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What is Accounts Receivable Collection Period? Definition, Formula, and Example

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The best average collection period is about balancing between your business’s credit terms and your accounts receivables. 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. 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. The average collection period may also be used to compare one company with its competitors, either individually or grouped together. Similar companies should produce similar financial metrics, so the average collection period can be used as a benchmark against another company’s performance.

  1. In simple terms, it measures how many times a firm can collect its average accounts receivable in a year.
  2. 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).
  3. The average collection period focuses on the time it takes a company to receive payments due from its customers.
  4. Your average collection period refers to the amount of time it takes you to collect cash from credit sales.
  5. This can create a cash crunch, making it challenging for the company to meet its regular operational expenses, including employee salaries, utility payments, and supplier invoices.
  6. Obviously, if the company does not have adequate cash flows to cover payments at a faster rate, the current average payment period may show the current credit terms are most appropriate.

Therefore, understanding each component and how they interact can provide insightful information regarding the financial health of a business. It can help identify potential problems in the company’s credit policies if, for instance, the average collection period is trending upward over time. The receivables collection period ratio interpretation requires a comprehensive understanding of the company’s industry, business model, and credit policies. Below, we outline the various implications of the collection period for an organisation.

Formula for Calculating the Average Collection Period

Without tracking the ACP, it will become difficult for businesses to plan for future expenses and projects. Here are two important reasons why every business needs to keep an eye on their average collection period. We must know the company’s Average Collection period ratio to gain valuable insight.

Strict terms may deter new consumers while excessively liberal terms may draw in clients who take advantage of such policies. This offers more depth into what other businesses are doing and how a business’s operations stack up. Delays in payment from more clients may indicate that receivables are at risk of being uncollected, average collection period formula 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. Small businesses use a variety of financial ratios and metrics to determine whether they’re in good financial health.

This is calculated by dividing the total sales for a certain period by the number of days in that period. Average daily sales give context to the Accounts Receivable figure by expressing it per day, allowing for a better comparison between different periods. Whereas Delicious Delights Catering’s longer collection period suggests potential challenges in collecting payments from customers. It might indicate a need for improvement in credit control practices or customer payment follow-ups, such as automated payment reminders, invoice tracking, and customer payment monitoring. They could also consider reviewing their credit policies and offering incentives to encourage faster payments. The average collection period is the number of days, on average, it takes for your customers to pay their invoices, allowing you to collect your accounts receivable.

Enhancing efficiency in your average collection period can be an effective way to improve your company’s cash flow and overall financial health. Understanding the role of ACP within these ratios gives a comprehensive view of the company’s financial health and operational efficiency. Too long an ACP may indicate inefficiencies in collecting debts from customers, which could be dangerous as it may lead to a cash crunch. Conversely, a too short ACP can suggest overly aggressive collection tactics, which might strain customer relationships. The terms of credit extended to customers also play an integral part in determining the collection period. A business that offers extensive credit terms, such as ‘net 90 days’, will naturally have a longer average collection period than a business that insists on ‘net 30 days’.

If your company requires invoices to be paid within 30 days, then a lower average than 30 would mean that you collect accounts efficiently. An average higher than 30 can mean that you’re having trouble collecting your accounts, and it could also indicate trouble with cash flow. The account receivable collection period measures the average number of days that credit customers usually make the payment to the company. For example, financial institutions, i.e., banks, rely on accounts receivable because they offer their customers credit loans, installments, and mortgages. 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). Thus, by neglecting their policies for managing accounts receivable, they can potentially have a severe financial deficit.


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. If a company’s ACP is 15 days, but the industry standard is close to 30 days, it could be because the credit terms are too strict. In such cases, a business may lose out on potential customers to competitors with better credit policies.

Role in Assessing Operational Efficiency

By aggressively pursuing collections, businesses may strain their relationships with customers. If customers perceive the firm’s collection practices as overly harsh or inflexible, it may lead to customer dissatisfaction, damaging the company’s reputation. Over time, this could potentially lead to loss of business, negatively impacting the company’s sales and profits. Timely follow-ups on outstanding invoices can also enhance your average collection period. Regular reminders to customers about their due payments can prevent past-due accounts from extending too far beyond their due dates.

importance of the average collection period

So Light Up Electric should compare its AR Turnover Ratio to the industry average to see how they’re doing. At the beginning of the year, your accounts receivable were at $5,000, which increased to $10,000 by year-end. In this article, we explore what the average collection period is, its formula, how to calculate the average collection period, and the significance https://adprun.net/ it holds for businesses. In the above case, the Analyst has to calculate the average accounts receivable for the Anand group of companies based on the above details. Let’s say that at the beginning of a fiscal year, company ABC had accounts receivable outstanding of $46,000. That means the average accounts receivable for the period came to $51,000 ($102,000 / 2).

Impact Of COVID-19 On the Average Collection Period

Average payment period (APP) is a solvency ratio that measures the average number of days it takes a business to pay its vendors for purchases made on credit. 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. The Average Collection Period represents the number of days that a company needs to collect cash payments from customers that paid on credit.

It provides insights into the efficiency of a company’s credit and collection processes. Accounts receivable turnover ratio is calculated by dividing total net credit sales by average accounts receivable. The average collection period is determined by taking the net credit sales for a given period and dividing the average accounts receivable balance by the net credit sales of the company.

The average collection period measures a company’s efficiency at converting its outstanding accounts receivable (A/R) into cash on hand. 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. Stricter credit policies typically lead to a shorter average collection period because they reduce the risk of lending to customers with poor creditworthiness. On the other hand, overly strict policies could deter potential customers, so it’s a delicate balance. Implementing stricter credit policies is one way you might optimize your average collection period.

If a company has a longer average collection period, it means its cash inflow is slower, potentially leading to cash crunches, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. This situation could stall necessary business operations, such as purchasing raw materials, paying salaries, or investing in business growth. Accrual accounting is a business standard under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) that makes it possible for companies to sell their goods and services with credit. While it is expected to help increase sales for a firm, it’s a concept that creates a core element of complexity for financial statement reporting. Analysing the receivables collection period over time allows companies to identify trends and patterns.

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