Average Collection Period: Understanding Its Importance in Business Finance

Bookkeeping / 7 juillet 2022

This includes any discounts awarded to customers, product recalls or returns, or items re-issued under warranty. Let your accounts receivable team put more effort into accepting payments on time. For example, you could offer a small discount to customers who pay their bills within a certain period. This strategy can reduce the average collection period, but it may also reduce the total amount you collect, so it’s vital to consider the overall impact on profitability. There can be significant variations in the average collection period from one industry to the next. This is attributable to different factors including industry norms, unique business models, and specific credit terms.

  1. On the other hand, the DSO ratio estimates how long it takes a company to collect payments after a sale has been made.
  2. The most common reasons for this are late payments to vendors or slow collections from customers.
  3. For the formulas above, average accounts receivable is calculated by taking the average of the beginning and ending balances of a given period.
  4. Overall shorter collection periods increase liquidity and generate better cash flow efficiency.

Lastly, offering incentives for prompt payments could motivate your clients to pay their bills faster, thus decreasing the average collection period. On the contrary, a company with a long collection period might be offering more liberal credit terms or might not be enforcing its collections process strictly. This could indicate potential issues within the credit department that need addressing.

Since cash flows form the lifeblood of any business, ensuring quick customer payment is crucial. In essence, the smoother the inflow of cash, the more smooth-running the company’s operations will likely be. In gauging a company’s operational effectiveness, the average collection period plays a significant role. It is a reflection of how quickly a business collects its receivables, and therefore, how efficiently its operations are managed.

importance of the average collection period

In order to calculate the average collection period, divide the average balance of accounts receivable by the total net credit sales for the period. Then multiply the quotient by the total number of days during that specific period. We will take a practical example to illustrate the average collection period formula for receivables. This is important because a credit sale is not fully completed until the company has been paid. Until cash has been collected, a company is yet to reap the full benefit of the transaction. In this case, the clients of XYZ take more than two months to repay the sale amount.

More specifically, the company’s credit sales should be used, but such specific information is not usually readily available. Clearly, it is crucial for a company to receive payment for goods or services rendered in a timely manner. In addition to being limited to only credit sales, net credit sales exclude residual transactions that impact and often reduce sales amounts. Moreover, rushing to collect debts may also result in a cash surplus, introducing the problem of having idle cash.

Example of Calculating Your Average Collection Period

For example, an average 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. A company’s commitment to effective collection period management also contributes to overall economic stability. By ensuring their average collection period aligns with average collection period formula what’s reasonably expected within their sector, businesses can avoid contributing to cash flow problems and subsequent financial pressures. Efficient and ethical management of the average collection period signals a corporation’s alignment with socially responsible financial practices. The average collection period focuses on the time it takes a company to receive payments due from its customers.

Average collection period is calculated by dividing a company’s average accounts receivable balance by its net credit sales for a specific period, then multiplying the quotient by 365 days. This can potentially impact the cash flow of the business, leaving it https://adprun.net/ with more or no money. One factor in deciding the liquidity flow of the business is the average collection period. Since the Company has not provided the amount of credit sales, we can consider the net sales to calculate the days of the collection period.

When you log in to Versapay, you get a clear dashboard of the current status of all your receivables. Your entire team can access your customers’ entire payment history, giving you a clear picture of your collection efforts. Here are a few of the ways Versapay’s Collaborative AR automation software helps bring down your average collection period, improve cash flow, and boost working capital. If your average collection period calculator result is showing a very low rate, this is generally a positive thing. For example, if you impose late payment penalties on a relatively short period, say, 20 days, then you run the risk of scaring clients off.

What does the average collection period tell?

The average collection period metric may also be called the days to sales ratio or the receivable days. Generally, the average collection period is an important internal metric used in the overall management of a company’s finances. The length of a company’s average collection period also indicates how severe its credit terms are.

A shorter collection period indicates that a company collects money from its customers promptly, suggesting efficient credit and collections departments. Efficient cash flow management is important for any business’s financial stability and growth. One crucial aspect that can impede cash flow efficiency is a lengthy receivables collection period.

Cash Flow and Average Collection Period

Implementing an efficient and automated invoicing system can enhance accuracy and timeliness while reducing manual errors. Additionally, utilising online payment platforms and providing multiple payment options can facilitate faster and smoother transactions, reducing the collection period. The average collection period should be closely monitored so you know how your finances look, and how this impacts your ability to pay for bills and other liabilities. There’s a big difference between knowing you’re due to be paid $10,000 and safely having it in your business bank account. Lastly, the average collection period is a metric to evaluate the current credit arrangements and whether changes should be made to improve the working capital cycle. From 2020 to 2021, the average number of days demanded by our academic company to collect cash from credit deals declined from 26 days to 24 days, reflecting an enhancement time-over-year( YoY).

Companies prefer a lower average collection period over a higher one as it indicates that a business can efficiently collect its receivables. Liquidity is a financial measure of how instantly you can access cash for business expenses. By analysing the collection period-related figures, businesses can identify areas for improvement and take corrective action to ensure a healthy financial position.

This is because of failing in the collection of credit sales or converting the credit sales into cash in a short period of time will adversely affect the company in at least two things. Similarly, a steady cash flow is crucial in construction companies and real estate agencies, so they can timely pay their labor and salespeople working on hourly and daily wages. Also, construction of buildings and real estate sales take time and can be subject to delays. So, in this line of work, it’s best to bill customers at suitable intervals while keeping an eye on average sales. Once you have calculated your average collection period, you can compare it with the time frame given in your credit terms to understand your business needs better. As an alternative, the metric can also be calculated by dividing the number of days in a year by the company’s receivables turnover.


Therefore, businesses should aim to keep their average collections period as short as possible. The direct relationship between average collection period and cash flow is straightforward. When customers take longer to pay their bills, less cash is coming into the company.

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