How to Calculate Creditor Days – Formulas and Examples

Creditor days guide

In the world of business, every financial metric has a story to tell. Creditor days, a critical yet often overlooked measure, is no exception. This metric holds the key to understanding your business’s payment habits, supplier relationships, and cash flow dynamics. In this easy-to-understand guide, we’ll explain what creditor days are, show you how to calculate them, and provide useful tips to manage them effectively.

creditor days calculation

What are creditor days?

Creditor days, also known as payable days, is a financial ratio that quantifies the average time it takes for a business to pay its suppliers after receiving goods or services. It’s a reflection of the company’s payment policies and cash management strategies, playing a critical role in its relationship with suppliers and overall cash flow.

Debtors vs creditors

The primary difference between debtors and creditors lies in their relationship to debt:

  • Debtors: These are individuals or entities who owe money. In business terms, if a company has provided goods or services to another party but hasn’t received payment yet, the other party is considered a debtor to the company.
  • Creditors: These are individuals or entities that are owed money. If a company has received goods or services from another party but hasn’t paid for them yet, the other party is considered a creditor to the company.

In essence, debtors have a debt to pay off, while creditors are expecting to receive a payment.

What does the creditor days ratio tell you?

The creditor days ratio offers valuable insights into a company’s financial health and its efficiency in managing payables.

Primarily, this ratio tells you how long, on average, a company takes to pay its suppliers after purchasing goods or services on credit. It gives a sense of the company’s cash flow situation and its approach to managing credit.

1. When the creditor days ratio is high

A higher creditor days ratio could indicate that the company is leveraging the credit terms offered by its suppliers to retain cash in the business for as long as possible. This can be beneficial in managing cash flow. However, if the ratio is consistently high, it could signal cash flow problems, suggesting that the company may be delaying payments due to insufficient funds.

2. When the creditor days ratio is low

Conversely, a low creditor days ratio means the company pays its suppliers quickly. While this may foster good supplier relationships, it might also suggest that the company is not fully utilizing credit terms, possibly affecting its cash flow management.

Therefore, changes in the creditor days ratio over time can provide crucial cues to potential financial issues or shifts in the company’s payables policy.

Related reading: How do payable accounts and receivable accounts interact with cash flow?

What financial figures are needed to calculate creditor days?

calculate creditor days

Calculating creditor days requires a few key financial figures from your business. Here’s what you’ll need:

Trade payables

Also known as accounts payable, this figure represents the total amount of money your business owes to suppliers for goods or services purchased on credit. You can find this information on your business’s balance sheet.

Cost of goods sold (COGS)

COGS refers to the total cost of producing the goods or services that a company sells. This includes the cost of raw materials and the labor costs directly tied to product manufacturing. Your business’s income statement should provide this figure.

Time period

The time period is a crucial element of the creditor days calculation. Typically, a year (365 days) is used for this, but you can also calculate creditor days for a different period depending on your requirements.

With these data in hand, you can compute the creditor days, which provides an average of how long it takes for your business to pay its suppliers.

What is the creditor days calculation?

Creditor days is calculated using the following formula:

Creditor Days = (Trade Payables / Cost of Goods Sold) * Number of Days in Period

An example calculation

creditor days calculation example

let’s walk through an example to better understand how to calculate creditor days.

Let’s say your company’s financials look like this:

  • Trade payables: $120,000
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS): $600,000

And you want to calculate creditor days for a year, so the time period is 365 days.

Using these figures, here’s how you’d calculate:

Creditor days = (trade payables / COGS) x time period creditor days = (120,000 / 600,000) x 365 creditor days = 0.2 x 365 creditor days = 73 days

This means that, on average, it takes your business 73 days to pay its suppliers after purchasing goods or services on credit.

Useful tips for using creditor days

Tips for improving creditor days

Understanding and properly utilizing the creditor days metric can make a significant difference in how you manage your business’s finances. Here are some helpful tips on how to effectively use creditor days:

  1. Consider industry norms: Different industries have different norms when it comes to creditor days. It can be helpful to benchmark your company against industry averages to see how you compare.
  2. Track changes over time: Trends can be just as informative as the number itself. If your creditor days are increasing over time, it could mean that your cash flow is tightening. If they’re decreasing, you may not be taking full advantage of the credit terms offered by your suppliers.
  3. Use in conjunction with other metrics: While creditor days can be a useful tool, it should not be used in isolation. Consider it in the context of other financial metrics such as debtor days and inventory turnover for a more holistic view of your business’s financial health.
  4. Understand seasonal variations: Many businesses have busy and slow periods throughout the year. These fluctuations can impact your creditor days, so be sure to account for these changes when analyzing your figures.
  5. Leverage financial planning tools: Financial planning tools like Brixx can help you keep track of your creditor days and other financial metrics. It offers an easy way to visualize your financial data and helps you make informed decisions.

Remember, while creditor days can be a useful indicator of your company’s financial health, it’s important to use it as part of a comprehensive. Use it wisely and in the context of your overall business strategy.

Tips for improving creditor days

Improving your creditor days means strategically managing the time it takes for your business to pay its suppliers. Keep in mind, though, that improvement can mean increasing or decreasing this number, depending on your business’s specific needs and cash flow. Here are a few tips to help you effectively manage your creditor days:

  1. Negotiate terms with suppliers: Suppliers may be willing to offer longer payment terms, especially if your company has been a reliable customer. Longer terms can increase your creditor days, which may help with cash flow management.
  2. Prioritize payments: If not all suppliers offer credit, you may need to prioritize who gets paid first. Paying those who don’t offer credit terms right away, while taking full advantage of credit terms from other suppliers, can help extend your overall creditor days.
  3. Implement efficient payment processes: An organized, efficient payment process can ensure you’re not paying bills earlier than necessary, thus keeping your creditor days in check.
  4. Maintain good relationships with suppliers: A positive relationship with your suppliers can be helpful when negotiating payment terms or when you need more time to pay.
  5. Analyze regularly: Regular analysis of your creditor days can help identify trends, potential issues, and areas of improvement.
  6. Leverage financial planning tools: Making use of a robust financial planning tool can significantly help you manage your creditor days. A financial planning tool can offer you a clear overview of your financial situation, provide forecasting and help monitor your cash flow effectively.

Remember, while increasing creditor days can help conserve cash, it should be balanced with maintaining healthy supplier relationships. A reputation for slow payment can lead to strained relations and could affect your ability to negotiate favorable terms in the future.

Empower your financial planning with Brixx 

Understanding this crucial financial ratio and what it signifies for your business can make all the difference in ensuring smooth operations and maintaining healthy relationships with your suppliers. With Brixx, you can dive even deeper into your financial planning and analysis with unmatched features. Our intuitive platform makes it effortless to compute complex metrics and turns numbers into actionable insights. Plus, our forecast calculators do all the hard work for you, enabling you to focus more on strategy and less on crunching numbers.

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