Days Sales Outstanding Definition

Days Sales Outstanding

For a fully-detailed discussion about what it is, why it’s important, how to calculate it, and how to improve DSO. Just like any SaaS metric, DSO should not be used alone, but with other metrics to get a better picture of the company’s overall health. With that in mind, before prescribing remedies for your high DSO, it’s important to understand why payments are getting delayed by getting to the root of the problem. Sure, they are interested in your ARR and growth in sales, but what they really care about is how quickly sales are converted into cash – and then into their wallet.

You will need to discuss with the customer before you start charging their cards a week earlier than usual. If you have problem clients, having a credit card on file can still help stabilize your DSO. A courtesy call is usually appropriate and gives you an opportunity to check on the quality of your products and services. They also improve the likelihood that you’ll get the rest of your money, on time, without having to chase a client for payment. Deposits also give you more control of your cash flow problems by reducing the cash burden on your business if you need to purchase supplies to fulfill a customer’s needs. Whether you prefer credit sales or cash sales, make sure you specify the payment terms on your invoice.

Most commonly, it is calculated annually and multiplied by 365 days in the end. is a measure which should be monitored often in order to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s accounting department. Closely examine the trend in DSO over a period of weeks or months to identify problems. One way to monitor trends in days sales outstanding is through the use of a flash report. For example, a company may also consider implementing a daily cash report to manage its cash on a daily basis, with an eye towards improving its DSO by improving its collections. In short, the Days Sales Outstanding is a financial ratio that’s mean to illustrate/ show if the accounts receivables of a company are well managed.

Why Should You Calculate Days Sales Outstanding?

Hence DSO is not a very useful metric for comparing the cash flows of companies in different sectors or different sizes. A higher DSO indicates that the company is unable to quickly convert its credit sales into cash, resulting in less liquidity at hand. A lower DSO indicates that the company is able to convert credit sales into cash relatively fast, resulting in more liquid cash available for payroll, purchasing, and investments. Credit sales, however, are rarely reported separate from gross sales on theincome statement. The credit sales figure will most often have to be provided by the company. Here, you calculate the ratio between your A/R and your gross sales and multiplicate your results by x number of days in the month. DSO cannot compare companies with significant differences in the ratio of sales that are credit versus cash, since the calculation does not consider cash payments.

Days Sales Outstanding

For instance, an increase in sales can also show a low days sales outstanding figure. In addition to calculating an average DSO on past due accounts, it’s also easy to calculate your best possible low DSO. To calculate your best possible DSO, divide a specific portion of accounts receivable by your total credit sales. Then multiply that number by the number of days you want to measure.

Why Are Days Sales Outstanding Important?

Knowing your DSO can also help determine whether or not to outsource collections or to simply improve your current processes and policies. Both DSO and ACP are measures of how quickly a company can collect cash from its customers. DSO is a measure of the average time it takes to collect payments from customers, while ACP is a measure of the average time it takes to turn receivables into cash. Days Sales Outstanding is a measure of how long it takes a company to convert its average account receivable balance into cash. It is calculated by dividing the average account receivable balance by the company’s average daily sales. Invoicing as soon as you deliver a product or service will quickly eliminate any time period you’re responsible for adding to your average days sales outstanding.

For example, let’s say your average time for billing is 17 days and your DSO average is 36 days. By automating your invoicing process through Intuit Merchant Services or other methods, you may be able to reduce this to three days, shaving two full weeks off of your DSO. Remember, a low DSO is better than a high DSO, as it’s a direct reflection of your outstanding receivables over a specified time period. If your DSO is low, this indicates your payment collection is running efficiently. Giving accountants unrivalled analysis of Xero & QuickBooks clients for simple, scalable and profitable advisory services.

It is calculated as the average number of days it takes a company to collect its accounts receivable. Day Sales Outstanding or DSO refers to the average number of days a business takes to collect its receivables after a sale.

Fast Payment Incentives

It’s counted in the number of days between the invoice being issued and the cash arriving in your company’s bank account. Managers, investors and stakeholders rely on DSO to determine how effective a company is at collecting outstanding balances from customers. Business acquirers use the calculation to find companies with high DSO values, with the intention of procuring the business and improving their collection and credit processes.

Cash Conversion CycleThe Cash Conversion Cycle is a ratio analysis measure to evaluate the number of days or time a company converts its inventory and other inputs into cash. It considers the days inventory outstanding, days sales outstanding and days payable outstanding for computation. The calculation of days sales outstanding involves dividing the accounts receivable balance by the revenue for the period, which is then multiplied by 365 days. In many businesses, the days sales outstanding number can be a valuable indicator of the efficiency of the business and the quality of its cash flow. If the number gets too high, it could even disrupt the normal operations of the business, causing its own outstanding payments to be delayed. DSO is a measurement of the number of an average day’s sales that are tied up in receivables awaiting collection.

She is a library professional, transcriptionist, editor, and fact-checker. Flexible and automated payment acceptance processes may motivate buyers to pay via faster channels ie. Although, it could also be caused by the company extending credit without sufficient care. This is important since a good DSO can vary for businesses of different sizes or from different industries. Start with Dynamics GP Payroll – Webinar In today’s competitive business … For more tips on how to survive and thrive during downturns, find out what our founder has to say about DSO and other metrics.

A company with an increasing Days Sales Outstanding ratio means that the company is on its way to becoming less and less risk-averse. A high Days Sales Outstanding ratio can also mean that the analysis of the applicants for the open account credit terms has been done inadequately. Companies with a low amount of sales and a high amount of customers who owe payments on those sales represent a high DSO. This is a situation where the company is unable to quickly collect on its sales. Investors and analysts use DSO as a tool to measure a company’s credit risk and its ability to repay its debts.

Days Sales Outstanding Dso Calculation And Definition

One major reason for a high DSO is a company’s ineffective invoice management system. Missing invoices or incomplete paperwork are issues that can easily be avoided through automation.

Days Sales Outstanding

Total credit sales includes sales which are made on credit – in other words, are due to be paid on a future date – as opposed to cash sales, which are paid immediately. Similarly, the company is encouraging customers to purchase with credit with the hope that this will generate the sale of more products and services. Credit SalesCredit Sales is a transaction type in which the customers/buyers are allowed to pay up for the bought item later on instead of paying at the exact time of purchase. It gives them the required time to collect money & make the payment. Offering incentives for early payments is known to accelerate the payment process, as discounts and early-bird offers are well-received by customers. You can also penalize your customers if they are consistently late with payments. Make sure that your invoices contain the late fee terms and conditions, so that the customers know about them up front.

Days Sales Outstanding Dso: Formula & Meaning

Including cash sales in the DSO calculation would reduce the DSO and cause businesses with a high percentage of cash sales to have a lower DSO than businesses with a high percentage Days Sales Outstanding of credit sales. It should be noted that if the DSO resultant is very close to the payment day given to the customer, the company’s credit policy is too stringent.

  • Day Sales Outstanding is a measurement of the average number of days a company typically takes to collect revenue once a sale has been completed.
  • Companies with very low DSO often lose clients due to its strict account receivable collection policy.
  • DSO is a measure of the average time it takes to collect payments from customers, while ACP is a measure of the average time it takes to turn receivables into cash.
  • It is a way to measure the time taken by a company to convert its credit sales into cash.
  • This calculation shows the liquidity and efficiency of a company’s collections department.

For many sales, manufacturing, and agricultural companies, the average collection time is relatively short; however, for the financial industry, payment periods are often relatively long. As a “Rule of Thumb,” your DSO delinquent balances should not exceed 33% to 50% of the selling terms. If terms are 30 days, then an acceptable DSO or the “Safe Collection Period” is 40 to 45 days. Remember, the less money that is being tied up in accounts receivable the more money that can be used for company investment or dividends. Keep your payments organized – your accounting or payment processing system should be able to spit out a report that tracks payments received, late ones, failed transactions, etc. This way you can keep track of your cash flow and follow up on late payments. When payments are delayed because customers are having their own cash flow issues, it is not a major concern until a high volume of customers start doing it repeatedly.

An effective way for businesses to use the DSO calculation is to keep it tracked month by month on a trend line — or a series of plotted data points indicating a certain pattern or direction. Using the DSO in this way can help companies see any changes in their business’s ability to collect payments from customers. A seasonal business can use a variation of this analysis by tracking the same month’s metric on a year-by-year rate. When the days sales outstanding figure is employed to compare businesses, keep in mind that the DSO figure can vary by type of business model, which renders these comparisons somewhat less useful.

At the same time, low receivables turnover may be caused by a loose credit policy, an inadequate collections effort, and/or a large proportion of customers having financial difficulties. DSO stands for day sales outstanding, the average number of days your business takes to collect payment after selling a product or service. Offering incentives such as discounts or coupons to early-paying customers will improve your DSO. You can use an automated platform to communicate with your customers; you can run email campaigns to share incentives and encourage early payments.

Methods To Lower Days Sales Outstanding Dso

For example, the average DSO for discount stores, like Dollar General, Burlington Stores, etc., is approximately 4 days. On the other hand, the same value is unexpectedly low for the oil and gas sector as its normal DSO ranges between 50 and 130 days. Therefore, as the current value of money is more, the sooner it is received, the better it is. Thus, it is important to not only diligence industry peers (and the nature of the product/service sold) but the customer-buyer relationship. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.

  • Days sales outstanding can vary from month to month, and over the course of a year with a company’s seasonal business cycle.
  • It is important for a company to collect the outstanding account receivables in a timely manner.
  • Of course, the money eventually gets to the company – but what matters is the availability of money and the time they should be available in.
  • Pricing will vary based on various factors, including, but not limited to, the customer’s location, package chosen, added features and equipment, the purchaser’s credit score, etc.
  • Your billing process may be inadequate with invoices not being sent on time, errors that cause back and forth, and failure to submit late payment reminders.
  • At the same time, low receivables turnover may be caused by a loose credit policy, an inadequate collections effort, and/or a large proportion of customers having financial difficulties.

Calculating a business’s DSO for one period is useful for conducting a quick assessment of its cash flow. The resulting value is then multiplied by the days in the measurement period. Providing breakthrough software and services that significantly increase effectiveness, efficiency and profit.

How To Better Track And Improve The Days Sales Outstanding Ratio

Consequently, this approach overlooks the impact seasonality ofsales can have on that statistic and can sometimes provide a misleading picture of the status of accounts receivable. Finance managers and executives use DSO as a way of tracking and measuring how quickly the company is converting credit sales into cash that can be used in the business. Perhaps more important, DSO can help to spot trends as to whether it’s taking longer to collect payments from customers and determine whether credit and collections policies need to be adjusted. Days Sales Outstanding is a measure of how long it takes a company to collect revenue on its outstanding invoices. It is calculated by dividing the total amount of Accounts Receivable by the average daily sales. Higher numbers mean that you have longer average DSO collection periods. They need to be put into context by comparing them to your payment terms, average industry collection times, or maintaining month-over-month comparisons.

The more liquid the business’s current assets, the more flexible its operations are. Therefore, the calculation of DSO is an important accounting tool for any business. The optimal DSO range would depend on the industry and the organization’s credit and terms policy. A utility company might have standard terms of 30 days, so its DSO would generally be between 45 – 55 days. Businesses that sell to other businesses may have even longer terms, which would increase their expected DSO.

Calculation Using Example

Generally, a DSO below 45 is considered low, but what qualifies as high or low also depends on the type of business. Also, cash sales are not included in the computation because they are considered a zero DSO – representing no time waiting from the sale date to receipt of cash. A high DSO number can indicate that the cash flow of the business is not ideal. If the number is climbing, there may be something wrong in the collections department, or the company may be selling to customers with less than optimal credit. It is important to remember that the formula for calculating DSO only accounts for credit sales. While cash sales may be considered to have a DSO of 0, they are not factored into DSO calculations.

A high DSO value indicates the company takes a longer period to collect its account receivables whereas a low value shows it collects the account receivables quickly. Generally, DSO value under 45 is considered to be low, but that depends on the size and nature of the business. A small business may find it difficult to run the cash flow with a DSO value of 30, while for big businesses it is never an issue. It is important to maintain a standard DSO value according to the condition and nature of the business. A high DSO may result in a cash crunch while a very low DSO may affect the customer base.

What Does Dso Mean?

Product, customers, and niche industries can impact what makes a DSO acceptable or not. Have you ever worked with a client that continually made excuses for not having their payment to you on time? Whether they’re being genuine or genuinely stalling, this still amounts to cash that is not in your hands. Fortunately, there are some tricks for encouraging clients to pay on time — or even early.