cash flow

To calculate the ACP, you divide the total amount of accounts receivable by the average daily sales. First, multiply the average accounts receivable by the number of days in the period. The resulting number is the average number of days it takes you to collect an account.

  • This is why it is important to know how to find average accounts receivable for other collection periods as well.
  • Your average collection period refers to the amount of time it takes you to collect cash from credit sales.
  • The goal is for the average collection period to be less than the credit policy offered by the company.
  • Average collection period is a measure of how many days it takes a firm, on average, to collects its receivables.
  • That said, there’s always room for improvement, and bringing the number down even further will certainly improve your cash flow and benefit your business.

The Average Collection Period collection period can be found by dividing the average accounts receivables by the sales revenue. A small used car lot offers to finance cars to customers who cannot pay up front. The car lot limit the terms of the credit to no more than one year total. If Will buys a car for $10,000, he might pay $2,000 at the time of purchase and agree to pay the other $8,000 over the course of a year. The car lot would record the $2,000 as cash and the $8,000 as an account receivable.


You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. This period indicates the effectiveness of a company’s AR management practices. The largest in-person UnConference for the office of the CFO is back in Atlanta. Meet and network with peers and industry leaders to exchange lessons learned and best practices that provide immediate improvement in operations and efficiency.

What is a good average collection ratio?

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.

Monitoring your financial health is important to maintain a positive cash flow and sustain growth. The average collection period will tell you what your financial health looks like in the near future. Receiving early payments is essential to plan your financial forecasts the right way and adhere to budgets accurately. When you know the current balance of your account, you can schedule and plan your future expenses accordingly. While seeking payments and retaining customers, one can easily miss out on timings. Figuring the Average Collection Period of a business allows the management team to measure the efficiency of their Billing Teams and processes. If the ACP is higher than the average credit period extended to clients, as seen in the example above, it means the Billing Process is not working as it should.

Step 1: Calculate Your Average Accounts Receivable

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. The average collection period is the length of time – on average – it takes a company to receive payments in the form of accounts receivable. If this company’s average collection period was longer—say, more than 60 days— then it would need to adopt a more aggressive collection policy to shorten that time frame. Otherwise, it may find itself falling short when it comes to paying its own debts. 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.

For example, an 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. 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.

How to Interpret an Increased Average Collection Period

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. Multiply the average accounts receivable with the respective number of days, for which you’re calculating the average. In some years, the company will have more time to collect on that debt, and in other years it might be less. This way, companies can use this formula to determine how many days they have until they need to start charging interest on unpaid debts. Because the amount of time a company has to collect on debt changes yearly, the average collection period is a crucial calculation to help you determine how long debt collection typically takes. Most businesses require invoices to be paid in about 30 days, so Company A’s average of 38 days means accounts are often overdue. A lower average, say around 26 days, would indicate collection is efficient and effective.


A low average collection period indicates that the organization collects payments faster. However, this may mean that the company’s credit terms are too strict. Customers who don’t find their creditors’ terms very friendly may choose to seek suppliers or service providers with more lenient payment terms. 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.

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