What is AN Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio?

The Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio is a financial metric that measures how effectively a company manages its credit sales and collections from customers. For a UK audience, understanding this ratio is important for evaluating the efficiency of a company’s credit policies and its ability to collect debts promptly.


Key Aspects of the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio:

  1. Definition:
    • The Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio indicates how many times a company’s accounts receivable are collected, or turned over, during a specific period, usually a year. It shows the effectiveness of the company in extending credit and collecting debts.
  2. Calculation:
    • The formula for calculating the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio is:
      Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio=Net Credit Sales/Average Accounts Receivable
    • Net Credit Sales: Total sales made on credit, excluding cash sales and returns.
    • Average Accounts Receivable: The average amount of accounts receivable during the period, calculated as:
      Average Accounts Receivable=[(Beginning Accounts Receivable+Ending Accounts Receivable)/2]
  3. Importance:
    • Cash Flow Management: A high turnover ratio indicates efficient collection processes and good cash flow management, while a low ratio suggests potential issues with credit policies or collection efforts.
    • Credit Policy Evaluation: Helps in assessing the effectiveness of the company’s credit policies and terms extended to customers.
    • Financial Health: Reflects the company’s ability to convert receivables into cash, impacting liquidity and overall financial stability.
  4. Interpretation:
    • High Turnover Ratio: Indicates that the company is collecting its receivables quickly and efficiently, which is a positive sign of strong credit management and cash flow.
    • Low Turnover Ratio: Suggests that the company may be facing difficulties in collecting debts, which could lead to cash flow problems and potential bad debts.
  5. Industry Benchmarks:
    • It is important to compare the ratio with industry benchmarks, as acceptable turnover rates can vary significantly between industries. For instance, a high-tech company might have a different standard compared to a retail business.
  6. Improving the Ratio:
    • Tightening Credit Policies: Reviewing and tightening credit policies to ensure only creditworthy customers are extended credit.
    • Prompt Invoicing: Issuing invoices promptly and following up on overdue accounts quickly.
    • Offering Discounts: Encouraging early payments by offering discounts for prompt payment.
    • Efficient Collections: Implementing efficient collection processes and possibly using collection agencies for difficult cases.


Consider a UK-based manufacturing company with the following financial data for a year:

  • Net Credit Sales: £1,200,000
  • Beginning Accounts Receivable: £100,000
  • Ending Accounts Receivable: £140,000


  1. Average Accounts Receivable:Average Accounts Receivable=[(£100,000+£140,000)/2]=£120,000
  2. Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio:Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio=£1,200,000/£120,000=10

This means the company collects its average accounts receivable 10 times a year.


The Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio is a vital metric for UK businesses to understand and manage their credit sales and collections efficiently. By regularly calculating and analyzing this ratio, businesses can ensure effective credit management, maintain healthy cash flow, and enhance their financial stability. Comparing the ratio against industry benchmarks and implementing strategies to improve it can lead to better financial performance and reduced credit risk.