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# Receivables Turnover Ratio: Definition, Formula and Improvement

July 16, 2024
Bill Kimball

The reason net credit sales are used instead of net sales is that cash sales don’t create receivables. Only credit sales establish a receivable, so the cash sales are left out of the calculation. In some ways the receivables turnover ratio can be viewed as a liquidity ratio as well. The business may have a low ratio as a result of staff members who don’t fully understand their job description or may be underperforming.

## What is the accounts receivable turnover ratio?

That’s also usually coupled with the fact that you have quality customers who pay on time. These on-time payments are significant because they improve your business’s cash flow and open up credit lines for customers to make additional purchases. Generally, the higher the accounts receivable turnover ratio, the more efficient a company is at collecting cash payments for purchases made on credit.

## Usefulness of the Accounts Receivables Turnover Ratio

Use this formula to calculate the receivables turnover ratio for your business at least once every quarter. Track and compare these results to identify any trends or patterns that may develop. Average accounts receivable is used to calculate the average amount of your outstanding invoices paid over a specific period of time. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about what a receivables turnover ratio is, how to calculate it, and how you can use it to improve your business. However, this should not discourage businesses as there are several ways to increase the receivable turnover ratio that will eventually help them improve revenue generation.

## Use in Financial Modeling

While the receivables turnover ratio can be handy, it has its limitations like any other measurement. Regardless of whether the ratio is high or low, it’s important to compare it to turnover ratios from previous years. Doing so allows you to determine whether the current turnover ratio represents progress or is a red flag signaling the need for change. 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. Then we add them together and divide by two, giving us \$35,000 as the average accounts receivable.

## Formula and Calculation of the Receivables Turnover Ratio

1. Average receivables is calculated by adding the beginning and ending receivables for the year and dividing by two.
2. It most often means that your business is very efficient at collecting the money it’s owed.
3. In this section, we’ll look at Alpha Lumber’s (fictional) financial data to calculate its accounts receivable turnover ratio.
4. That’s because it may be due to an inadequate collection process, bad credit policies, or customers that are not financially viable or creditworthy.

If a company loses clients or suffers slow growth, it may be better off loosening its credit policy to improve sales, even though it might lead to a lower accounts receivable turnover ratio. Higher turnover ratios imply healthy credit policies, strong collection processes, and relatively prompt customer payments. You’re also likely not to encounter many obstacles when searching for investors or lenders. Lower turnover ratios indicate that your business collects on its invoices inefficiently and is cause for concern. Lastly, many business owners use only the first and last month of the year to determine their receivables turnover ratio. However, the time it takes to receive payments often varies from quarter to quarter, especially for seasonal companies.

AccountEdge Pro lets you track both cash and credit sales, a necessity for calculating accounts receivable turnover ratio properly. It also offers excellent reporting capability including complete financial statements along with audit trail reports. The accounts receivable turnover ratio, also known as receivables turnover, is a simple formula that calculates how quickly your customers or clients pay you the money they owe. It also serves as an indication of how effective your credit policies and collection processes are.

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. To calculate net credit sales, simply deduct sales returns and allowances from total credit sales. To calculate average accounts receivable, simply find the total of beginning and ending accounts receivable for a certain period and divide it by 2. The Accounts Receivable Turnover is a working capital ratio used to estimate the number of times per year a company collects cash payments owed from customers who had paid using credit. A high ratio can also suggest that a company is conservative when it comes to extending credit to its customers.

Now that you understand what an accounts receivable turnover ratio is and how to calculate it, let’s take a look at an example. You can use this average collection period information to compare your company’s receivables turnover time with that of other companies in your industry. The accounts receivables turnover metric is most practical when compared to a company’s nearest competitors in order to determine if the company is on par with the industry average or not. We can interpret the ratio to mean that Company A collected its receivables 11.76 times on average that year. In other words, the company converted its receivables to cash 11.76 times that year. A company could compare several years to ascertain whether 11.76 is an improvement or an indication of a slower collection process.

Since we already have our net credit sales (\$400,000), we can skip straight to the second step—identifying the average accounts receivable. This way you will decrease the number of outstanding invoices in your books resulting in an increased receivable turnover ratio. Therefore, Trinity Bikes Shop collected its average accounts receivable approximately 7.2 times over the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017. The receivables turnover ratio is just like any other metric that tries to gauge the efficiency of a business in that it comes with certain limitations that are important for any investor to consider.

As a result, you should also consider the age of your accounts receivable to determine if your ratio appropriately reflects your customer payment. Using your receivables turnover ratio, you can determine the average number of days it takes for your clients or customers to pay their invoices. Companies with efficient collection processes possess higher accounts receivable turnover ratios.

John wants to know how many times his company collects its average accounts receivable over the year. Another example is to compare a single company’s accounts receivable turnover ratio over time. A company may track its accounts receivable turnover ratio every 30 days or at the end of each quarter. In this manner, a company can better understand how its collection plan is faring and whether it is improving in its collections.

Depending on the type of accounting you are doing, understanding accounts receivable turnover ratios can be useful. Since the accounts receivable turnover ratio is an average, it can be hiding some important details. For example, past due receivables could be hidden/offset by receivables that have paid faster than the average. Therefore, if you have access to the company’s details, you should review a detailed aging of accounts receivable to discover any past due accounts. Therefore, the average customer takes approximately 51 days to pay their debt to the store. If Trinity Bikes Shop maintains a policy for payments made on credit, such as a 30-day policy, the receivable turnover in days calculated above would indicate that the average customer makes late payments.

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For example, a company may compare the receivables turnover ratios of companies that operate within the same industry. In this example, a company can better understand whether the processing of its credit sales are in line with competitors or whether they are lagging behind its competition. The accounts receivables turnover ratio measures the number of times a company collects its average accounts receivable balance. It is a quantification of a company’s effectiveness in collecting outstanding balances from clients and managing its line of credit process.