Average Collection Period Meaning, Formula

Management may have decided to increase the staffing and technology support of the collections department, which should result in a reduction in the amount of overdue accounts receivable. General economic conditions could be impacting customer cash flows, requiring them to delay payments to their suppliers. If you need help establishing KPMs or automating essential accounts receivable collection processes, contact the professionals at Gaviti. We’ve got years of experience eliminating inefficiencies and improving business. Businesses often rely on cash flow that they haven’t yet received. Net income and sales operate on a delayed schedule, and companies crunch the numbers expecting to settle invoices and get paid sometime in the future.

average collection period formula

In other words, how quickly you can expect to convert credit sales into cash. You can find your average accounts receivable by adding accounts receivables totals from the beginning and end of the period then dividing by two. If you have financial statements available from each month or quarter of the period, you may also average the amounts found on your past balance sheets for a more accurate number. The average collection period ratio is the average number of days it takes a company to collect its accounts receivable. Management has decided to grant more credit to customers, perhaps in an effort to increase sales.

What Is An Accounts Receivable Collection Period?

As a result, your business may experience issues with cash flow, working capital, or profitability. Identifying this timeline is especially important for businesses that primarily rely on accounts receivable to fund their cash flow, such as banks, real estate, and construction companies.

As you might expect, businesses keep a close eye on these types of accounts, because if they don’t receive the money that they’re owed when it is due, they won’t be able to pay their own bills. In this lesson, we’re going to explore how a company tracks its accounts receivable and what equations it uses to find an average collection period by looking at a real-world example. You can create a plan for bad debts using the allowance for doubtful debts. QuickBooks research shows nearly half (44%) of small business owners who experience cash flow issues say the problems were a surprise. A bad debt reserve helps you plan ahead and avoid surprise cash flow problems if late payments become nonpayments. Keeping a business cash reserve can also help you manage your expenses without having to get a loan or stacking up credit card debt when customer payments are delayed.

How The Average Collection Period Ratio Works

The beginning and ending accounts receivables are $20,000 and $30,000, respectively. The result should be interpreted by comparing it to a company’s past ratios, as well as its payment policy. It’s wise to interpret the average collection period ratio with some caution. There may be a decline in the funding for the collections department or an increase in the staff turnover of this department. In either case, less attention is paid to collections, resulting in an increase in the amount of receivables outstanding.

average collection period formula

It can be calculated by multiplying the days in the period by the average accounts receivable in that period and dividing the result by net credit sales during the period. You should also compare your company’s credit policy with the average days from credit sale to balance collection to judge how well your firm is doing. If the average collection period, for example, is 45 days, but the firm’s credit policy is to collect its receivables in 30 days, that’s a problem. But if the average collection period is 45 days and the announced credit policy is net 10 days, that’s significantly worse; your customers are very far from abiding by the credit agreement terms. This calls for a look at your firm’s credit policy and instituting measures to change the situation, including tightening credit requirements or making the credit terms clearer to your customers. For the second formula, we need to compute the average accounts receivable per day and the average credit sales per day. Average accounts receivable per day can be calculated as average accounts receivable divided by 365 and Average credit sales per day can be calculated as average credit sales divided by 365.


Measuring this performance metric also provides insights into how efficiently your accounts receivable department is operating. To get a more valuable insight into the business we must know the company’s Average Collection period ratio. But get a meaningful insight we can use the Average Collection period ratio as compared to other companies’ ratio in the same industry or can be used to analyze the trend of the previous year. This ratio shows the ability of the company to collect its receivables and also the average period is going up or down. The company can make changes in the collection policy to handle the liquidity of the business.

Crucial KPMs like your average collection period can show exactly where you need to make improvements to optimize your accounts receivable and maintain a healthy cash flow. You can understand how much cash flow is pending or readily available by monitoring your average collection period.


If, after calculating your average collection period, you find that you typically receive payment within 30 days, this indicates that you are collecting payment efficiently. Every business is unique, so there’s no right answer to differentiate a “good” average collections period from a “bad” one. If your business doesn’t rely heavily on accounts receivable for cash flow, you may be okay with a longer collections period than businesses that need to liquidate credit sales to fund cash flow. This means Bro Repairs’ clients are taking at least twice the maximum credit period extended by the company.

average collection period formula

If it’s decreasing in comparison then it means your accounts receivable are losing liquidity and you may need to take positive steps to reverse this trend. The measure is best examined on a trend line, to see if there are any long-term changes. In a business where sales are steady and the customer mix is unchanging, the average collection period should be quite consistent from period to period. Conversely, when sales and/or the mix of customers is changing dramatically, this measure can be expected to vary substantially. Your average A/R collection period is an important key performance metric .

Formula For Calculating The Average Collection Period

At the end of the same year, its accounts receivable outstanding was $56,000. That means the average accounts receivable for the period came to $51,000 ($102,000 / 2). A relatively short average collection period means your accounts receivable collection team is turning around invoices quickly and everything is operating smoothly. We can also compare the company’s credit policy with the competitors on the average days taken by the company from credit sale to the collection and can judge how well a company is doing. 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.

  • These types of payments are considered accounts receivable because a business is waiting to receive these payments on an account.
  • Next, they’ll divide this number over $500,000, the net credit sales.
  • Calculating the average number of days it’ll take to get paid allows you to assess the effectiveness of your credit policy.
  • This number is the total number of credit sales for the period, less payments you received.
  • For the second formula, we need to compute the average accounts receivable per day and the average credit sales per day.

Next, they’ll divide this number over $500,000, the net credit sales. This gives them 37.96, meaning it takes them, on average, almost 38 days to collect accounts. Suppose Company A’s leadership wants to determine the average collection period ratio for the last fiscal year. To better show the formula in action, consider the following example. Let’s say that Company ABC recorded a yearly accounts receivable balance of $25,000.

Average Collection Period Formula In Excel With Excel Template

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  • Once we know the accounts receivable turnover ratio, we would be able to do the Average Collection period calculation.
  • If your company requires invoices to be paid within 30 days, then a lower average than 30 would mean that you collect accounts efficiently.
  • In order to calculate the average collection period, you must calculate the accounts receivables turnover first.
  • The average collection period ratio is the average number of days it takes a company to collect its accounts receivable.
  • A lower average, say around 26 days, would indicate collection is efficient and effective.

Read on for an overview on the topic or use the links below to skip ahead. In that case, the formula for the average collection period should be adjusted as per the necessity. First, a huge percentage of the company’s cash flow depends on the collection period. For example, if a company has a collection period of 40 days, it should provide the term as days. The company may have imposed shorter payment terms on its customers. Anand Group of companies have decided to make some changes in their credit policy. In order to analyze the current scenario, they have asked the Analyst to compute the Average collection period.

However, since you need to calculate the average accounts receivable within that period, companies will often look at the last year for simplicity’s sake. Once we know the accounts receivable turnover ratio, we would be able to do the Average Collection period calculation. All we need to do is to divide 365 by the accounts receivable turnover ratio. The second equation divides 365 days by your accounts receivable turnover ratio.

Explanation Of Average Collection Period Formula

Because of this, the key to measuring your average collection period is to do it regularly. If you notice your average collection period jump from 22.8 days to 32.8 days, that could have big effects on your cash flow and you’ll want to take steps to keep that upward trend from continuing. For one thing, to be meaningful, the ratio needs to be interpreted comparatively. In comparison with previous years, is the business’s ability to collect its receivables increasing or decreasing .

If they have 14-day terms, that means few customers are actually paying on time. Whether your average collection period is “good” or “bad” will depend on how close it is to your credit terms—though lower is generally better. In the second formula, all we need to do is find out the average accounts receivable per day and also the average credit sales per day .