Average collection period

The average collection period, also known as days sales outstanding (DSO), is a financial metric that measures the average number of days it takes a company to collect payment for credit sales.
Updated: May 29, 2024

3 Key Takeaways

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  • The average collection period is a measure of a company’s efficiency in collecting receivables.
  • A shorter average collection period indicates better cash flow management and liquidity.
  • It can be compared to industry benchmarks and historical trends to assess a company’s performance.

What is the Average Collection Period?

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The average collection period is a key performance indicator (KPI) that reflects how quickly a company can convert its credit sales into cash. It is calculated by dividing the average accounts receivable balance by the total net credit sales and then multiplying the result by the number of days in the period under review.

A lower average collection period indicates that a company is collecting payments from its customers more quickly, which is generally considered a positive sign of efficient credit management.

Importance of the Average Collection Period

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  • Cash Flow Management: The average collection period is a crucial indicator of a company’s cash flow management. A shorter period means the company is receiving payments faster, improving its liquidity and ability to meet financial obligations.
  • Credit Policy Assessment: It can help a company assess the effectiveness of its credit policy. A high average collection period may suggest that the company needs to tighten its credit terms or improve its collection procedures.
  • Financial Performance: The average collection period is an important factor in evaluating a company’s overall financial performance. A shorter period can indicate better operational efficiency and profitability.
  • Investment Analysis: Investors often consider the average collection period when analyzing a company’s financial health. A shorter period can signal a stronger financial position and lower risk of bad debts.

Real-World Applications

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The average collection period is a valuable metric for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses can use it to monitor their cash flow and ensure timely payments from customers.

Large corporations can use it to evaluate the effectiveness of their credit and collection policies across different regions or business units. Financial analysts and investors use the average collection period to compare companies within the same industry and identify those with better cash flow management and lower credit risk.

By monitoring and analyzing this metric, companies can make informed decisions to improve their credit policies, collection procedures, and overall financial performance.

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AI Financial Assistant
Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the Invezz.com knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.