The accounts receivables turnover ratio is a key metric that measures how effectively a company manages its collections. If customers are not paying as expected, cash flow can become constrained. However, efficient collection management leads to more predictable cash flow, reduced collection costs, and a healthier balance sheet. This is crucial for securing credit, investing in growth, and attracting investors.

What Is the Accounts Receivables (AR) Turnover Ratio?

The accounts receivables turnover ratio, also known as receivables turnover, assesses how effectively companies manage the credit they extend to customers by evaluating how quickly outstanding debts are collected during a specific accounting period.

For instance, Jimmy’s Deli Cuts supplies cold cuts to stores across the Southeast, invoicing them monthly with a net 30 payment term. While some customers pay promptly, others may delay or default, resulting in bad debt.

On the other hand, Morris TV Rentals bills customers a month in advance, securing its accounts receivables as service can be disconnected for non-payment.

Both scenarios demonstrate how the accounts receivables turnover ratio indicates the average time it takes customers to pay, reflecting the company’s financial stability and cash flow management.

Receivables vs. Asset Turnover Ratio

While asset turnover measures how efficiently a company utilizes its assets to generate revenue, the accounts receivable ratio focuses on collecting owed money from customers.


  • A high accounts receivable (AR) turnover ratio is generally desirable, but overly restrictive credit policies can negatively impact sales.
  • A low AR turnover ratio may concern lenders, but it doesn’t always indicate risky customers. Sometimes, it results from overly generous payment terms or dealing with companies requiring longer payment cycles.
  • The AR turnover ratio should be considered in the context of the business type. Industries like retail and grocery stores typically have high AR turnover due to their efficient payment processes. Therefore, it’s beneficial to compare your ratio with industry peers.
  • The AR turnover ratio alone may not fully reflect the quality of your customer base or the effectiveness of your retention efforts. It should be viewed in context with your business type and industry.
  • You can improve your AR turnover ratio by enhancing your billing processes and improving cash flow management.

Understanding the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

Achieving financial security requires businesses to understand their accounts receivable turnover ratio. This efficiency metric assesses an organization’s receivable balances and accounts to gauge cash flow health.

If a company neglects its receivables turnover, it risks failing to regularly and accurately bill customers or remind them of payments due. This oversight can delay the receipt of payments for products or services provided, leading to significant financial issues.

Ensuring timely collection of owed money benefits both internal operations and external financial engagements. While accounts receivable turnover ratios vary by industry, higher ratios generally impress potential investors and financial institutions. Thus, diligently managing receivables directly enhances an organization’s financial stability and profitability.

Importance of the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

This ratio serves two pivotal purposes: ensuring timely bill payments and assessing if credit policies support cash flow and business growth.

What Can the Accounts Receivable Ratio Tell You?

It offers insights into a company’s ability to collect receivables efficiently and customer debt payment rates. Generally, higher ratios indicate healthier cash flow and financial stability.

Calculation of Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

Also known as the “receivable turnover” or “debtors turnover” ratio, the accounts receivable turnover ratio is an efficiency metric, specifically an activity financial ratio, used in financial statement analysis. It measures how effectively and quickly a company converts its accounts receivable into cash within a given accounting period.

The AR turnover ratio is calculated by dividing net sales by average accounts receivable. Net sales are calculated as sales on credit minus sales returns and sales allowances. Average accounts receivable is determined by adding the starting and ending receivables for a set period (generally monthly, quarterly, or annually) and dividing by two.

The formula for calculating the AR turnover ratio for a one-year period is:

Net Annual Credit Sales ÷ Average Accounts Receivables = Accounts Receivables Turnover

Example for calculating Accounts Receivables Turnover Ratio

For example, Danny’s Bake Shop sells fresh baked goods for corporate events and accepts credit. The shop totaled $200,000 in gross sales. Starting accounts receivables for the year were $20,000. Ending accounts receivables for the year were $30,000. The formula for calculating how many times in that year Flo collected her average accounts receivables looks like this:

Average Accounts receivables= ($20,000+$30,000)/2= $25,000

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio= $200,000/$25000=8

So, Danny collected his average accounts receivables 8 times during the year.

In financial modeling, the accounts receivable turnover ratio is used to forecast the balance sheet. The AR balance is determined by the average number of days it takes to receive revenue. Revenue for each period is multiplied by the turnover days and divided by the number of days in the period to calculate the AR balance.

To determine the average number of days it takes a client to pay on a credit sale, the formula is:

Average Collection Period=Number of Days in Period\Accounts Receivables Turn Over Ratio

This calculation helps to understand the typical time frame for receiving payments from clients.

Or, in the Danny’s Bake Shop example above, the calculation would look like this:

Accounts Receivable Turnover in Days = 365 / 7.2 = 50.69

What Is a Good Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio?

Generally, a higher accounts receivable turnover ratio is preferable. It indicates that your customers are paying on time and that your company is efficient at collecting payments.

A higher ratio can also signify improved cash flow, a stronger balance sheet, balanced asset turnover, and enhanced creditworthiness for your company.

However, there are situations where this general rule may not apply.

Do You Prefer a Higher or Lower Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio?

A high accounts receivable turnover ratio may suggest that the company is cautious in extending credit to customers and is effective or assertive in its collection practices. It could also imply that the company’s customer base is high-quality or that it operates on a cash basis.

However, not all aspects of a high ratio are necessarily beneficial. Overly conservative credit practices could lead to missed sales opportunities or a significant decline in sales during economic downturns. Businesses need to assess whether a lower ratio is acceptable to navigate challenging periods.

Conversely, a low ratio might indicate poor management, overly lenient credit policies, excessive operational spending, serving a riskier customer base, or susceptibility to broader economic factors.

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio Examples

Every company engages in selling products and/or services, issuing invoices, and collecting payments according to the terms agreed upon in the sale. However, there are variations in how effectively companies manage collections beyond this point. Here are some examples illustrating specific scenarios.

High Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

Sam operates a rental company that accepts insurance payments from a select number of insurers and cash payments from uninsured customers. With an accounts receivable turnover ratio of 10, indicating that the average accounts receivable are collected in 36.5 days, Sam enjoys strong cash flow and achieves his financial objectives. However, during economic downturns, overly strict credit policies or competitors offering more insurance options or deeper cash payment discounts could pose challenges.

Low Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

Lois runs a local pool cleaning service for homeowners and a few small apartment complexes. Due to being constantly short-handed and overworked, Lois issues invoices whenever she can find a free hour or two. Despite Lois’s customers generally paying on time, her accounts receivable ratio is 3.33 due to sporadic invoicing and irregular due dates. Consequently, Lois’s accounts receivables only turn into cash about three times a year, with it taking roughly four months for her to collect on any invoice.

Tracking Accounts Receivable Ratios

Consistently monitoring accounts receivable ratios is essential for businesses. A decline in the ratio could indicate the need to tighten credit policies and increase collection efforts. Conversely, an excessively high ratio might suggest overly aggressive credit policies and collection practices, potentially hindering sales growth. Understanding how quickly invoices are typically paid allows for more strategic planning and better anticipation of future cash flow.

Maintaining a positive track record with accounts receivable ratios also enhances a company’s appeal to lenders, facilitating access to additional capital for business expansion or savings for unforeseen circumstances.

Tracking Your Accounts Receivable Turnover

Monitoring accounts receivable turnover enables businesses to identify opportunities for policy enhancements to bolster their bottom line. Over time, tracking turnover rates aids in refining collection processes and forecasting future cash flow. Additionally, a higher accounts receivable turnover ratio is typically perceived as a lower lending risk by bankers, increasing the likelihood of securing bank loans.

Limitations of the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

While valuable, the accounts receivable turnover ratio has its limitations. It’s essential to consider industry-specific factors when interpreting the ratio. For instance, grocery stores tend to have high turnover ratios due to their cash-heavy nature, making the ratio less indicative of overall management efficiency. Similarly, manufacturers often have lower ratios due to extended payment terms, necessitating contextual interpretation for a more meaningful analysis. Additionally, the ratio provides insight into overall customer payment trends but does not identify individual customers at risk of bankruptcy or attrition. Furthermore, businesses with cyclical operations may experience skewed ratios depending on the timing of accounts receivable averages. Comparing the ratio to Accounts Receivable Aging reports can provide a more accurate assessment of turnover efficiency.

5 Tips to Improve Your Accounts Receivable (AR) Turnover Ratio

Businesses with low accounts receivable turnover ratios can implement several strategies to improve their financial performance:

1. Invoice regularly and accurately to ensure timely payments.
2. Clearly state payment terms in contracts and invoices to manage customer expectations.
3. Offer multiple payment methods to accommodate diverse customer preferences.
4. Set up automated follow-up reminders to prompt timely payments.
5. Consider offering discounts for cash payments or prepayments to incentivize prompt settlement of invoices.

Tracking and Improving Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio With Versa Cloud ERP

Accurately monitoring accounts receivables and payments owed is essential for financial management. Implementing a robust financial management system, such as Versa Cloud ERP, can streamline accounts receivable processes, minimize manual errors, and enhance efficiency. By leveraging features like real-time dashboards and automated reminders, businesses can optimize cash flow management, maintain compliance with accounting standards, and expedite financial reporting.

Maintaining proactive and diligent accounts receivable management enables businesses to maximize cash flow, identify growth opportunities, and enhance overall financial performance.

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio FAQs

How is the accounts receivable turnover calculated?

The accounts receivable turnover ratio is calculated by dividing net sales by the average accounts receivables for a specific period. The formula is:

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio= Net Annual Credit Sales/Average Accounts Receivables

Net annual credit sales are calculated as sales on credit minus sales returns and allowances. Average accounts receivable is calculated by adding the starting and ending receivables for a period and dividing by two.

What constitutes a high turnover of accounts receivable?

A significant turnover in accounts receivable indicates that a company efficiently collects credit sales, demonstrating effective cash flow management. It suggests that customers promptly settle invoices, potentially reflecting stringent credit policies or a premium customer segment. However, contextual factors must be considered, as high turnover could also result from overly strict credit policies that hinder sales growth.

What is the AR-to-sales ratio?

While not explicitly discussed in the article, the AR to sales ratio can be inferred as a measure related to the accounts receivable turnover ratio. This ratio typically compares the accounts receivable amount to total sales within a specific period, indicating the proportion of sales made on credit. However, the primary ratio discussed in the article is the accounts receivable turnover ratio, calculated using net sales and average accounts receivable, rather than directly comparing AR to sales.

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