of Business Model

Conclusion

Sinking funds are significant because they allow a company or organisation to balance the use of assets for the short-term and long-term. A sinking fund can be helpful for anything from medical equipment, office equipment, a vehicle, or appliances for the break room. The money put into the sinking fund is used to purchase the item over time until it gets fully paid. A sinking fund is one of several methods businesses use to ensure that bonds, notes, or convertible debentures issued to finance new projects will get paid off as they mature.

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FAQs

Q: What is the difference between sinking funds and savings?

Ans:

Savings are funds kept aside for non-specific works savings. It can be anything. But in the case of sinking funds, they are funds held aside to pay the bond liability in advance or at maturity

Q: How do sinking funds help organisations?

Ans:

Sinking funds are the funds kept aside to pay off debt and bonds. The organization-formed debt needs to pay off in the future, so these sinking funds are the opportunity to pay that debt or bonds. They are helping in loosening the stress of spending large amounts.

Q: How are sinking funds created?

Ans:

Corporations will combine the funds and the sinking fund formed during the leading years of the maturity of the bonds. These funds allow the business to float debt in the form of bonds or liabilities to save money and avoid the risk of paying a large amount at the bond's maturity.

Q: Who benefits from the sinking fund?

Ans:

Sinking funds are beneficial for small businesses. The sinking funds contribute to the company's creditworthiness, resulting in lower interest rates for investors. It eventually benefits the increase in the business's net income and cash flow.

Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.
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Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.