What Is the Accounts Payable Turnover Ratio? Definition and Formula

The accounts payable turnover ratio measures how quickly a business makes payments to creditors and suppliers that extend lines of credit. Accounting professionals quantify the ratio by calculating the average number of times the company pays its AP balances during a specified time period.

Accounts payable turnover ratio is an important measure of a company’s liquidity and performance; it is a financial indicator that helps to assess the efficiency of a company’s operations. This ratio is used to measure how quickly a company pays off its suppliers and creditors, providing insight into its ability to effectively manage its cash flow and obligations. With the help of this ratio, stakeholders such as investors, lenders, and potential buyers can assess the creditworthiness and liquidity of a business. It is also used to compare similar companies and analyze the financial performance of a business in the industry. Additionally, accounts payable turnover ratio can help to measure the effectiveness of a company’s accounts payable policies and procedures, as well as its credit terms. In this blog post, we will discuss what accounts payable turnover ratio is, how to calculate it, and the importance of this ratio in assessing the financial performance of a business.

Accounts Payable Turnover Ratio

What does the accounts payable turnover ratio indicate?

Over time, the accounts payable turnover ratio may go up or down. Here is what those changes can indicate:

Increasing ratio

A rising ratio indicates that a business is repaying its debts more quickly than in the past. This may suggest that it has sufficient cash flow to meet its obligations on time. An increasing ratio can also indicate that a business is receiving incentives to make these payments promptly, such as early payment discounts. It might also indicate that the business is actively working to raise its credit rating. Businesses that need lines of credit typically aim for an increasing ratio because lenders use this metric to assess risk before making a loan.

Decreasing ratio

A decreasing ratio indicates that a business is paying off its debts more slowly than in the past. A decreasing ratio can sometimes signify that a business is having cash flow issues, but it can also mean that a business has negotiated with its creditors new payment terms or lower interest rates. It’s a good idea to compare a company’s ratio with those of similar businesses in the same industry if it’s declining. Similar turnover ratios at competing companies may indicate that the company is performing up to industry standards.

What is the accounts payable turnover ratio?

The accounts payable turnover ratio is a financial indicator that reveals the typical number of times a business settles its accounts payable over a given period of time, typically one year. A company’s short-term debt is represented by accounts payable. The accounts payable turnover ratio demonstrates how quickly a business settles this debt. Investors may use this ratio to determine whether a company has enough cash to meet its short-term obligations, while creditors may use it to decide whether to extend a line of credit to the company.

How to calculate the accounts payable turnover ratio

The steps to determine the accounts payable turnover ratio are as follows:

1. Determine the total supply purchases

You can typically find the total supply purchases figure there if the business keeps a record of supplier purchases. Alternatively, you can calculate this number using simple math. Find the beginning and ending inventory purchases on the balance sheet and the cost of goods sold over the period on the company’s income statement. While the balance sheet displays the company’s assets, liabilities, and equity, the income statement displays the company’s revenue and expenses. Once you have the figures, add the costs of goods sold and the ending inventory before subtracting the starting stock. The formula looks like this:

Cost of goods sold plus ending inventory minus beginning inventory equals total supply purchases.

2. Calculate the average accounts payable

Find the accounts payable balance in the liabilities section of the balance sheet to determine the average accounts payable. The beginning accounts payable, or the balance at the start of the period, and the ending accounts payable, or the balance at the end of the period, are listed in this section. Add the starting and ending account payable balances when you have those figures, then divide by two. The formula looks like this:

Average payables are calculated as (Beginning payables minus Final payables) / 2.

3. Find the turnover ratio

You can compute this metric once you’ve identified the individual components of the ratio. Divide the total supply purchases by the average accounts payable. Despite the fact that you can easily calculate this metric manually, many accounting software programs can also do it for you automatically. Here is the formula:

Total supply purchases divided by the average accounts payable is the accounts payable turnover ratio.

4. Record the metric

Knowing the metric now allows you to record it on the balance sheet. This ratio can be used by businesses to gauge their liquidity, or ability to pay debts. Potential creditors may see this number to see how well they can manage their cash flow. Creditors may occasionally request the accounts payable ratio in days, which displays the typical number of days it takes a business to pay its debts. You can calculate that measurement using this formula:

Days in the period divided by the accounts payable turnover ratio gives the turnover in days.

Formula for accounts payable turnover ratio

Accounting experts can calculate the accounts payable turnover ratio using a formula. You use these figures in the formula:

Knowing those terms, the formula looks like this:

Total supply purchases divided by the average accounts payable is the accounts payable turnover ratio.

Accounts payable ratio vs. accounts receivable ratio

Accounts receivable turnover ratio calculation may fall under the purview of accounting specialists. The following are some significant ways in which this metric differs from the accounts payable turnover ratio:


A measure of how quickly a business collects its receivables is the accounts receivable turnover ratio. This is the money that clients owe to the company. The accounts payable ratio, in contrast, is a measurement that reveals how quickly the business settles its own short-term debts.


An accounts receivable ratio can change over time in a similar way to the accounts payable ratio, but this change has different implications than a fluctuating accounts payable ratio. An increasing ratio of accounts receivable may indicate that a business collects payments effectively and has clients who pay debts promptly. A low accounts receivable ratio might indicate sluggish collection methods.


The accounts receivable ratio measures a company’s efficiency, or how well it uses its assets and liabilities to generate revenue. The accounts payable ratio, however, is a liquidity ratio. This metric assesses a company’s capacity to settle its debts.

Example of accounts payable turnover ratio

Here is an example of how to calculate a company’s accounts payable turnover ratio:

A contracting business spends $750,000 on materials and supplies for the entire year. The business’s accounts payable balance at the start of the year was $40,000. At the end of the year, this balance was $350,000. You must first determine the average accounts payable using the following formula to determine the accounts payable turnover ratio for the company over the year:

($40,000 + $350,000) / 2 = $195,000 is the average accounts payable.

You can now calculate the account payable turnover ratio using the average accounts payable as well as the total amount of supply purchases:

Accounts payable turnover ratio = $750,000 / $195,000 = 3.84

In this example, the ratio is 3. 84. This indicates that the business settles its short-term debts in about 3 84 times each year. To calculate the turnover ratio in days, use this formula:

Turnover in days = 365 / 3.84 = 95.05

The turnover in days is 95. 05. This indicates that throughout the year, the business pays its debts once every 95 days.


Is higher accounts payable turnover better?

The AP turnover ratio measures a company’s short-term liquidity (i e. It is a calculation of the business’s capacity to settle its current liabilities (cash flow). The quicker the business pays off its debt, the higher the accounts payable turnover ratio.

What is the formula of trade payable turnover ratio?

AP Turnover vs. A high accounts receivable turnover ratio shows that a business is successfully collecting what it is owed, while a low ratio shows that a business is having difficulty with collection or is giving credit to the wrong customers.

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