Account Receivable Collection Period: Definition, Purposes, Formula and Example

This is because the company could not even get the cash from sales of its goods or services but lost them as expenses. In 2020, the company’s ending accounts receivable (A/R) balance was $20k, which grew to $24k in the subsequent year. This can help encourage prompt payments and build positive customer relationships. COVID-19 has further highlighted the importance of the average collection period.

  1. It’s useful to compare a company’s ratio to that of its competitors or similar companies within its industry.
  2. In the coming part of our exercise, we ’ll calculate the average collection period under the indispensable approach of dividing the receivables development by the number of days in a time.
  3. A short and precise turnaround time is required to generate ROI from such services (you can find more about this metric in the ROI calculator).
  4. By benchmarking against the industry standard, a company can gauge easily whether the number is acceptable or if there is potential for improvement.
  5. So, in this line of work, it’s best to bill customers at suitable intervals while keeping an eye on average sales.

Review your payment terms from time to time to ensure they are still appropriate for your business needs. 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. When analyzing average collection period, be mindful of the seasonality of the accounts receivable balances. For example, analyzing a peak month to a slow month by result in a very inconsistent average accounts receivable balance that may skew the calculated amount.

Average Collection Period Formula in Excel (With Excel Template)

The calculation of this ratio involves averages of account receivable and net credit sales. The receivables collection period ratio interpretation requires a comprehensive understanding of the company’s industry, business model, and credit policies. The average collection period measures a company’s efficiency at converting its outstanding accounts receivable (A/R) into cash on hand.

The collection period of credit sales is one of the most important key performance indicators that are closely and strictly monitored by the board of directors, CEO, and especially CFO. This ratio is very important for management to assess the collection performance as well as credit sales assessments. Companies should also consider leveraging cash collection technology to streamline their collection processes. Implementing an efficient and automated invoicing system can enhance accuracy and timeliness while reducing manual errors.

The average collection period is the average number of days it takes for a credit sale to be collected. While a shorter average collection period is often better, too strict of credit terms may scare customers away. The average collection period is closely related to the accounts turnover ratio, which is calculated by dividing total net sales by the average AR balance. Businesses base their credit limits and credit periods on their historical data such as the account receivable collection period.

What Is an Average Collection Period?

For instance, a company may experience a higher number of customers with delayed payment patterns, indicating potential credit risks. Additionally, changes in economic conditions or industry dynamics can impact customer payment behaviour, leading to extended collection periods. It implies that a business is able to collect payments from customers quickly, converting credit sales into cash promptly. In this example, the graphic design business has an average receivables’ collection period of approximately 10 days. This means it takes around 10 days, on average, for the business to collect payments from their clients for credit sales.

How can I improve my collection period?

Delays in payment from more clients may indicate that receivables are at risk of being uncollected, which should be closely monitored as an early warning sign of bad allowances. Overall, the average collection period is a valuable indicator for evaluating a company’s short-term financial health. You can also keep track of payments with visual reports, allowing you to manage outstanding invoices proactively. Key performance metrics such as accounts receivable turnover ratio can measure your business’s ability to collect payments in a timely manner, and is a reflection of how effective your credit terms are. The average receivables turnover is simply the average accounts receivable balance divided by net credit sales; the formula below is simply a more concise way of writing the formula.

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio Template

Since the result is better than expected, XYZ Co. can also consider loosening its credit control policies to attract more sales. A company, ABC Co., had total sales of $70 million, out of which $45 million were credit sales, during its previous year of business. To see how the company actually performed, the account receivable collection period must be calculated. Let’s start with a thorough definition.The accounts receivable collection period is the average collection period for a business to collect its outstanding invoices.

First, long outstanding accounts receivable could potentially lead to bad debt and the effect is more adverse than the risk of late collection. We’ll use the ending A/R balance for our calculations here and assume the number of days in the period is 365 days. Additionally, It can be used as part of the analytical procedure which is accounts receivable collection period formula part of the audit procedures of accounts receivable to assess how the company manage its receivable. They want to know that their money will come back soon enough from the borrower’s incoming payments. We need the Average Receivable Turnover to calculate the Average collection period, and we can assume the Days in a year as 365.

To calculate the account receivable collection period, the average account receivable balance must be calculated first. If a business does choose to allow credit sales, it must ensure that there are controls in place to ensure the balances are recovered in full and on time. Businesses use many tools such as aged receivable analysis, which gives a list of all the customers of the business along with their balances sorted by the time these are expected to be recovered. If a customer does not pay within the promised time, the business can actively pursue to customer or else end up risking the recoverability of the balance. Another tool used to control account receivable balances is the account receivable collection period. Accounts receivable turnover ratio calculations will widely vary from industry to industry.

For example, the credit control of the business calls their customers every day and threaten with legal action in case of failure to repay their balance within time. Businesses should ensure that it is kept at an optimal level while ensuring the satisfaction of the customers. Most modern businesses use accrual accounting, offering their customers the option to buy now and pay later. This process is typically done through invoicing which requires a company to set collection period parameters and deploy specific receivables procedures. While a „buy now, pay later” model theoretically seeks to increase sales, the downside is it delays and creates some uncertainty for cash flow payments. As such, it can become more difficult to finance day-to-day operations or make future investments.

For the formulas above, average accounts receivable is calculated by taking the average of the beginning and ending balances of a given period. More sophisticated accounting reporting tools may be able to automate a company’s average accounts receivable over a given period by factoring in daily ending balances. Receiving payments for goods and services on time plays a big part in maintaining liquidity.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.