Average Collection Period What Is It, Formula, Calculator

collect its receivables

As so, they demonstrate their ability to pay off short-term loans without relying on further income flows. For the second formula, we need to compute the average accounts receivable per day and the average credit sales per day. Average accounts receivable per day can be calculated as average accounts receivable divided by 365 and Average credit sales per day can be calculated as average credit sales divided by 365. In other words, it refers to the time it takes, on average, for the company to receive payments it is owed from clients or customers. The average collection period must be monitored to ensure a company has enough cash available to take care of its near-term financial responsibilities. So if a company has an average accounts receivable balance for the year of $10,000 and total net sales of $100,000, then the average collection period would be (($10,000 ÷ $100,000) × 365), or 36.5 days.


The average collection period is the length of time it takes for a corporation to collect its accounts receivable . It refers to the average time it takes for the company to receive the money its clients or consumers owe. A business has to manage the average collection period effectively to ensure that a company has adequate cash on hand to meet its short-term financial obligations. Accounts receivable turnover indicates the amount of time between the sale and the final receipt of cash. In accounting, when a company is calculating the average collection period, the number is needed to gain insight into how long a company will have before collecting its receivables. The accounts receivable turnover directly correlates to how long it will take to collect on funds owed by customers.

Calculating Collection Period for Different Lengths of Time

Enter the company’s Accounts Receivable and Revenues and the tool will estimate how quickly the company collects. Crucial KPMs like your average collection period can show exactly where you need to make improvements to optimize your accounts receivable and maintain a healthy cash flow. Your average A/R collection period is an important key performance metric . It’s smart to know how to calculate your collection period, understand what it means, and how to assess the data so you can improve accounts receivable efficiency.

For example, an average collection period formula collection period of 25 days isn’t as concerning if invoices are issued with a net 30 due date. However, an ongoing evaluation of the outstanding collection period directly affects the organization’s cash flows. In short, payment period is a sensor for how efficiently a company utilizes credit options available to cover short-term needs. As long as it is in line with the average payment period for similar companies, this measurement should not be expected to change much over time. Any changes to this number should be evaluated further to see what effects it has on cash flows. Your average collection period refers to the amount of time it takes you to collect cash from credit sales.

Identifying this timeline is especially important for businesses that primarily rely on accounts receivable to fund their cash flow, such as banks and real estate and construction companies. The number of days can vary from business to business depending on things like your industry and customer payment history. Even though ACP is an important metric for every business, it doesn’t portray much as a standalone unit. A few other KPIs that a company needs to compare it with, to get a clear picture of what the ACP indicates. These include the industry standard of the average collections period and the company’s past performance.

In January, it took Light Up Electric almost seven days, on average, to collect outstanding receivables. This means Light Up Electric’s average collection period for the year is about 17 days. Let’s say you own an electrical contracting business called Light Up Electric.

How Gaviti brought monday.com complete visibility to the collections process

It increases the cash inflow and proves the efficiency of company management in managing its clients. An organization that can collect payments faster or on time has strong collection practices and also has loyal customers. However, it also means that they follow a very strict collection procedure which may also drive away customers because they prefer suppliers who have more flexible credit terms. For the company, its average collection period figure can mean a few things. 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.

However, it is advantageous if your average collection period is fewer than 30 days. As a result, analyzing the evolution of the ACP over time will most likely provide the analyst with a much clearer picture of the behavior of a business’ payment collection problem. A sudden increase in the ACP should prompt an in-depth investigation of what is going on. For example, the banking industry is significantly reliant on receivables due to the loans and mortgages it provides to customers. Banks must have a quick turnaround time for receivables because they rely on the income generated by these products.

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This issue is a major one, since the problem arises entirely outside of the business, giving management no control over it. An increase in the average collection period can be indicative of any of the conditions noted below, relating to looser credit policy, a worsening economy, and reduced collection efforts. A relatively short average collection period means your accounts receivable collection team is turning around invoices quickly and everything is operating smoothly. Net income and sales operate on a delayed schedule, and companies crunch the numbers expecting to settle invoices and get paid sometime in the future. To incentivize faster payments, you can offer discounts if the client pays within a specific time frame.

It means that Company ABC’s average collection period for the year is about 46 days. It is slightly high when you consider that most companies try to collect payments within 30 days. This is important because as the average collection period increases, more clients are taking longer to pay. This metric can be used to signal to management to review its outstanding receivables at risk of being uncollected to ensure clients are being monitored and communicated with. Companies calculate the average collection period to ensure they have enough cash on hand to meet their financial obligations.

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. On 1st January 2019, they had an Accounts Receivable Balance equivalent to $20,000. On 31st December 2019, the Accounts Receivable Balance amounted to $30,000.

How to Interpret an Increased Average Collection Period

This period indicates the effectiveness of a company’s AR management practices. Full BioMichael Boyle is an experienced financial professional with more than 10 years working with financial planning, derivatives, equities, fixed income, project management, and analytics. Starting with the average AR balance gives you a better snapshot of the year. If you were to simply use your ending AR balance, your results might be skewed by a particularly large or small year-end balance. This acts as an incentive for the buyers to pay early, to avail the given discounts. Increasing collection efforts by employing more employees and using technology.

This is especially typical when a small business wishes to sell to a large retail chain. It can guarantee a significant increase in sales in exchange for long payment terms. The average collection period formula gives an average of past collections, but you can also use it as a gauge for future calculations of how long collectionstake. Lower ratios mean faster average collection periods, indicating efficient management. Upon dividing the receivables turnover ratio by 365, we arrive at the same implied collection periods for both 2020 and 2021 — confirming our prior calculations were correct. The average collection period measures a company’s efficiency at converting its outstanding accounts receivable (A/R) into cash on hand.

PYMNTS reports state that 88% of businesses automating their AR processes see a significant reduction in their DSO. Automation also helps reduce manual intervention in the collection processes, allows for proactively reaching out to customers, and assists in setting up appropriate credit limits. The Average Collection Period is the time taken by businesses to convert their Accounts Receivables to cash. ACP is commonly referred to as Days Sales Outstanding and helps a business track if they will have enough cash to meet short-term financial requirements.

The formula below is also used referred to as the days sales receivable ratio. The average collection period is determined by dividing the average AR balance by the total net credit sales and multiplying that figure by the number of days in the period. The average collection period is the average number of days between 1) the dates that credit sales were made, and 2) the dates that the money was received/collected from the customers.

Use Your Average Collection Period to Keep Your Company in the Green

The average collection period ratio is often shortened to “average collection period” and can also be referred to as the “ratio of days to sales outstanding.” To analysts and investors, making timely payments is important but not necessarily at the fastest rate possible. If a company’s average period is much less than competitors, it could signal opportunities for reinvestment of capital are being lost. Or, if the company extended payments over a longer period of time, it may be possible to generate higher cash flows. Average payment period in the above scenario seems to illustrate a rather long payment period.

So, now you know how to calculate the average collection period, you need to understand what the resulting figure means. Most companies expect invoices to be paid in around 30 days, so anything around this figure should be considered relatively normal. Any higher – i.e., heading into 40 or more – and you might want to start considering the cause. An average collection period of 30 days for a company indicates that customers purchasing products or services on credit take around 30 days to clear pending accounts receivable. A company’s average collection period gives an insight into its AR health, credit terms, and cash flow.

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The numerator of the average collection period formula shown at the top of the page is 365 days. For many situations, an annual review of the average collection period is considered. However, if the receivables turnover is evaluated for a different time period, then the numerator should reflect this same time period. In the next part of our exercise, we’ll calculate the average collection period under the alternative approach of dividing the receivables turnover by the number of days in a year. From 2020 to 2021, the average number of days needed by our hypothetical company to collect cash from credit sales declined from 26 days to 24 days, reflecting an improvement year-over-year . In order to calculate the average collection period, the company’s accounts receivable (A/R) carrying values from its balance sheet are needed along with its revenue in the corresponding period.

Additionally, organizations can also constantly send reminders to the creditors to ensure that they pay their liabilities on time. These constant reminders might help debtors pay earlier than the agreed-upon date, eventually resulting in a reduction in the cash collection period. Either the collections department of the company has reduced its effort or there is an overall staff shortage. In both cases, the collection for the period is less thereby increasing the number of receivables outstanding. Although you can calculate it for a quarter, for most businesses it’s safer to look at a full year to compare fairly due to seasonality or accounts receivable booked in previous quarters.

You can calculate it by dividing your net credit sales and the average accounts receivable balance. Alternatively, check the receivables turnover ratio calculator, which may help you understand this metric. Accounts receivable turnover ratio describes how efficiently a business can collect a debt owed and maintain a credit policy. It is calculated by dividing net credit sales by average accounts receivable. Businesses can measure their average collection period by multiplying the days in the accounting period by their average accounts receivable balance. 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 .

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Well, the first thing you should do is compare it to your credit policies.

What Does an Increased Average Collection Period Mean?

This is not a bad figure, considering most companies collect within 30 days. Collecting its receivables in a relatively short and reasonable period of time gives the company time to pay off its obligations. The best way that a company can benefit is by consistently calculating its average collection period and using it over time to search for trends within its own business.

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The average balance of AR is computed by adding the opening and closing balances of AR and then dividing the total by two. For the sake of simplicity, when calculating the average collection period for a whole year, we choose 365 as the number of days in one year. More information on the formula that is used to calculate the average collection period is provided below.

  • In this example, first, we need to calculate the average accounts receivable.
  • A high average collection period suggests that a company is taking too long to collect payments.
  • On 1st January 2019, they had an Accounts Receivable Balance equivalent to $20,000.
  • The Net Sales during the year ended 31st December 2019 amount to $100,000.

The company can decide on the means to collect the balance amount by knowing their ACP. The company can keep track of its ability to collect the amount receivables. It’s easy to think that the only thing that matters about invoices is that they get paid, but actually, the time required for each invoice to be fulfilled is also crucial. Your account will automatically be charged on a monthly basis until you cancel. There is no limit on the number of subscriptions ordered under this offer.

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