If a company has a drastically higher DSO when compared to its peer, it may be helpful to start considering if we should classify those accounts receivable as bad debts. Bad debts are money owed by customers that are very unlikely to be collected by the company. Having high bad debts will heavily impact the company’s future performance, so you might want to look out for them. Working capital is an essential metric when analyzing a company’s operational effectiveness.

Understanding how long it takes for funds to flow back into your business allows you to identify potential areas of improvement within procurement processes. This calculation sheds light on customer payment behavior and helps determine whether adjustments are needed in invoicing practices or collections strategies. Then, find out the net credit sales made during the same period – these are sales made on credit minus any returns or discounts given to customers.

It is calculated by dividing the total accounts receivable balance by the average daily sales. In today’s competitive business landscape, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your company’s financial health. By analyzing your days sales in receivables, also known as DSR or DSO (Days Sales Outstanding), you can assess how efficiently your organization collects outstanding payments from customers. This information is vital for evaluating liquidity, identifying potential bottlenecks, and implementing strategies for improvement. The days sales outstanding calculation, also called the average collection period or days’ sales in receivables, measures the number of days it takes a company to collect cash from its credit sales. This calculation shows the liquidity and efficiency of a company’s collections department.


Accounts receivable days and payable days: What’s the difference?

With this DSO calculator (Days Sales Outstanding) you can easily calculate how long it takes for a company to collect money from its customers. Days sale outstanding is a very effective metric when analyzing the effectiveness of a company. As you can see, it takes Devin approximately 31 days to collect cash from his customers on average. When your customers owe your company money, it impacts your cash flow which results in less revenue because past due accounts that surpass 120 days are more difficult to collect. If this happens, the opportunity for you to grow your company may not happen because you won’t have enough cash. A high DSO value illustrates a company is experiencing a hard time when converting credit sales to cash.

  • To improve DSR, companies should consider implementing stricter credit policies and conducting thorough credit checks on potential customers.
  • By understanding how money moves within the procurement process, businesses can make informed decisions that positively impact their bottom line.
  • On the other hand, low DSR figures are indicative of a strong collections process and prompt receivables turnover.
  • Customer satisfaction might be declining, or the salespeople may be offering longer terms of payment to drive increased sales.

Companies can lower DSO is by automating and optimizing their order-to-cash process. But the more common approach is to use the ending balance for simplicity, as the difference in methodology rarely has a material impact on the B/S forecast. Access and download collection of free Templates to help power your productivity and performance.

The optimum number of accounts receivable days varies from industry to industry and will be different for only businesses with seasonal demand. Regularly monitoring customer payment patterns and following up on overdue invoices promptly are essential for maintaining healthy cash flows. Industry trends and economic conditions also play a significant role in determining DSR. In times of economic downturns or recessions, customers may face cash flow issues and delay payments, resulting in higher DSR ratios.

AI-based Collections Software helps businesses achieve 75% faster recovery through worklist prioritization enabled by advanced technologies. It also enables companies to improve collections efficiency with real-time visibility into health metrics like bad debt, DSO, and CEI. It can be considered a guide for the credit management and sales teams on issues relating to credit lines, risk exposure, payment waive-offs, etc.


This occurs when the business owes more to creditors than it has available cash. Up-front gross
profit is recorded for the excess of the present value of the lease payments to be received across
a lease term over the cost to manufacture the leased equipment. Interest income also is recognized
on the lease receivable as it is earned over the lease term. The use of creative accounting practices to alter a financial statement
reader’s impression of a firm’s business performance. A reduction in the price of a product or service that is offered by the
seller in exchange for early payment by the buyer. Amounts earned by the company from the sale of merchandise or services; often used interchangeably with the term revenue.

Apply these numbers to the DSO formula

When using DSO to compare the cash flows of a number of companies, you should compare companies within the same industry, with similar business models and revenue numbers. If you try to compare companies in different industries and of different sizes, the results you’ll get will be misleading because they often have very different DSO benchmarks and targets. Generally, when looking at a given company’s cash flow, it is helpful to track that company’s DSO over time to 9 ways to finance a business determine if its DSO is trending up or down or if there are patterns in the company’s cash flow history. If a company’s ability to make its own payments in a timely fashion is disrupted, it may be forced to make drastic changes. To effectively manage A/R days, every A/R leader should have a comprehensive dashboard that offers visibility into all A/R processes. This allows them to keep track of key metrics and improve existing processes, ultimately reducing A/R days.

The Days Sales in Receivables formula provides a valuable tool to assess the efficiency of your collections process and understand how quickly you convert sales into cash. The purpose of utilizing DSR is to gain a clear understanding of your organization’s financial health and performance. By monitoring this metric regularly, you can track trends over time and compare them with industry benchmarks or internal targets. This information enables you to make data-driven decisions about credit terms, customer relationships, and overall cash flow management strategies. A high days sales in receivables ratio could be an indication that there are issues with collections or credit policies. This can lead to cash flow problems and ultimately impact the overall financial health of the company.


The manufacture or purchase price of goods sold in a period or the cost of providing a service. The fee charged by a mutual fund when purchasing shares, usually payable as a commission to
marketing agent, such as a financial advisor, who is thus compensated for his assistance to a purchaser. It
represents the difference, if any, between the share purchase price and the share net asset value. To understand the DSO meaning, let’s use a hypothetical company — Company Alpha — as an example. My Accounting Course  is a world-class educational resource developed by experts to simplify accounting, finance, & investment analysis topics, so students and professionals can learn and propel their careers. By using modern automation tools, accounts receivable (AR) professionals can elevate their contributions by reducing their manual work and focusing on higher-level tasks.

If the value for accounts receivable days is very high, a company should look at the causes and eliminate them if possible. In this way, it avoids getting into payment difficulties due to delayed receipts. The longer a company can postpone the payment of an invoice, the less it burdens its liquidity. Accounts receivable days is the number of days an invoice remains unpaid or outstanding until the business finally collects the payment from the customer. External sales forecasts are based on
historical experience, statistical analysis, and consideration of various macroeconomic factors. A high DSO can indicate that a business isn’t collecting payments quickly enough or that there are issues with customer creditworthiness.

If sales decreases proportionally to accounts receivable, DSO will not increase. While this may not be welcome news, it does not indicate a change in the balance of sales and receivables, and therefore will not affect DSO. The period of time used to measure DSO can be monthly, quarterly, or annually. If the result is a low DSO, it means that the business takes a few days to collect its receivables.

Days’ sales in inventory ratio

Neglecting other factors that contribute to overall cash flow management can hinder accurate analysis with the DSR formula alone. It’s important not to rely solely on one metric but consider other financial indicators such as operating expenses or inventory turnover ratios for a comprehensive evaluation of cash flow health in procurement. Moreover, we will also show you some calculation examples so that you will be able to analyze companies by using the days sales outstanding formula. But, before diving into examples, let’s make sure we understand what DSO in finance is.

Delinquent Days Sales Outstanding (DDSO) is a good alternative for credit collection assessment or for use alongside DSO. Like any metric measuring a company’s performance, DSO should not be considered alone, but rather should be used with other metrics. To interpret this metric, we will need details on the company’s industry and past data. With modern invoice management software, companies can quickly create an invoice and send it to their customers without having to build in an « invoicing day » at the end of the month.

This can allow the business to improve its efficiency in collecting payments. By analyzing DSR, companies can identify potential issues or bottlenecks in their collections process. High DSR numbers may indicate inefficiencies such as delayed payments or ineffective credit management policies. On the other hand, low DSR figures are indicative of a strong collections process and prompt receivables turnover.

Analyzing financial efficiency in procurement is crucial for businesses to maintain a healthy cash flow and optimize their operations. One of the valuable tools available for this analysis is the Days Sales in Receivables (DSR) calculator. By calculating DSR, businesses can gain insights into their collection period and identify areas for improvement. The Days Sales in Receivables Ratio, also known as DSO or Average Collection Period, is a financial ratio that measures how long it takes for a business to collect payment from customers after making a sale. This metric helps businesses track the efficiency of their accounts receivable process and the overall health of their cash flow. Days sales outstanding can vary from month to month, and over the course of a year with a company’s seasonal business cycle.