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What is Average Collection Period and how is it calculated?

Over time, missing these growth opportunities can negatively impact a firm’s market position and profitability. GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. If done right, the order-to-cash cycle can provide your organization with improved cash flow and customer satisfaction, reduced costs and forward movement toward corporate sustainability. Integrating best practices into the collections department and team can help to improve collection efficiency. The company wants to assess the account receivable outstanding at the end of December 2016.

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.

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 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.

Using those hypotheticals, we can now calculate the average collection period by dividing A/ R by the net credit deals in the matching period and multiplying by 365 days. For instance, if a company’s ACP is 15 days but the industry average is closer to 30, it may indicate the credit terms are overly strict. Companies in these situations risk losing potential clients to rivals with superior lending standards. The longer a receivable goes unpaid, the less likely you are to be able to collect from that customer. If you have difficulty collecting customer payments, it’s tough to pay employees, make loan payments, and take care of other bills.

  1. In the long run, constant cash flow problems can jeopardize the firm’s sustainability.
  2. This should be fair and accommodating to customers while efficient and realistic to the firm.
  3. Otherwise, it may find itself falling short when it comes to paying its own debts.
  4. Monitoring collections is essential to maintaining a positive trend line in cash flows so as to easily meet future expenses and debt obligations.

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.

Average Payment 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.

On average, it takes Light Up Electric just over 17 days to collect outstanding receivables. This means Light Up Electric’s average collection period for the year is about 17 days. At the beginning of the year, your accounts receivable (AR) on your balance sheet was $39,000. According to a PYMNTS report, 88% of businesses automating their AR processes see a significant reduction in their DSO. Automation can also help reduce manual intervention in collection processes, enabling proactive communication with customers and helping in the establishment of appropriate credit limits.


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.

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.

It can set stricter credit terms limiting the number of days an invoice is allowed to be outstanding. This may also include limiting the number of clients it offers credit to in an effort to increase cash sales. It can also offer pricing discounts for earlier payment (i.e. 2% discount if paid in 10 days). 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. Companies may also compare the average collection period with the credit terms extended to customers.

Everything You Need To Master Financial Modeling

A consistent increase in the collection period may indicate a need to revise credit policies. In contrast, a decreasing collection period could signify improvements in credit management. A good receivables collection period is one that reflects efficient credit and collection management for a business.

Defining Average Collection Period

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.

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.

We have Opening and Closing accounts receivables Balances of $25,000 and $35,000 for the Anand Group of companies. They have asked the Analyst to compute the Average collection period to analyze the current scenario. First, long outstanding accounts receivable could potentially lead to bad debt and the effect is more adverse than the risk average collection period formula of late collection. Every business has its average collection period standards, mainly based on its credit terms. In the following scenarios, you can see how the average collection period affects cash flow. 💡 To calculate the average value of receivables, sum the opening and closing balance of your required duration and divide it by 2.

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