Average Payment Period

Average payment period (APP) is one of the activity ratios which measures the relationship between accounts payable and average purchases per day. Activity ratios help businesses to measure how efficiently various accounts are converted into sales or cash. Other activity ratios include average collection period, total asset turnover and inventory turnover analysis.

APP calculates how efficiently accounts payable are settled. It indicates, on average, how many days does it take to pay off accounts payable. APP is also referred to as the average age of accounts payable or the accounts payable turnover ratio.

The formula to calculate the APP is as follows:

APP = Accounts payable/Average purchases per day

The figure for accounts payable is obtained from the balance sheet and the figure for purchases is indirectly obtained from the income statement. Here the difficulty of calculating APP is highlighted. A figure for purchases is usually not available. Therefore, purchases are usually estimated as a percentage of cost of goods sold, which is in turn obtained from the income statement.

Purchases must be adjusted for credit purchases. This is done by deducting cash purchases. Further, credit purchases must be divided by the number of days per year to finally obtain average purchases per day.

Average credit purchases per day = Credit purchases/365

Example calculation


Assume First Parsons Company has accounts payable of $840,000 and credit purchases of $5,300,000. First Parsons Company was granted credit terms of 30 days by all its creditors. Assume there are 365 days year.

The average payment period of First Parsons Company is calculated as follows:

Firstly, we need to calculate the average credit purchases per day.

Average credit purchases per day = Credit purchases/365

= $5,300,000/365

= $14,520.55

Now, we are ready to calculate APP.

= $840,000/$14,520.55

=57.85 days

= 58 days

The APP of the First Parsons Company is 58 days. It takes on average 58 days to settle the accounts payable. However, the credit terms granted by creditors to First Parsons Company is 30 days. This means that company’s creditors require accounts to be settled within 30 days.

In light of this information, it is evident that payment of accounts payable is inadequately managed. If First Parsons Company will not attend to this issue in a timely manner, the current payment practices may lead to a number of harmful effects. Such harmful effects may include the inability to buy on credit from current suppliers, damage to the credibility of the business and a significantly deteriorating credit rating. This will be very harmful for the firm due to the further limitations it will impose on obtaining credit.

Things to note about this ratio


The average payment period analysis is only relevant when compared to credit terms granted to the business.

APP allows businesses to gain a better understanding of the cash outflows to be anticipated. Understanding of cash outflows is vital for successful operation of the business.

Average payment period analysis also identifies trends in the payment of the accounts payable. This can bring to management’s attention important variables that must be investigated to ensure successful operation of the business. For example, if the APP of the business increased from 30 to 68 days over 1 year while credit terms extended to the business remained the same at 30 days, a further investigation will be required to understand such a large increase in this ratio.

Further, to obtain a better understanding, one should compare the APP ratio to industry averages, to the ratio of leading firms in the industry and to the firm’s own historical results.

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Average Collection Period

The average collection period is one of the activity ratios which measures the relationship between accounts receivable and average credit sales per day. Activity ratios help businesses to measure how efficiently various accounts are converted into sales or cash. Other activity ratios include average payment period, total asset turnover and inventory turnover analysis.

It calculates how efficiently accounts receivable are collected. It indicates the quality of debtors of the business (how promptly debtors pay their bills as they come due). It is also referred to as the average age of accounts receivable, debtors collection period ratio or a collection ratio.

The formula to calculate the average collection period ratio is as follows:

Average Collection Period = Accounts receivable/Average sales per day

The figure for accounts receivable is obtained from the balance sheet and the figure for sales is obtained from the income statement. Sales must be further adjusted to credit sales, by excluding cash sales. Further, credit sales must be divided by the number of days per year to finally obtain average sales per day (average credit sales per day).

Average sales per day = Credit sales/365

Example calculation


Assume Heroic Company has accounts receivable of $750,000 and credit sales of $4,050,000. Heroic Company has credit terms of 30 days. Assume 365 days year.

The average collection period of Heroic Company is calculated as follows:

Average sales per day = Credit sales/365

= $4,050,000/365

= $11,095.89

Average collection period = $750,000/$11,095.89=67.6 days = 68 days.

It takes on average 68 days to collect the accounts receivable. However, the credit terms of Heroic Company is 30 days. This means that company’s customers have 30 days to settle their accounts.

In light of this information, it is evident that collection of accounts receivable and/or process of granting the credit to customers is inadequately managed. The performance and processes of credit and collection departments should be investigated to draw further conclusions.

Things to note about this ratio


Results are only relevant when compared to a company’s credit terms.

The average collection period ratio therefore allows business to gain a better understanding of the cash inflows to be anticipated. Understanding of cash inflows are vital for successful operation of the business.

It also allows to identify trends in the collection of the accounts receivable. This can bring to management’s attention important variables that must be investigated to ensure successful operation of the business. For example, if the average collection period of the business increased from 30 to 68 days over 1 year, a further investigation will be required to understand such a large increase in this ratio.

Furthermore, to obtain a better understanding, one should compare the average collection period ratio to industry averages, to the ratio of leading firms in the industry and to the firms own historical results.

 

Inventory Turnover Analysis

Inventory turnover analysis measure the liquidity of a firm’s inventory. It measures how many times the company turns over (sells, uses or replaces) its inventory during a period, such as the financial period.

It is calculated by dividing cost of goods sold by inventory. The formula is as follows.

Inventory Turnover = Cost of goods sold/Inventory

The results can be conveniently used to calculate the average age of inventory (also called average number of days sales in inventory or inventory turnover days) with the following formula:

Average age of inventory = 365/Inventory Turnover

Example of inventory turnover analysis


Assume Gold Co. has cost of goods sold of $1,850,000 and inventory of $680,000. Assume there are 365 days in the year. The inventory turnover analysis and average age of inventory analysis for the Gold Company is conducted as follows:

Inventory turnover analysis:

$1,850,000/$680,000=2.7

This indicates the business turns over its inventory 2.7 times per year.

Average age of inventory:

365/2.7=135.2

Things to note about inventory turnover analysis


The results are only meaningful when used in comparison. It can be compared to industry averages, to the firm’s past inventory ratios and to ratios of competitors.

Industry averages differ significantly between industries for this ratio. This ratio is positive (higher than zero) as long as the firm has any inventory. Generally, a high ratio is considered to be a good indicator.

However, the norm would differ significantly between industries. If the ratio is too high when compared to the norm within the industry, it may mean the company keeps too little inventory and, therefore, may lose some sales. On the other hand, a low ratio may indicate excess inventory and inferior sales. Excess inventory is usually considered to be undesirable as inventory is an investment without return, holding inventory implies costs and prices of goods to be sold may start decreasing.

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Total Asset Turnover

Total asset turnover is one of the activity ratios indicating the relationship between assets and sales (revenue). Activity ratios help businesses to measure how efficiently various accounts are converted into sales or cash. Other activity ratios include average payment period, average collection period and inventory turnover analysis.

It calculates how efficiently assets are used to produce sales or revenue. In other words, how efficiently the balance sheet is managed. It shows how many dollars of revenue is earned per each dollar of assets. It is also referred to as asset turnover or asset turnover ratio.

The formula to calculate the ratio is as follows:

= Sales(Revenue)/Total assets

The health of this ratio is an important factor which contributes to a healthy return on investment (ROI/ROA).

Example of total asset turnover ratio analysis


Assume Heroic Company has sales of $750,000 and total assets of $880,000. The total asset turnover of Heroic Company is calculated as follows:

$750,000 /$880,000=0.85 or 0.9

This indicates that Heroic Company turns over its assets 0.85 (0.9) times per year.

Things to note about total asset turnover ratio


Usually the higher the asset turnover number the more efficiently assets of the business are utilized.

Further, to obtain a better understanding, one should compare the ratio of individual firms to industry averages, to that of leading firms in the industry and to historical results.