The accounts receivable collection period is similar to the days sales outstanding or the days sales in accounts receivable.
To illustrate the accounts receivable collection period, let's assume a corporation had net credit sales of $360,000 during the past year and its accounts receivable balance was on average $40,000. The average credit sales per day were approximately $1,000 per day ($360,000 of annual credit sales divided by 360 or 365 days per year). The average accounts receivable balance of $40,000 divided by $1,000 of credit sales per day equals 40 days.
An alternative calculation is to use the accounts receivable turnover ratio. In our example, the accounts receivable ratio is 9 times per year ($360,000 of net credit sales divided by $40,000—the average accounts receivable balance). 360 days per year divided by the accounts receivable turnover of 9 equals 40 days.