Average Collection Period Definition


By applying average accounts receivable calculations, companies can better ascertain how effective a business is in getting paid as quickly as possible by its buyers. That’s the average time the company has to wait to get paid by creditors.Enroll and advance your career with our certification programs and courses. K.A. Francis has been a freelance and small business owner for 20 years. She has been writing about personal finance and budgeting since 2008. She taught Accounting, Management, Marketing and Business Law at WV Business College and Belmont College and holds a BA and an MAED in Education and Training. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.

Definition Of Average Collection Period

It is slightly high when you consider that most companies try to collect payments within 30 days. Because Accounts Receivable are considered current assets, it’s good to know how much potential income the receivables are worth. It is also a good way to determine the ratio of cash-to-credit customers. This figure is important for a company that is considering seeking outside financing. An important benefit of calculating and monitoring DSO is that it encourages businesses to stay on top of unpaid invoices.These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

average collection period definition

The goal, by and large, is to get paid within an average collection period that is roughly 33% lower than the bill invoice payment date. In business, companies often have to wait for payments from customers, and that period is generally known as the average collection period. Therefore, the average customer takes approximately 51 days to pay their debt to the store.

What Do Efficiency Ratios Measure?

A lower average collection period is more favorable than a higher one because it indicates the organization is more efficient in collecting payments. But there is a downside to this, as it may indicate that its credit terms are too strict, which could cause it to lose customers to competitors with more lenient payment terms. Companies calculate the average collection period to ensure they have enough cash on hand to meet their financial obligations. Most businesses require invoices to be paid in about 30 days, so Company A’s average of 38 days means accounts are often overdue. A lower average, say around 26 days, would indicate collection is efficient and effective. The first thing to decide is the time period you want to calculate the average for. Many accountants will use a one-year period , or an accounting year .If the number is on the high side, you could be having trouble collecting your accounts. A high average collection period ratio could indicate trouble with your cash flows. As you can see in the example below, the accounts receivable balance is driven by the assumption that revenue takes approximately 10 days to be received . Therefore, revenue in each period is multiplied by 10 and divided by the number of days in the period to get the AR balance.

Why Is The Average Collection Period Important?

The collection period of credit sales is one of the most important keys performance indicators that closely and strictly monitor the board of directors, CEO and especially CFO. Adopt a rolling quarterly DSO calculation, so that sales for the past three months are compared to average receivables for the past three months. This approach is most useful when sales are highly variable throughout the year. You also can calculate and compare the average daily sales of different divisions or store locations to identify areas of strength and weakness. Sales allowances are basically discounts offered to customers for not requesting full refunds.It may mean that the company isn’t as efficient as it needs to be when staying on top of collecting accounts receivable. However, the figure can also represent that the company offers more flexible payment terms when it comes to outstanding payments. Calculate the accounts receivable turnover by dividing credit sales by the average opening and closing accounts receivable. The higher the turnover, the more efficiently the company collects amounts owed to it. Companies may also compare the average collection period with the credit terms extended to customers.The account receivable outstanding at the end of December 2015 is 20,000 USD and at the end of December 2016 is 25,000 USD. To better show the formula in action, consider the following example. Let’s say that Company ABC recorded a yearly accounts receivable balance of $25,000. After figuring out the total number of sales for May and then subtracting the sales returns and allowances, the cash sales are deducted, since you are focusing on credit sales for the period. After deducting the $80,000 in cash sales, Company Z has $105,000 in credit sales.Managerial accounting is the practice of analyzing and communicating financial data to managers, who use the information to make business decisions. But there is a downside to this, as it may mean that the company’s credit terms are too strict. Customers who don’t find their creditors’ terms very friendly may choose to seek suppliers or service providers with more lenient payment terms. In financial markets, liquidity refers to how quickly an investment can be sold without negatively impacting its price. The more liquid an investment is, the more quickly it can be sold , and the easier it is to sell it for fair value. All else being equal, more liquid assets trade at a premium and illiquid assets trade at a discount. Businesses wanting to grow can manage the process by knowing what each customer costs, and the revenue amount attached to each individual reached.

  • Suppose Company A’s leadership wants to determine the average collection period ratio for the last fiscal year.
  • On the other hand, a low accounts receivable turnover ratio suggests that the company’s collection process is poor.
  • By applying average accounts receivable calculations, companies can better ascertain how effective a business is in getting paid as quickly as possible by its buyers.
  • Inventory turnover is a financial ratio that measures a company’s efficiency in managing its stock of goods.
  • Ideally, companies have a target in sight for buyer payment time frames, and the average collection period calculation provides the data that shines a light on that time frame.

Zach Lazzari is a freelance writer with extensive experience in startups and digital advertising. He has a diverse background with a strong presence in the digital marketing world. Zach has developed and sold multiple successful web properties and manages marketing for multiple clients in the outdoor industry. He has published business content in Angling Trade Magazine and writes white papers and case studies for multiple corporate partners.

What Is The Best Dso Ratio For Your Business?

Although cash on hand is important to every business, some rely more on their cash flow than others. Now Company A has all of the information it needs to calculate the ratio.

A Strategic Financial Tool

For instance, if a business is cycling cash flow faster, it can more easily qualify for credit or loans, at better interest rates, and with more reputable lenders and investors. The statements made herein are provided solely for general informational purposes and should not be relied upon for any purpose. Please refer to the actual policy or the relevant product or services agreement for the governing terms. Nothing herein should be construed to create any right, obligation, advice or responsibility on the part of Atradius, including any obligation to conduct due diligence of buyers or on your behalf. If Atradius does conduct due diligence on any buyer it is for its own underwriting purposes and not for the benefit of the insured or any other person. To learn more and expand your career, explore the additional relevant resources below.Sales revenue represents the money a company generates from selling products and services, with which it must pay operating expenses and creditors. Rising sales can help a business achieve a competitive position in its industry, while decreasing sales may cause a company to look for new sources of revenue. Finally, if a company had a lot of account receivables, it might be worth considering offering discounts to customers who pay off their accounts in 30 days or less.

What Is The Accounts Receivable Collection Period?

For example, the company could offer a 2 percent discount, if the balance is settled in 20 days. The term average collection period refers to the amount of time it takes for a business to receive payments owed by its clients in terms of accounts receivable . Companies use the average collection period to make sure they have enough cash on hand to meet their financial obligations. The average collection period ratio is closely related to your accounts receivable turnover ratio.In some regions, such as Scandinavia, prompt payment is a cultural expectation and DSO tends to be fairly low. There is also a variation in average DSO between sectors, with the finance sector usually applying fairly long payment terms and the agri-food and fuel sectors usually operating short payment terms. According to the rules of average accounts receivables, that company would have converted its accounts receivables two times, as it received two times the figure of average receivables. The calculation of this ratio involves averages of account receivable and net credit sales. Days sales outstanding is most useful when compared to the standard number of days that customers are allowed before payment is due.Similar companies should produce similar financial metrics, so the average collection period can be used as a benchmark against another company’s performance. Next, they’ll divide this number over $500,000, the net credit sales. This gives them 37.96, meaning it takes them, on average, almost 38 days to collect accounts.The average collection period is an indicator of the effectiveness of a firm’s AR management practices and is an important metric for companies that rely heavily on receivables for their cash flows. The best DSO for your business depends entirely on your business, your sector, your geographical location and cash flow, and is likely to change over time.It indicates the effectiveness of a company’s AR management practices. Full BioAmy is an ACA and the CEO and founder of OnPoint Learning, a financial training company delivering training to financial professionals. She has nearly two decades of experience in the financial industry and as a financial instructor for industry professionals and individuals. Settlement date is used in the securities industry to refer to the period between the transaction date when an order is executed to the settlement date. Get CFI’s CBCA™ certification and become a Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst.