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Efficient management of accounts receivables is crucial for maintaining sufficient cash flow to meet financial obligations. In this article, we will delve into the average collection period, its definition, significance, and how it impacts your business’s cash flow.

Average Collection Period Definition

The average collection period represents the days between making a credit sale and receiving the corresponding payment. It is also known as days’ sales in accounts receivable or the average collection period ratio. Monitoring this metric is vital to ensure timely payments, allowing you to meet other financial needs and expenses.

Importance of Average Collection Period

Evaluating how long it takes to collect outstanding debts is essential for assessing how well your business manages credit extended to customers. This evaluation, known as accounts receivables turnover, involves calculating the ratio of net credit sales to the average accounts receivable balance.

Calculating Average Collection Period

To calculate the average collection period, you’ll need the average accounts receivable, the number of days in the relevant duration, and the total credit sales. The formula is:




  • ACP – Average Collection Period
  • AR – Accounts Receivable
  • TCS – Total Credit Sales

Example Calculation of Average Collection Period

Let’s consider a scenario where your business made $100,000 in credit sales last year, with an average accounts receivable of $25,000. Using the formula:


ACP= 25,000×365/

 =91.25 days

This indicates an average collection period of approximately 91 days.

How Average Collection Period Affects Cash Flow

Efficient management of the average collection period is crucial for various sectors. Financial institutions, construction companies, and real estate agencies all rely on steady cash flow to meet their financial commitments. Timely payments from customers are essential for preventing financial deficits.

Optimizing Your Business Cash Flow

Balancing credit terms with accounts receivables is key. The ideal average collection period should be less than or close to your credit terms, but not exceeding a third of those terms. For instance, if your credit terms are 30 days, aim for an average collection period not exceeding 40 days.


Understanding the average collection period empowers businesses to optimize their credit terms, ensuring a positive cash flow trend. While a shorter collection period indicates faster payments, it’s essential to strike a balance that suits both your business and customers. Regularly comparing your metrics with industry standards allows for performance benchmarking and long-term financial stability.