Days Sales Outstanding

What is Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)?

Days Sales Outstanding is the average number of days the company takes to convert its accounts receivables (credit sales) into cash and helps us determines how good a company is in collecting its dues.

When a company sells its products to another company, they sell a major share of the products on credit (sometimes the cent percent share). And then, after a certain period of time, the company collects the money from its debtors. DSO is a calculation.

Let us look at the graph above. We note that Colgate’s DSO has been decreasing continuously and is currently at 34.09 days. On the other hand, Procter and Gamble DSO has been moving up and down and is currently lower than that of Colgate at 25.15 days.

days sales outstanding

Days Sales Outstanding Formula

Here is the DSO formula below

Days Sales Outstanding Formula = Accounts ReceivablesAccounts ReceivablesAccounts receivables refer to the amount due on the customers for the credit sales of the products or services made by the company to them. It appears as a current asset in the corporate balance more / Net Credit Sales * 365


In the above Days Sales OutstandingDays Sales OutstandingDays sales outstanding portrays the company's efficiency to recover its credit sales bills from the debtors. The number of days debtors took to make the payment is computed by multiplying the fraction of accounts receivables to net credit sales with 365 more formula, you can see that the accounts receivables are being proportioned with the net credit sales. The accounts receivables are the amount due to the debtors. And the net credit sales can be calculated as follows –

Net Credit Sales = Gross Credit Sales – Sales Returns/Allowance/Discount

And then the proportion is being multiplied by 365 days to see the overall impact in a year.

So, what the Days Sales Outstanding depicts?

It depicts how much money has already been collected and how much is yet to be received.

Understanding this will give an investor an idea of how good a company is in collecting its money due to its debtors. And we would be able to judge the efficiency of the collection as well.

The point is, days sales outstanding help us decide how long it takes for the company to collect money from its debtors, and the number of days is added to the day’s inventory outstanding. Days inventory outstanding helps us understand how long it takes to transfer the raw materials into finished products. And then, from the sum, DPODPODays Payable Outstanding (DPO) is the average number of days taken by a business to settle their payable accounts. DPO basically indicates the credit terms of a business with its creditors. read more is deducted. DPO tells us how long it takes for the company to pay off its due to its creditors.

Days Sales Outstanding Examples

Here we will take two examples. In the first example, we will go through a simple DSO calculation. And in the next example, we will see how to calculate the cash conversion cycleCash Conversion CycleThe Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC) is a ratio analysis measure to evaluate the number of days or time a company converts its inventory and other inputs into cash. It considers the days inventory outstanding, days sales outstanding and days payable outstanding for more.


Company Xing had gross credit sales of $500,000 in a year. It had sales returns of $50,000. It had accounts receivables of $90,000. Find out the Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).

In this example, first, we will find out the ‘net credit sales.’

Gross credit sales are given, and we also have a sales return.

So, the net credit sales would be = ($500,000 – $50,000) = $450,000.

We also have been given accounts receivables. It is $90,000.

Now, we need to put the data into the DSO formula.

DSO Formula = Accounts Receivables / Net Credit Sales * 365

Or, Days Sales Outstanding = $90,000 / $450,000 * 365 = 1/5 * 365 = 73 days.

That means Company Xing takes 73 days to collect money from its debtors on an average.


Company Zang has the following information –

Find out Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO), Days Payable Outstanding (DPO), and Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). And then also calculate the cash conversion cycle.

This is an advanced example.

We will first calculate the three important parts of the cash conversion cycle, and then we will ascertain how many days it takes to complete the cash conversion cycle of Company Zang.

We will first look at each formula and put in the data to find out the ratio.

The formula of Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO) = Ending Inventory / Cost of Sales * 365

Putting the data into the formula, we get –

DIO = $30,000 / $300,000 * 365 = 1/10 * 365 = 36.5 days.

The formula of Days Payable Outstanding (DIO) = Accounts Payable / Cost of Sales * 365

Putting the data into the formula, we get –

DPO = $60,000 / $300,000 * 365 = 1/5 * 365 = 73 days.

DSO = Accounts Receivables / Net Credit Sales * 365

Putting the data into the Days Sales Outstanding formula, we get –

DSO = $60,000 / $360,000 * 365 = 1/6 * 365 = 60.73 days.

Now, we will look at the formula of the cash conversion cycle –

formula of cash conversion cycle

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For eg:
Source: Days Sales Outstanding (

Putting the data into the formula, we get –

Cash Conversion Cycle = 60.73 days + 36.5 days – 73 days

Or, Cash Conversion Cycle = 24.23 days.

Since the company takes more time to pay off its creditors, quickly collects the money from its debtors, and translates the raw materials into finished goods in a short period of time, it is able to create a cash conversion cycle, which is just 24.23 days.

From the point of view of efficiency, it’s a great achievement because cash flow is the lifeblood of the business. And from the calculation above, it is evident that Company Zang has been doing quite well in completing the full cash conversion cycle within a short period of time.

Note: A quick note is needed to be given here. Just calculation of the cash conversion cycle isn’t enough to justify whether the company is doing well or not. Of course, completing the cash conversion cycle within a month is commendable; but we also need to compare the result with other similar companies under the same industry to get an idea about it.

Sector Examples of Days Sales Outstanding

Airlines Sector

Below is the DSO of top companies in the Airlines Sector

NameMarket Cap ($ billion)DSO
American Airlines Group           24,61413.71
Alaska Air Group             9,00615.82
Azul             7,2830.00
China Eastern Airlines             9,52828.53
Copa Holdings             5,78818.62
Delta Air Lines           39,74818.80
Gol Intelligent Airlines           21,97523.95
JetBlue Airways             6,9238.48
LATAM Airlines Group             8,45941.32
Southwest Airlines           39,1169.11
Ryanair Holdings           25,1953.45
United Continental Holdings           19,08811.50
China Southern Airlines             9,88219.04
  • We note that the list of companies above have a mixed Days Sales Outstanding ranging from 0 to 41.32 days
  • LATAM Airlines Group has one of the highest DSO with 41.32 days, whereas Ryanair Holdings have a lower DSO at 3.45 days.

Automobile Sector

Below is the DSO of top companies in the Automobile sector.

NameMarket Cap ($ billion)Days Sales Outstanding
Ford Motor           50,409136.51
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles           35,44122.92
General Motors           60,35363.72
Honda Motor Co           60,97867.85
Ferrari           25,887139.05
Toyota Motor         186,374109.18
Tesla           55,64717.42
Tata Motors           22,10735.34
  • Ferrari and Ford Motors have one of the highest Days Sales Outstanding at 139.05 days and 136.51 days, respectively.
  • Tesla has one of the lowest DSO in the group of Automobile companies at 17.42 days.

Discount Stores

Below is the DSO and Market Cap of top companies in the Discount Stores sector.

NameMarket Cap ($ billion)Days Sales Outstanding
Burlington Stores             8,0492.67
Costco Wholesale           82,7123.80
Dollar General           25,0110.15
Dollar Tree Stores           25,8842.58
Target           34,8213.90
Wal-Mart Stores         292,6834.30
  • Overall, we note that the sector has a very low DSO. Most of them range from 0.15 days to 4.30 days
  • WalMart Stores has a DSO of 4.3 days, whereas Dollar General has a DSO of 0.15 days.

Oil & Gas Sector

Below is the DSO of top companies in the Oil & Gas Sector.

NameMarket Cap ($ billion)Days Sales Outstanding
ConocoPhillips           62,98059.39
CNOOC           62,24356.57
EOG Resources           58,64952.48
Occidental Petroleum           54,256122.14
Canadian Natural           41,13067.57
Pioneer Natural Resources           27,26069.06
Anadarko Petroleum           27,02497.34
Continental Resources           18,141127.25
Apache           15,33381.16
Hess           13,77882.32
  • We note that overall, this sector has a higher DSO as compared to other sectors.
  • In this group, Continental Resources has the highest DSO of 127.25 days, whereas EOG Resources has a lower DSO of 52.48 days.

Net credit sales to calculate Days Sales Outstanding ratio?

If you’re new to investments, you may wonder how you would get the data of the accounts receivables and net credit sales.

In this section, we will get you covered.

All you would need is two financial statements – the balance sheet and the income statement.

In the balance sheet, you would be able to locate the accounts receivables. You need to look under the assets section where current assets are given. Under current assets, you will get the data for accounts receivables.

In the income statement, you will get the data for net credit salesNet Credit SalesNet credit sales is the revenue generated from goods or services sold on credit excluding the sales discount, sales allowance and sales return. It even amounts to the accounts receivables for a certain accounting more. At the beginning of the income statement, you would see the gross sales. This “gross sales” includes both – cash & credit sales. You need to pick the credit sales, and you also need to deduct the sales returns (if any) which have been returned in the case of credit sales.

Using these two, you would easily be able to calculate the day’s sales outstanding (DSO). And by looking at the income statement and the balance sheet, you would also be able to find the cost of sales, ending inventory, and accounts payable to be able to ascertain the cash conversion cycle.

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) Video

This article was the guide to what is Days Sales Outstanding and its meaning. Here we discuss DSO Formula, its interpretation along with practical examples and industry examples. You may also have a look at the below articles learn further –

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  1. AvatarAnika says

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    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

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