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Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio: Meaning, Formula, Examples

Accounts receivable turnover (ART) ratio measures how often a company collects its average accounts receivable within a specific period, typically a year. It is a reflection of the company's efficacy in issuing credit and collecting debts, serving both as a marker of financial health and a predictor of cash flow.


  • The Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio measures how efficiently a company collects its debts.
  • It is calculated using net credit sales and average accounts receivable over a specific period.
  • This ratio is a tool for examining a company's financial health and operational efficiency.
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The Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio is a critical financial measure used to assess how effectively a company is managing its credit extended to customers and how quickly it's able to collect the owed funds.

Essentially, it gives insight into the efficiency of a company's credit policies and accounts receivable management. A higher ratio indicates that a company is collecting payments more rapidly, which can lead to better cash flow.

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

A higher ratio indicates regular and effective collection of receivables, which translates to better liquidity. In contrast, a lower ratio may hint at issues such as customer dissatisfaction, ineffective collection strategies, or credit terms that are too lenient.

Components of the Ratio

The calculation of the ART ratio hinges on two key components:

1.     Net Credit Sales: This is the amount of sales made on credit minus any returns or allowances. It represents the actual credit sales amount that is expected to be converted to cash.

2.     Average Accounts Receivable: This component is the midpoint between the starting and ending accounts receivable balance over a period, which is typically calculated as:

(Beginning Accounts Receivable + Ending Accounts Receivable) / 2 = Average AR

Calculating Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

Calculating the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio is crucial for measuring a company's efficiency in collecting credit sales. This ratio can also impact cash flow and credit policies.

Step-by-Step Calculation

1.     Identify Net Credit Sales: The company must start with the net credit sales figure, which is found on the income statement. Net credit sales include all sales made on credit, minus any returns or allowances.

Net Credit Sales: [Total Credit Sales] - [Sales Returns and Allowances]

2.     Determine Average Accounts Receivable: This involves averaging the starting and ending receivables for the period in question. These figures can be found on the balance sheet.

Average Accounts Receivable: (Beginning Receivables + Ending Receivables) / 2

3.     Apply the Formula: Once the figures are gathered, apply them to the Receivables Turnover Ratio formula:

Receivables Turnover Ratio:
[Net Credit Sales] / [Average Accounts Receivable]

4.     Example: A hypothetical company with $100,000 in net credit sales and beginning and ending receivables of $20,000 and $30,000 respectively, calculates its average accounts receivable to be $25,000 for the year:

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

Receivables Turnover Ratio: $100,000 / $25,000 = 4.0 times

The Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio evaluates a business’s efficiency in managing and collecting its credit sales, directly impacting cash flow.
Efficiency hinges on how well a company manages its accounts receivable balance to maximize cash flow. A high ratio indicates that a company is collecting receivables quickly, often reflecting effective collection processes and a sound credit policy. This translates into enhanced cash availability for the business's operations and potentially less  bad debt. Conversely, a low ratio can signal that the company may be extending credit terms that are too lenient, experiencing inefficiencies in collections, or dealing with customers who are not financially viable.
Benchmarking the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio against industry standards offers insights into a company’s relative performance. A ratio above the industry average suggests that the company is more proficient in converting receivables into cash, which implies better-than-average asset turnover. Companies should also consider the nature of their sales—higher proportions of cash sales may skew the ratio. Furthermore, while a high ratio is generally positive, it should be balanced against the risk of a credit policy that is too stringent, potentially losing sales. Analyzing this financial ratio in comparison with peers gives a more comprehensive understanding of a company’s efficiency ratio and overall financial health.
In assessing the accounts receivable turnover ratio, it’s vital to consider the impact of credit policies and operational variables. These factors can significantly alter the effectiveness with which a business manages and collects its credit sales.
Conservative credit policies generally result in a higher turnover ratio, indicative of stringent credit issuing and swift collection efforts. These policies might include rigorous credit checks and shorter payment terms, which tend to attract quality customers with good creditworthiness. Conversely, aggressive credit policies may boost sales on credit and business growth in the short term, but they can lead to a lower turnover ratio due to increased credit risks and potentially higher rates of sales returns and sales allowances.
Operational variables greatly affect the receivable turnover in days. Efficient invoice management and persistent collection practices can expedite payments and reduce the days sales outstanding (DSO). A business’s ability to maintain a diverse and creditworthy client base also stabilizes the turnover ratio by balancing the risks. Moreover, the effectiveness of the sales team in managing sales allowances and preventing excessive sales returns can maintain the integrity of the revenue figures and, by extension, the turnover ratio.
Improving the accounts receivable turnover ratio is crucial for enhancing a company's cash flow and reducing the collection period. By implementing effective collection strategies and adjusting credit policies, a business can increase the velocity at which it converts its receivables into cash.

Companies can optimize their collection efforts by adopting a proactive approach towards outstanding invoices. They should consider segmenting their customer base according to creditworthiness and invoice due dates, prioritizing collections from customers who consistently pay late. Regularly reviewing the accounts receivable aging report aids in identifying overdue payments and allows them to act swiftly.

  • Send payment reminders before invoice due dates.
  • Establish clear  payment terms such as Net30.
  • Utilize electronic billing systems to expedite invoicing processes.

For persistently delinquent accounts, more aggressive collection methods may be necessary, such as the involvement of collection agencies or legal actions.

Credit policies must strike a balance between expanding the customer base and minimizing the risk of non-payment. A company should regularly review and adjust its credit policies to reflect the financial landscape and the risk profile of its customers.

  • Credit Assessments: Conduct thorough credit checks before extending credit.
  • Payment Terms: Set and enforce strict payment terms, and consider offering early payment discounts to encourage timely payments.
  • Credit Limits: Establish credit limits tailored to the customer's payment history and creditworthiness.

Adjustments to credit terms should be clearly communicated to existing and new customers, ensuring that everyone is aware of the expectations and consequences of non-compliance. By regularly reviewing their credit policies, companies can ensure that they extend credit wisely, fostering customer relationships while protecting their financial interests.

This section answers the most pressing queries about the Accounts Receivables Turnover ratio calculation, interpretation, and comparison with other ratios.
A high ratio often indicates that a company is efficient at collecting debt from customers. However, 'favorable' is relative and varies across industries, and is best understood by comparing the ratio with industry averages.
A high Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio suggests that a company is quick to turn receivables into cash. This efficiency can indicate strong credit and collection policies.
While the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio measures how quickly a company collects payments from its customers, the Accounts Payable Turnover Ratio measures how quickly a company pays off its suppliers. Both provide insights into the firm’s cash flow management.
When you insure your accounts receivables with trade credit insurance from Allianz Trade, you can count on being paid, even if one of your accounts faces insolvency or is unable to pay. In addition, trade credit insurance from Allianz Trade comes with the added benefit of the support necessary to make data-informed decisions about extending credit to new clients or increasing credit to existing clients.

Allianz Trade is the global leader in trade credit insurance and credit management, offering tailored solutions to mitigate the risks associated with bad debt, thereby ensuring the financial stability of businesses. Our products and services help companies with risk management, cash flow management, accounts receivables protection, Surety bonds, business fraud Insurance, debt collection processes and e-commerce credit insurance ensuring the financial resilience for our client’s businesses. Our expertise in risk mitigation and finance positions us as trusted advisors, enabling businesses aspiring for global success to expand into international markets with confidence.

Our business is built on supporting relationships between people and organizations, relationships that extend across frontiers of all kinds—geographical, financial, industrial, and more. We are constantly aware that our work has an impact on the communities we serve and that we have a duty to help and support others. At Allianz Trade, we are strongly committed to fairness for all without discrimination, among our own people and in our many relationships with those outside our business.