Accounts Payable Turnover Ratio: What It Is, How To Calculate and Improve It

Current liabilities are short-term liabilities of a company, typically less than 90 days. On a different note, it might sometimes be an indication that the company is failing to reinvest in the business. AP turnover ratio and days payable outstanding both measure how quickly bills are paid but using different units of measurement. The AP turnover ratio allows creditors and investors to determine why is accounting important for startups whether a company is in good standing with its suppliers, as well as gauging the creditworthiness of the business and the risks that it may be taking. When a buyer orders and receives goods and services, but has not yet paid for them, the invoice amount is recorded as a current liability on its balance sheet. As with all ratios, the accounts payable turnover is specific to different industries.

For example, when used once, the ratio results provide little insight into your business. AP turnover ratios can also be used in financial modeling to help forecast future cash needs. This is because they can help create balance sheet forecasts which require estimates of how long it will take to pay balances and how much cash the company may have on hand at any given time. Although your accounts payable turnover ratio is an important metric, don’t put too much weight on it. Consult with your accountant or bookkeeper to determine how your accounts payable turnover ratio works with other KPIs in your business to form an overall picture of your business’s health. In and of itself, knowing your accounts payable turnover ratio for the past year was 1.46 doesn’t tell you a whole lot.

  1. A thorough analysis of accounts payable turnover allows businesses to identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to optimize their cash flow and payment cycle.
  2. This not only improves the company’s financial management but also strengthens its reputation among creditors.
  3. In summary, the AP turnover ratio is a key indicator within a broader financial analysis framework.
  4. When a buyer orders and receives goods and services, but has not yet paid for them, the invoice amount is recorded as a current liability on its balance sheet.

Strong supplier relationships can lead to more favorable payment terms, affecting the ratio independently of financial considerations. The cash cycle (or cash conversion cycle) is the amount of time a company requires to convert inventory into cash. It is tied to the operating cycle, which is the total of accounts receivable days and inventory days. In the formula, total supplier credit purchases refers to the amount purchased from suppliers on credit (which should be net of any inventory returned).

The company wants to measure how many times it paid its creditors over the fiscal year. Automated AP systems can easily identify opportunities for early payment discounts. Companies can leverage these discounts to reduce costs and improve their AP turnover ratio by paying quickly and more efficiently. Manual AP processes are prone to errors, which can delay payments and adversely affect the AP turnover ratio. Automation reduces the likelihood of errors and speeds up the resolution of any disputes with suppliers.

This is not a high turnover ratio, but it should be compared to others in Bob’s industry. A higher ratio shows suppliers and creditors that the company pays its bills frequently and regularly. A high turnover ratio can be used to negotiate favorable credit terms in the future. The accounts payable turnover formula is calculated by dividing the total purchases by the average accounts payable for the year. To generate and then collect accounts receivable, your company must sell purchased inventory to customers. But set a goal of increasing sales and inventory turnover to improve cash flow to the extent possible.

The AP Optimization Playbook

It’s important to note that improving accounts payable turnover requires a delicate balance between managing cash flow and maintaining positive relationships with suppliers. Prompt payment is crucial for maintaining supplier trust and securing favorable credit terms in the long run. Additionally, regularly assessing and analyzing your accounts payable turnover can provide valuable insights into your business’s financial health and identify areas for improvement.

What is Accounts Payables Turnover?

Optimize cash flow by matching DPO with DRO (days receivable outstanding), quickening accounts receivable collection, speeding inventory turnover through faster sales, and getting financing when needed. The accounts payable turnover in days is also known as days payable outstanding (DPO). It’s a different view of the accounts payable turnover ratio formula, based on the average number of days in the turnover period.

What is a Good Accounts Payable Turnover Ratio in Days (DPO)?

Bob’s Building Suppliers buys constructions equipment and materials from wholesalers and resells this inventory to the general public in its retail store. During the current year Bob purchased $1,000,000 worth of construction materials from his vendors. According to Bob’s balance sheet, his beginning accounts payable was $55,000 and his ending accounts payable was $958,000. A high ratio for AP turnover means that your company has adequate cash and financing to pay its bills.

Take total supplier purchases for the period and divide it by the average accounts payable for the period. Therefore, over the fiscal year, the company’s accounts payable turned over approximately 6.03 times during the year. Suppliers are more likely to offer favorable terms and discounts to companies that consistently pay on time, which can positively impact the AP turnover ratio. The AP turnover ratio primarily reflects short-term financial practices and may not be indicative of long-term financial stability or operational efficiency. A company might have a favorable ratio in the short term due to aggressive payment practices but face long-term sustainability issues. However, it’s crucial to analyze a low ratio within the broader context of the company’s overall financial strategy.

The AP turnover ratio is a valuable tool for analyzing a company’s liquidity and efficiency in managing its payables. However, due to potential risks or limitations in its interpretation, it should be used in conjunction with other top financial KPIs to drive business success. Therefore, industry-specific benchmarks serve as a useful reference point for evaluating a company’s performance. A ratio that is significantly higher than the industry average suggests efficient cash flow management, and serves as a positive signal to creditors. Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) are both critical aspects of a company’s working capital management, but they serve distinct roles and have unique implications for cash flow and financial health.

Accounts payable turnover measures how often a company pays off its accounts payable balance over a period of time, while DPO measures the average number of days it takes a company to pay its suppliers. The accounts payable turnover ratio can also be easily converted to another metric called days payable outstanding (DPO), which is a measure of the average number of days it takes to render payments to suppliers. When the turnover ratio is increasing, the company is paying off suppliers at a faster rate than in previous periods. An increasing ratio means the company has plenty of cash available to pay off its short-term debt in a timely manner.

A lower accounts payable turnover ratio can indicate that a company is struggling to pay its short-term liabilities because of a lack of cash flow. This can indicate that a business may be in financial distress, making it more difficult to obtain favorable credit terms. Before you can understand how to calculate and use the accounts payable turnover ratio, you must first understand what the accounts payable turnover ratio is. In short, accounts payable (AP) represent the money you owe to vendors or suppliers.


Determine whether your cash flow management policies and financing allow your company to pursue growth opportunities when justified. Over time, your business can respond to new business opportunities and changing economic conditions. Improve cash flow management and forecast your business financing needs to achieve the optimal accounts payable turnover ratio.

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