01 Feb 2024

Optimize Cash Flow Using Average Collection

Valerius Dcunha (Founding Member - Business)

In the dynamic realm of business, the efficient management of cash flow reigns supreme. Every company endeavors to expedite the collection of payments, ensuring smooth operations and facilitating growth. In this pursuit, the average collection period (ACP) emerges as a pivotal metric, shedding light on a company’s prowess in converting credit sales into cash and offering crucial insights into its financial robustness and liquidity.

What is the Average Collection Period?

In essence, the ACP delineates the average number of days required for a company to collect payment on its credit sales. It serves as a gauge of how expeditiously customers settle their invoices. A shorter ACP signifies adept collection practices and robust cash flow, while a protracted ACP may hint at potential cash flow impediments and inefficiencies in credit management.

Why is the Average Collection Period Important?

Comprehending the ACP bestows several advantages:

  • Cash Flow Management: A diminished ACP translates to swifter access to cash, empowering companies to fulfill expenses, capitalize on growth prospects, and sustain financial equilibrium. Conversely, an elevated ACP can precipitate cash scarcities, impeding the ability to meet financial commitments and affecting business operations.
  • Creditworthiness Assessment: Investors and lenders often scrutinize ACP when assessing a company’s creditworthiness. A consistently low ACP can enhance appeal and secure favorable borrowing terms.
  • Identifying Bottlenecks: Analyzing the ACP longitudinally can pinpoint areas necessitating enhancement in credit and collection processes. Are invoices dispatched promptly? Are payment terms clearly delineated? Is there a robust follow-up mechanism in place? By rectifying inefficiencies, companies can truncate their ACP and optimize cash flow.
  • Benchmarking Performance: Comparing the ACP with industry benchmarks or historical data facilitates the assessment of collection practices vis-à-vis competitors or past performance. This furnishes valuable context for setting improvement objectives and monitoring progress.

Calculating the Average Collection Period

Now, let’s delve into the mechanics of computing the ACP. Two primary methods are employed:

1. Formula-Based Approach:

ACP = (Average Accounts Receivable / Net Credit Sales) * Number of Days in Period

2. Receivables Turnover Ratio:

ACP = 365 (or Number of Days in Period) / Receivables Turnover Ratio

Interpreting the Average Collection Period

Upon computation of the ACP, the subsequent step entails interpretation. While there’s no universally applicable benchmark, the ideal range hinges on factors such as industry, customer base, and payment terms. Generally, an ACP of 30-45 days is deemed favorable, whereas anything surpassing 60 days might signify potential issues.


The average collection period serves as a potent metric, furnishing invaluable insights into a company’s financial well-being and cash flow efficacy. By comprehending its calculation, interpretation, and avenues for improvement, businesses can refine their credit and collection processes, ensuring a seamless influx of cash to propel their growth and prosperity. Remember, a commendable ACP epitomizes a financially prudent and adeptly managed organization.

Additional Tips:

  • Regularly monitor the ACP and track trends over time.
  • Benchmark the ACP against industry averages and competitors.
  • Analyze the reasons behind a high ACP and institute targeted improvement strategies.
  • Invest in efficient invoicing and collection systems.
  • Offer early payment incentives to expedite settlements.
  • Maintain transparent communication with customers concerning payment terms and expectations.

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