What Is Days Sales Outstanding? How To Calculate And Improve Dso


Don’t dip too low or too high, rather find a sweet spot that provides the necessary cash flow you need to grow. A higher receivables turnover ratio reflects a more efficient A/R department. Many clients may be accustomed to making payments using a certain method, which can create friction when it’s time for them to pay their bills. Offering a wide range of payment options can help eliminate this common barrier to getting paid on time. Another way to improve your cash flow is to require a deposit before starting work, or to agree payment terms that require progress payments. Both upfront deposits and progress payments, which are delivered based on the completion of a specific part of the work you’re doing for a client, can help you get paid faster for your work. When you discover past-due accounts, take action to remind clients of their overdue payments.

what is days sales outstanding? how to calculate and improve dso

Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation.

Days Sales Outstanding Template

If your DSO begins to climb, it may mean more of your cash is tied up in accounts receivable. Net Profit Margin (also known as “Profit Margin” or “Net Profit Margin Ratio”) is a financial ratio used to calculate the percentage of profit a company produces from its total revenue. It measures the amount of net profit a company obtains per dollar of revenue gained. Accounts receivable is the balance of money due to a firm for goods or services delivered or used but not yet paid for by customers.In many businesses, the days sales outstanding number can be a valuable indicator of the efficiency of the business and the quality of its cash flow. If the number gets too high, it could even disrupt the normal operations of the business, causing its own outstanding payments to be delayed. DSO is not particularly useful in comparing companies with significant differences in the proportion of sales that are made on credit. The DSO of a company with a low proportion of credit sales does not indicate much about that company’s cash flow. Comparing such companies with those that have a high proportion of credit sales also says little. A high turnover ratio could indicate a credit policy, an aggressive collections department, a number of high-quality customers, or a combination of those factors.

Request Payment As Soon As You Notice Outstanding Accounts

The more often customers pay off their invoices, the more cash is available to the firm to pay bills and debts, and less possibility that customers will never pay at all. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today. Our priority at The Blueprint is helping businesses find the best solutions to improve their bottom lines and make owners smarter, happier, and richer. That’s why our editorial opinions and reviews are ours alone and aren’t inspired, endorsed, or sponsored by an advertiser. Editorial content from The Blueprint is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. The calculation indicates that the company requires 60.8 days to collect a typical invoice. Similarly to decisions about payment terms, you can also make decisions about the credit requirements of your clients.Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.

  • In many businesses, the days sales outstanding number can be a valuable indicator of the efficiency of the business and the quality of its cash flow.
  • Business owners should assess days sales outstanding alongside other KPIs and financial ratios to get a full understanding of business health.
  • The period of time used to measure DSO can be monthly, quarterly, or annually.
  • Accounts receivable DSO is a daily average measurement that is often assessed annually.
  • The measurement can be used internally to monitor the approximate amount of cash invested in receivables.
  • If a company has a volatile DSO, this may be cause for concern, but if its DSO regularly dips during a particular season each year, it could be no reason to worry.

Days sales outstanding is also sometimes referred to as “days sales in receivable”. The days sales outstanding formula shows investors and creditors how well companies’ can collect cash from their customers. This ratio measures the number of days it takes a company to convert its sales into cash. A low receivable turnover may be caused by a loose or nonexistent credit policy, an inadequate collections function, and/or a large proportion of customers having financial difficulties. A low turnover level could also indicate an excessive amount of bad debt and therefore an opportunity to collect excessively old accounts receivable that are unnecessarily tying up working capital. In other words, it shows how well a company can collect cash from its customers.

Limitations Of Days Sales Outstanding

Days sales outstanding measures the average number of days it takes a business to collect payment from their customers. Similar to the accounts receivable turnover ratio, the DSO ratio can be measured monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the volume of credit sales your company has. This calculation shows the liquidity and efficiency of a company’s collections department. It is possible that within the average accounts receivable balances some receivables are 60, 90, or even 120 days or more past due that are skewing the average. Therefore, it is best to review an aging of accounts receivable by customer to understand the detail behind the days’ sales in accounts receivable ratio.Days sales outstanding is the average number of days that receivables remain outstanding before they are collected. It is used to determine the effectiveness of a company’s credit and collection efforts in allowing credit to customers, as well as its ability to collect from them. The measurement can be used internally to monitor the approximate amount of cash invested in receivables. It is possible that within the average accounts receivable balances there are some receivables that are 120 days or more past due. These could easily be buried in the average if most customers are remitting the amounts by the dates the receivables are due.Construction Management CoConstruct CoConstruct is easy-to-use yet feature-packed software for home builders and remodelers. This review will help you understand what the software does and whether it’s right for you. Business Checking Accounts BlueVine Business Checking The BlueVine Business Checking account is an innovative small business bank account that could be a great choice for today’s small businesses. An alternative DSO formula focuses on your current account receivables and gives a more accurate picture of your DSO at any given moment. We provide third-party links as a convenience and for informational purposes only.

Why is days in accounts receivable important?

Days in accounts receivable measures the amount of time between patient discharge and when payment is made. This directly impacts cash flows for the facility. … “More to the point, it is the metric we use to monitor how quickly insurance companies process claims and pay the cash we are owed.”Learn how outstanding payments can impact your business and how to improve your DSO ratio. The ratio is calculated by dividing the ending accounts receivable by the total credit sales for the period and multiplying it by the number of days in the period.

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For example, a manufacturer selling heavy equipment is more likely to have a higher DSO than a service business. Get clear, concise answers to common business and software questions. Appointment Scheduling 10to8 10to8 is a cloud-based appointment scheduling software that simplifies and automates the process of scheduling, managing, and following up with appointments. She’s written for numerous business and financial publications such as Entrepreneur, Reason Magazine, Home Business Magazine, and Money Crashers. Review your books and adjust payment terms for clients who pay late consistently. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.However, in the example of a used car sales company, the industry reflects the length of time it would take for this kind of business to collect all auto payments owed to them. Accounts receivable days is a formula that helps you work out how long it takes to clear your accounts receivable. In other words, it’s the number of days that an invoice will remain outstanding before it’s collected. Days sales outstanding is an accounting ratio you can easily calculate to determine how many days it’s taking your customers to pay you. For newer businesses, or businesses that have limited cash flow, not tracking your DSO can have serious repercussions, including bankruptcy. These two KPIs aren’t perfect, but they inform decisions that ultimately determine how much cash you have available.

what is days sales outstanding? how to calculate and improve dso

It is a good credit management technique and can be used to help businesses determine credit policies and as a reminder to chase overdue payments. Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, and accounts receivable (A/R) turnover is the heart that keeps cash flowing. The better you optimize collections procedures and tasks, the more efficient and effective A/R becomes.Ask for upfront deposits and milestone payments rather than waiting to collect the full balance at the end of the job. When overdue accounts go past 120 days, the lesser your chances of collecting. If that happens, you stand to lose that amount on your pretax income. You may also lose out on an opportunity to expand or otherwise enhance your business because you won’t have the cash to invest. When the cash your clients owe your business sits in their bank accounts, it negatively affects your finances in a few ways. Learn accounting fundamentals and how to read financial statements with CFI’s free online accounting classes.

What Is The Accounts Receivable Days Formula?

For a start, if you don’t have a clear picture of how much money you owe to vendors and suppliers, it’s impossible to gain any real insight into your company’s overall financial health. Finally, tracking your DSO over time allows you to view trends, be on the alert if the DSO rises, and make any adjustments to your accounts receivable process. This calculation can get a bit tricky if you don’t keep track of cash sales separately.

what is days sales outstanding? how to calculate and improve dso

Most often this ratio is calculated at year-end and multiplied by 365 days. DSO can be calculated by dividing the total accounts receivable during a certain time frame by the total net credit sales. This number is then multiplied by the number of days in the period of time. For instance, if you are recording financial data for the quarter, the time period would be 90 days. As an example, a high-end used car dealership may want to calculate the days sales outstanding ratio for the past year.


Innovative solutions like using accounts receivable automation software are a requirement. Sometimes, it’s not feasible to control open invoices, engage clients on scale, and measure the success of your collection process when you’re focused on the big picture. Gaviti’s automated A/R collection platform can accelerate cashflow and improve DSO on average by 30%. Automating important A/R tasks eliminates hours of manual work and helps organizations like yours get paid faster.Reaching out about past due payments can be challenging and even a little uncomfortable, particularly if your ability to pay your business’s bills depends on incoming cash flow from clients. QuickBooks Online makes it easy to track the status of your invoices, from when they’re sent, viewed by your customers, paid, and deposited into your business bank account. Invoices are sorted by status, with overdue invoices listed first, making it easy to see who owes you. Cash sales have a DSO of zero, and you shouldn’t factor them into DSO calculations, as they will skew the metric.Sometimes, automation of accounts receivable processes might be just what you need to accelerate your cashflow. It can look for businesses with unusually high DSO figures, with the intention of acquiring the firms and then improving their credit and collection activities. By doing so, they can strip some working capital out of the acquirees, thereby reducing the amount of the initial acquisition cost. Using an invoice email reminder template can help you decide what to say when you reach out. Picking up the phone and giving your customers a call can also speed up the collections process. Including information on your invoices like due days, payment terms and options can help keep you and your customers on the same page. Use an invoice template that includes all of these important details, like the invoices generated by QuickBooks’ free invoice generator, or free invoice templates.