Receivables Turnover Ratio Defined: Formula, Importance, Examples, Limitations

The more efficient your company is at managing receivable turnover, the higher the ratio will be. Keep in mind that the account receivable turnover is dependent on the industry you’re in. In some industries, it’s normal to have net30 payment terms with customers while in others, customers may have a longer window to pay the credit they have been given.

For example, a company with a high turnover ratio might be very selective, which might mean that they screen the customers very well to ensure timely repayments before extending any credit. A high AR turnover ratio means a business is not only conservative about extending credit to customers, but aggressive about collecting debt. It can also indicate that the company’s customers are of high quality and/or it runs on a cash basis. The accounts receivable turnover ratio is generally calculated at the end of the year, but can also apply to monthly and quarterly equations and predictions. A small business should calculate the turnover rate frequently as they adjust to growth and build new clients.

  1. We calculate the average accounts receivable by dividing the sum of a specific timeframe’s beginning and ending receivables (most frequently months or quarters) and dividing by two.
  2. If Alpha Lumber’s turnover ratio is high, it may be cause for celebration, but don’t stop there.
  3. If you’re in construction, you’ll want to research your industry’s average receivables turnover ratio and compare your company’s ratio based on those averages.
  4. Cash basis accounting, on the other hand, simply tracks money when it’s actually paid or spent on expenses.
  5. If most of your payment terms are N30, aim for an AR turnover ratio of 10 to 12, signaling that you collect payments every 30 to 36 days on average.

This figure include cash sales as cash sales do not incur accounts receivable activity. Net credit sales also incorporates sales discounts or returns from customers and is calculated as gross credit sales less these residual reductions. As mentioned, the result of an accounts receivable turnover ratio formula can vary widely, and so can your company’s tolerance for these fluctuations. Ideally, your receivables turnover ratio in number of days should line up with your net payment terms. If most of your payment terms are N30, aim for an AR turnover ratio of 10 to 12, signaling that you collect payments every 30 to 36 days on average. In the same way it’s important for your organization to optimize the supplier/vendor payments process, you want to collect payments seamlessly when you’re in the supplier role.

Tracking your accounts receivables turnover will help you identify opportunities for improvements in your policies to shore up your bottom line. Tracking the turnover over time can help you improve your collection processes and forecast your future cash flow. Your banker will want to see this track to determine the bank’s risk since accounts receivables are often used as collateral.

As a result, they can’t carry as high a debt load, meaning their AR turnover ratio should be higher. Norms that exist for receivables turnover ratios are industry-based, and any business you want to compare should have a similar structure to your own. Another reason you may have a high receivables turnover is that you have strict or conservative credit policies, meaning you’re careful about who you offer credit to. When you have specific restrictions for those you offer credit to, it helps you avoid customers who aren’t credit-worthy and are more likely to put off paying their debts.

A low asset turnover ratio indicates that the company is using its assets inefficiently to generate sales. Every company is different, and not all of them will conduct a significant portion of their sales on credit. When they do, it’s important to understand how effective they are at managing their customers’ credit. A company that better manages the credit it extends may be a better choice for investors.

By comparison, LookeeLou Cable TV company delivers cable TV, internet and VoIP phone service to consumers. All customers are billed a month in advance of service delivery, thereby preventing any customer from receiving services without paying the bill. In other words, its accounts receivables are better protected as service can be disconnected before further credit is extended to the customer. Assuming that this ratio is low for the lumber industry, Alpha Lumber’s leaders should review the company’s credit policies and consider if it’s time to implement more conservative payment requirements. This might include shortening payment terms or even adding fees for late payments. We start by replacing the company’s “first period” of receivables with the January 1 data and “last period” with the information for December 31.

Cleaning companies, on the other hand, typically require customer payment within two weeks. If you own one of these businesses, your idea of “high” or “low” ratios will be vastly different from that of the construction business owner. Of course, you’ll want to keep in mind that “high” and “low” are determined by industry norms. For example, giving clients 90 days to pay an invoice isn’t abnormal in construction but may be considered high in other industries. The average accounts receivable is equal to the beginning and end of period A/R divided by two.

What is a Good Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio?

In general, an AR turnover ratio is accurate at highlighting customer payment trends in that industry. However, it can never accurately portray who your best customers are since things can happen unexpectedly (i.e. bankruptcy, competition, etc.). As we saw above, healthcare can be how to make an invoice affected by the rate at which you set collections. It can turn off new patients who expect some empathy and patience when it comes to paying bills. If a company can collect cash from customers sooner, it will be able to use that cash to pay bills and other obligations sooner.

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

A low accounts receivable turnover ratio, on the other hand, often indicates that the credit policies of the business are too loose. For example, you may allow a longer period of time for clients to pay or not enforce late fees once your deadline to pay has passed. Using your receivables turnover ratio, you can determine the average number of days it takes for your clients or customers to pay their invoices. Generally, the higher the accounts receivable turnover ratio, the more efficient a company is at collecting cash payments for purchases made on credit. The receivables turnover ratio, or “accounts receivable turnover”, measures the efficiency at which a company can collect its outstanding receivables from customers. The denominator of the accounts receivable turnover ratio is the average accounts receivable balance.

The company may then take the average of these balances; however, it must be mindful of how day-to-day entries may change the average. Similar to calculating net credit sales, the average accounts receivable balance should only cover a very specific time period. The basic fact is that any industry that extends credit or has physical inventory will benefit from an analysis of its accounts receivable turnover and inventory turnover ratios. As mentioned earlier, the accounts receivable turnover ratio is not very comparable for companies with different business models and companies in different industries.

Definition and Examples of Receivables Turnover Ratio

However, it is important to understand that factors influencing the ratio such as inconsistent accounts receivable balances may accidently impact the calculation of the ratio. The receivable turnover ratio is used to measure the financial performance and efficiency of accounts receivables management. This metric helps companies assess their credit policy as well as its process for collecting debts from customers. Accounts receivable turnover ratio calculations will widely vary from industry to industry.

For our illustrative example, let’s say that you own a company with the following financials.

Reward Efficient Payments

It is therefore vital to only compare turnover ratios of companies in like industries that have similar business models. The lower a company’s AR turnover ratio is, the longer and more difficult it is to collect from its debtors. This negatively impacts its liquidity as it does not have cash, rather only a claim on cash, which it cannot use to pay creditors and expenses or make purchases. Like any business metric, there is a limit to the usefulness of the AR turnover ratio. For example, collecting on office supplies is a lot easier than collecting on a surgical procedure or mortgage payment. Secondly, the ratio enables companies to determine if their credit policies and processes support good cash flow and continued business growth — or not.

Therefore, when using this ratio, an investor should consider the business model and industry of a company for the metric to have any real comparative value. The accounts receivable turnover ratio and cash conversion cycle are two different measures that are used to measure similar things. This being said, the cash conversion cycle usually incorporates more information in its calculation and hence is usually the more preferred metric for analysis. An efficient company has a higher accounts receivable turnover ratio while an inefficient company has a lower ratio.

Another limitation is that accounts receivable varies dramatically throughout the year. These entities likely have periods with high receivables along with a low turnover ratio and periods when the receivables are fewer and can be more easily managed and collected. An efficient and effective automated invoicing process will better the AR turnover ratio of any business. With streamlined invoice matching, the use of robotic process automation, and error-free processes, the right software can make a world of difference. On the other hand, the cash conversion cycle accounts not just for credit sales, but also for inventory processing and credit purchases. However, being too strict about upfront payment can hurt a business’s relationship with its customers and business partners.

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