RECEIVABLES: Meaning, Account Turnover, Examples & Difference


Accounts receivable are essential to a company’s cash flow. It aids cash flow management by indicating which clients owe you money and how much. This allows you to determine whether your cash account appropriately reflects your current financial situation. Account receivables, in other words, mean the difference between fretting that you don’t have enough money and being calm since you know it will arrive shortly. We examine the distinction between revenue vs receivables in this blog post, as well as account receivables turnover, and provide examples.

What are Account Receivables?

Account receivables (AR) is the balance of money due to a firm for goods or services delivered or used but not yet paid for by customers. Accounts receivable are classified as a current asset on the balance sheet. Any amount of money owed by customers for credit purchases is an AR.

Understanding Account Receivables

Account receivables relate to a company’s overdue bills or the money that customers owe the company. The term refers to accounts that a company has the right to receive as a result of delivering a product or service. Accounts receivable, often known as receivables, are a type of credit provided by a firm and typically include terms that demand payments to be made within a short period. It often covers a few days to a fiscal or calendar year.

Businesses record accounts receivable as assets on their balance sheets because there is a legal obligation for the client to pay the loan. They are considered liquid assets because they can be used as collateral to receive a loan to help pay short-term obligations. A company’s working capital includes receivables.

Additionally, accounts receivable are considered current assets because the account balance is due from the debtor in one year or less. A company with receivables has made a credit sale but has yet to collect payment from the buyer. Effectively, the corporation has taken a short-term IOU from its client.

Account Receivables Turnover

A company’s average account receivables balance is measured by its account receivables turnover ratio. It measures a company’s efficiency in collecting outstanding customer balances and managing its line of the credit process.

An efficient company has a greater account receivables turnover ratio than an inefficient company. This indicator is frequently used to compare companies in the same industry to see if they are on a level with their competitors.

Understanding Receivables Turnover Ratios

Account receivables are essentially short-term, interest-free loans that businesses provide to their clients. If a company makes a transaction with a customer, it may extend terms of 30 or 60 days, which means the customer has 30 to 60 days to pay for the product.

The receivables turnover ratio assesses how efficiently a business collects on its receivables, or the credit extended to customers. The ratio also calculates the frequency with which a company’s receivables are converted to cash over a given period. The receivables turnover ratio is determined on a yearly, quarterly, or monthly basis.

Importance of Account Receivables Turnover Ratio

The account receivable ratio serves two important business functions. First, it allows businesses to monitor how soon payments are collected, allowing them to pay their expenses and strategically plan future investments. Secondly, the ratio enables organizations to analyze if their credit policies and processes support healthy cash flow and continuing business growth – or not.

What Can the Accounts Receivable Ratio Inform You?

Accounts receivable ratios are measures of a company’s capacity to efficiently collect accounts receivable and the rate at which their customers repay their bills. Although figures vary by industry, greater ratios are frequently preferred because they indicate faster turnover and healthier cash flow. Companies that get paid sooner tend to be in a better financial situation.

Formula and Calculation of the Receivables Turnover Ratio

The link between net credit sales and average accounts receivable is known as the account receivable turnover ratio:

Net Annual Credit Sales ÷ Average Accounts Receivables = Accounts Receivables Turnover

Net Credit Sales

The numerator of the accounts receivable turnover ratio is net credit sales, which is the amount of revenue generated by a company from credit-based sales. These are cash sales as cash sales do not incur accounts receivable activity. Net credit sales include sales discounts or customer returns and are computed as gross credit sales less these residual reductions.

Average Accounts Receivable

The denominator of the accounts receivable turnover ratio is the average accounts receivable balance. This is often calculated as the average of a company’s starting account receivable amount and its ending account receivable balance.

The Usefulness of the Account Receivables Turnover Ratio

The account receivable turnover ratio, like other financial statistics, is most relevant when compared across periods or firms. A company may examine the receivables turnover ratios of companies in the same industry, for instance. In this example, a company can better understand whether its credit sales processing is on par with competitors or lagging behind them.

Limitations of the Receivables Turnover Ratio

The receivables turnover ratio has limitations that any investor should be aware of, just like any other indicator that attempts to assess the effectiveness of a business.

When determining their turnover ratio, some businesses utilize total sales rather than net sales. This error skews results by making a company’s calculation appear greater. When analyzing an externally calculated ratio, be sure you understand how it was calculated.

What Is a Good Account Receivables Turnover Ratio?

In general, a greater number is preferable. It signifies that your customers pay on time and that your organization is good at collecting. A higher number may also indicate improved cash flow, a stronger balance sheet or income statement, balanced asset turnover, and even more creditworthiness for your company. However, there are some cases when this general rule may not apply.

Do You Want a Higher or Lower Accounts Receivable Turnover?

A high account receivables turnover ratio can indicate that the company is cautious when it comes to granting credit to customers and is either efficient or aggressive when it comes to its collection efforts. It may also indicate that the company’s customers are top-notch and/or that it operates on a cash basis.

Not all of those things are necessarily positive, however. If a company is overly cautious in giving credit, it may lose sales to competitors or experience a severe reduction in sales when the economy slows. Companies must decide whether a lower percentage is appropriate to compensate for difficult times.

A low ratio, on the other hand, may indicate that a company is poorly managed, extends credit too cheaply, spends too much on operations, serves a financially risky customer base, and/or is severely impacted by a broader economic event.

Account Receivables Examples

An electric company that invoices its customers after they have received their electricity is an example of an account receivable. As it waits for its customers to pay their bills, the electric company maintains account receivables for overdue invoices.

Most businesses operate by allowing some of their sales to be made on credit. Sometimes, firms offer this credit to frequent or special customers that get periodic invoices. Customers can avoid the trouble of physically making payments as each transaction occurs. In other circumstances, firms typically provide all of their customers with the option of paying after receiving the service.

Why Monitor Accounts Receivable?

If you don’t maintain track of accounts receivable, businesses may forget to bill specific clients, or you may not know if you’ve been paid. You may wind up delivering your product for free, which will have a detrimental influence on your business. The longer you wait to issue an invoice, the less likely you are to obtain fast payment. Keeping track of accounts receivable is also a fantastic approach to maintaining proof of income when it comes time to file taxes.

Accounts Receivable Vs. Accounts Payable

The accounts receivable is the amount of money for which you are waiting for client payment, whereas accounts payable is the total of all your vendor, third-party, and supplier invoices.

Accounts payable serves as a reminder to small business owners that what’s in your cash account isn’t always the complete picture. If you have $10,000 in cash but owe $15,000 to suppliers, your cash account indicates that you are not profiting. You will be in the red once you have paid your overdue invoices.
To avoid this issue, keep an eye on your account payables and pay your invoices as soon as feasible.

Revenue Vs Receivables

A company’s balance sheet shows the assets it owns, the revenue it has received, and the profit it has made. Accounts receivable is a common asset that firms report on their balance sheets. Accounts receivable are considered revenue by certain businesses, but not by others.

About Account Receivables

Accounts receivable are the accounts of debtors who owe money to a business. Most organizations record these debts when they provide services to a third party who agrees to pay for the services later. Businesses with accounts receivable generally require debtors to sign contracts pledging to pay the number of their debts on or before a set date.

About Revenue

A company’s revenue is its overall income before expenses. Payments for services rendered and goods sold by the business are included in revenue. It also includes any interest or dividends earned by the company on its investments. Businesses determine profit during a particular time by deducting the period’s expenses, such as the cost of goods sold and payroll, from the total revenue collected.

Both Accounting Methodologies

Companies that use cash accounting do not include the value of accounts receivable in their revenue calculations for a particular period. Businesses that use accrual-based accounting, on the other hand, include payments for services rendered in revenue as soon as the service is completed. As a result, while compiling a balance sheet, a company that uses accrual-based accounting often adds the balance of accounts receivable to its total revenue.

What are receivables and payables?

Simply said, accounts payable and accounts receivable are two sides of the same coin. Unlike accounts payable, which represents money owed to suppliers by your company, accounts receivable represent money owed to your company by customers.

What is an example of account receivables?

A furniture manufacturer who has supplied furniture to a retail outlet is an example of accounts receivable. The payment owed is noted under accounts receivable whenever the manufacturer bills the store for the furniture. The retailer has yet to pay the furniture manufacturer.

What are receivables in a balance sheet?

The sum of money owed to a company for goods or services delivered or utilized but not yet paid for by customers is known as accounts receivable (AR). Accounts receivable are classified as current assets on the balance sheet.

Is receivable a debit or credit?


Account receivables are always recorded as an asset, even though they are a debt, on a balance sheet because they are funds that you will eventually own and profit from.

What is another name for accounts receivable?

They may refer to them as “outstanding invoices,” which are invoices that have been sent to a client but have yet to be paid. Some business owners may refer to them as debts, receivables, or credit lines.


When a company adds its accounts receivable to its revenue estimates, it is claiming revenue that it hasn’t received. If some customers fail to pay their invoices, the balance sheet shows the income that the company may never receive. Companies that do not include accounts receivable on their balance sheets, on the other hand, may understate the actual amount of revenue earned during an accounting period.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like