Many analysts report that poor cash flow management is the number one reason businesses fail. Therefore, analysis and having the best tools at your fingertips is essential to safeguarding your business against bankruptcy, and one of the most critical analyses is “Days Sales Outstanding” or DSO.  DSO is a crucial metric to interpret and manage the cash flow of your business. This article will cover the importance of DSO, how to calculate this, perform analysis, and ways to improve this key number.  

Importance of DSO

Days sales outstanding (DSO), also referred to as average collection period (ACP), is how many days it takes to collect money owed to your firm. We want DSO to be as low as possible from a cash flow perspective. If days sales outstanding goes down, then cash flow goes up and vice versa.  Collecting revenue later than necessary puts you in a vulnerable position; the organization may need to borrow money or sell assets to cover the cash-flow deficit. If there is a structural problem with collecting these receivables, a company can even experience bankruptcy. Before we move to the calculation, here are a few relevant terms:
    • Cash sale: A sale settled immediately. The payment can be made by a card, actual cash, or check. 
    • Credit sale: These are purchases made that do not require payment in full at the time of purchase. Payment can be later or over a period of time. For companies that use invoices, NET30, NET60, NET90 refer to payment done in 30, 60, or 90 days.
    • Accounts receivable (A/R): The accounting term for all outstanding invoices owed to your company. 

DSO Calculation

Days sales outstanding can be calculated by dividing the total accounts receivable by the total net credit sales during a certain time frame. This number is multiplied by the number of days in the period of time. The time used to measure days sales outstanding can be monthly, quarterly, or annually. If you calculate monthly, the measured period will be the number of days in that month, likewise for quarterly or yearly. DSO formula You can find the accounts receivable total on the asset side of the balance sheet and the revenue in the income statement.

Analysis

Now that you have determined your days sales outstanding, how do you interpret this data?   A frequent place to start is to figure out if invoices are past due, and this information should be within the terms in a customer contract. Language such as “net amount due in 30 days” is how to determine if invoices are not paid on time.  What are the reasons behind late payments? It is important to research potential issues like a shipment problem or late invoice delivery. If a firm is requiring their customers to pay by paper check, offering an electronic option could speed collections. On the other hand, a low DSO is considered more favorable, and it shows that customers are paying on time or the company is strict on its credit policy. There is a possibility the organization is missing out on sales opportunities that would come from companies requiring more favorable credit terms. Overall, having a low DSO for small to medium-sized businesses generally carries considerable benefits. Fast credit collectability decreases problems related to paying operational expenses, and a company has more cash on hand for other purposes.  It is beneficial to look at this measurement and its change over time. If this number increases, a business may need to tweak its accounts receivable or overall business processes. 

Solutions

It might be a good time to invest in accounting software that does online and automatic invoicing. These features can shorten the delay in payment. Additionally, software like FINSYNC’s complete solution can track payment status, send automated payment reminders, and customize invoices with payment terms included. Another option would be to include more payment options like ACH and online payment alternatives to get paid faster. Additionally, it may be practical for online users to store their credit card information to streamline their payment process. If customers are repeatedly late or unable to pay, it is time to question the effectiveness of the credit review process when enrolling new buyers. Get your sales team on board and determine potential red flags that can occur during the onboarding of new clients. Across the board, DSO is an excellent metric for determining the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization’s collection process for outstanding payments.  Given the significant role of cash flow in an organization, having easy and regular access to your DSO values can help your business discover ways to collect outstanding bills as quickly as possible.    FINSYNC makes it easy to manage your cash flow, with intuitive tools that do the hard work for you. It’s just one more way that getting your finances in sync can help your business succeed.  
As the holidays are quickly approaching, many retailers are already mobilizing their pack and ship assembly lines. One item that is always included in that fresh new box waiting on your doorstep or in your office is the packing slip. Sometimes it is nice to get an overview of what you ordered; perhaps you need to verify multiple supplies. However, this little piece of paper is likely going straight in the recycle bin, never even given a half glance.  This begs the question - do we still need to be including packing slips?  We will look at this from various perspectives so you can make an informed decision on how to ship your merchandise this holiday season.

What Is a Packing Slip?

A packing slip is a document created by the shipper that includes a complete list of items included in the parcel. This document can consist of SKU numbers, weights, dimensions, and quantities.  The packing slip, also known as the shipping list, manifest, or waybill, can come in handy when your shipment comes in multiple containers. You can quickly reference which box contains the appropriate merchandise.  The waybill is helpful for internal purposes and quality checks. Catching any discrepancies before the seller ships the items is very important for a company's reputation. Even one error could affect future purchases from a buyer.  Lastly, a packing slip is thoroughly scrutinized when shipping an item overseas. Many countries include a value-added tax or VAT on merchandise ordered from another country. Customs can estimate the value within the shipment very quickly by referencing the manifest. 

Packing Slip vs. Invoice

The packing slip describes the physical products in the container, whereas the invoice describes the financial transaction behind the sale of these goods.  The purpose of an invoice is to inform the buyer's accounting department of how much to pay and when it is due. The invoice also serves as a record for the seller to keep track of outstanding unpaid shipments.  Both packing slips and invoices list the items that have shipped and the quantities of the items. However, suppose an item’s availability is delayed two weeks. In that case, this information will likely appear only on the packing slip because this is only relevant to the receiving department that handles the inventory, not the accounting department.  If a purchase order was used, then accounting will need to be aware as the invoice amount won't agree with the purchase order amount.

Branding Purpose

Whether the packing slip serves a purpose is still a debated issue. Thus, it is necessary to point out that younger generations have unleashed a phenomenon known as unboxing. This is a process of recording the moment when a product is opened and removed from the original packaging in which it was sold.  These products range from clothing, electronics, tools, beauty products, and the list goes on. Google announced that the global, aggregate time spent watching unboxing videos on YouTube equated to watching the movie “Love Actually” 20 million times.  Just like that, a new marketing and social media branding tool was created.  The packing slip has the potential to get a lot of views. Retailers worldwide have already begun using this to their advantage. Some companies will now include their packing slip in a gift envelope, and some add a nice note in Natalia font or even include glitter and confetti.  Although you don't have to go all out, simply adding your business's logo can bridge a branding gap that wasn't available ten years ago. That is definitely thinking outside the box!

Conclusion

Many consumers and merchants have indeed paid less attention to this piece of paper over time. Even Amazon has eliminated packing slips with some single-boxed containers. Plus, relying on electronic communication certainly has its environmental advantages.  One thing is for sure; we live in an ever-increasingly digital world. There were over 2 billion online shoppers in 2020 alone. Nearly 85% of consumers across the globe have made a purchase online.  That number is not slowing down. New statistics predict eCommerce sales to increase to $6.5 Trillion by 2023. Amazon is estimated to account for half of all eCommerce sales by the end of the year.  While packing slips are not mandatory, it is the safer course to include one. Many organizations consider this document as one way to manage a customer’s expectations positively. When we look at the industry potential, it is an excellent approach to take the path that encourages the most confidence with consumers.    Are you looking for accounting software to automatically include tracking information on your shipping labels and purchase orders? Visit us at FINSYNC for this holiday season.   
You don’t have to be an enterprise-level client or go through a bank to access the convenience and time-saving benefits of FINSYNC’s Lockbox service. By FINSYNC Wasted time and money from paper files always seem to find a way back to your business. Regardless of how hard you work to eliminate them. One struggle for many businesses is working with clients that still use paper checks. One of the most common ways large businesses handle this problem is through a lockbox- A PO box that is traditionally only available through a bank. Available for firms doing a very high volume of inbound check processing.  With FINSYNC, small and mid-size businesses can benefit from a lockbox. They are able to receive checks and have them automatically deposited and applied to the correct invoice. FINSYNC’s Lockbox service provides huge time savings. Users can work abroad and still get paid. It also allows companies to be completely digital even if their customers are old school.

B2B Paper Checks are Still Common

While Europe and Latin America have various standards that make B2B paper checks less common, they are still common in the United States. This means that many businesses are forced to wait on “snail mail” to receive and process multiple checks. Even if they operate under a paperless business model.  You could utilize a lockbox through your bank, but those types of services are typically only offered at offsite processing centers and available to enterprise-level clients.

FINSYNC’s Lockbox is Available to Clients of All Shapes and Sizes

FINSYNC’s lockbox is available to any size client and allows digital firms to work with traditional businesses. With lockbox, digital firms can easily have checks collected from traditional businesses and match deposits to invoicing. Simply request a payment using FINSYNC to give your customers a simpler, more secure way to pay you via bank draft (ACH), debit or credit card, or paper check sent to your FINSYNC PO Box (lockbox). Your customers will have their own free, secure payments inbox to review and accept your invoices, attachments and pay online.

Forward Thinking Companies Use FINSYNC

“Going green” is all the rage these days. As more and more companies turn to third-party payment processing and paperless offices, many businesses still need a way to collect and process paper checks from traditional clients.

Lockbox by FINSYNC enables businesses to: 

  • Easily send invoices and attachments
  • Know when and how much you'll get paid
  • Accept every customer payment format
  • View real-time status of invoices and payments
  • Incentivize early payments with discounts and rebates
  • Streamline by allowing customers to store banking info online
  • Receive paid invoice funds directly in your synced bank account
Check out the top reasons why you should consider FINSYNC for managing your business finances.

Benefits of Lockbox

With FINSYNC your business can save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in admin time each year. Lockbox is designed to help you streamline your financial operations and run a paperless office.  With Lockbox enabled, any customer that desires to pay by mail will see your Lockbox address on your invoices in their inbox as your remittance address. When a check arrives in your Lockbox, it is deposits into your default income account.  With Lockbox it doesn’t matter if you work in the gig economy, you’re a digital nomad or work with corporate clients in the U.S.. You can receive checks from businesses in the U.S. no matter where you are in the world.  FINSYNC Lockbox and accounts receivable helps you get in sync with your customers and get paid more quickly and efficiently. Lockbox is a win-win for both you and your clients. The software makes it simple to pay and get paid. In addition, it eliminates the need to pay someone to go to the mailbox and keep track of physical invoices.  Lockbox allows invoices to send immediately and get paid as soon as you receive your check. Allowing you to manage your small business finances in a single platform. It enables you to sync up your small business finances and harness the power of your financial data to give you a complete picture of your business.  If you’re a digital firm looking for ways to receive paper bills and convert them into e-bills, FINSYNC’s Lockbox service is an easy-to-use solution. Ready to take control of your cash flow and implement more electronic payments? try FINSYNC free for a week.
When you need working capital without delay, borrowing against your unpaid invoices is a short-term cash flow solution worth considering. By FINSYNC Waiting 30, 60 or even 90 days to collect on goods and services rendered is challenging enough for small businesses, without the added stress of late payments. Unfortunately, delayed payments are all too common, with one in every 10 invoices paid late. While there are several steps you can take to get paid faster, sometimes your business needs the funds you’re owed right away. So what can you do when you need working capital for immediate expenses, and can’t wait to collect on unpaid invoices? Enter invoice financing, also known as accounts receivable financing. This type of loan allows you to borrow money against the amount your customers owe you. In other words, you can finance your unpaid invoices to get the cash you’re due now — without having to wait for your customer to make the payment.

How It Works

When you finance an unpaid invoice, you’re essentially getting a cash advance on the invoice, which serves as collateral. So what does this convenience cost you? You’ll pay the lender a percentage of the invoice in return for the loan. Lenders generally advance around 85 percent of your invoice right away, and you’re paid the remaining 15 percent once your customer pays their invoice. There’s often a processing fee, plus a percentage that’s generally calculated on a weekly basis (somewhere around 1 percent per month). The longer it takes your customers to pay their invoice, the more interest you’ll pay.  

When to Consider Invoice Financing

Invoice financing offers a short-term solution to cash flow issues. It’s an option to consider when you need cash immediately, and can’t afford to wait for your customers to pay their invoices. This type of financing often makes sense for companies that face long payment cycles, or for seasonal business swings. Whether you need funds to cover operating costs, pay your employees or support a growth opportunity, invoice financing is a fast, convenient way to access cash. How fast? Many accounts receivable loans are processed in as little as a day, and with FINSYNC you can turn your invoices into cash in just one click. Beyond the speed and simplicity with which you can access funds, invoice financing is worth considering for startups and businesses that may have a difficult time securing other types of loans. With invoice financing, your customer’s credit score is given more weight than your own. In stark contrast to the approval process for traditional small business loans, accounts receivable lenders are looking mainly for unencumbered accounts receivable from clients with good credit. Your own credit history, cash flow and business outlook are secondary.  

Advantages of Invoice Financing

Invoice financing offers many advantages, several of which we’ve already mentioned. They can be easier to qualify for than other types of loans. You get funds fast and approval is generally based on your customer’s credit rather than your own. Startups with a limited history often have an easier time qualifying for invoice financing, as there’s less emphasis on cash flow and revenue. Generally, three to six months of business history is sufficient, and the only collateral you’ll need is the invoice itself. The other obvious advantage is the time you’ll save waiting for payments. Getting the money you’re owed immediately can help you avoid cash flow issues. It may even help you take advantage of timely growth opportunities.

Other Factors to Consider

When you factor an invoice, your client is usually notified — which can be uncomfortable for both you and your client. With FINSYNC’s invoice financing, your customer will never be informed about the transaction, as we are also a payment processor. Invoice financing can be more expensive than other types of loans. The rates and fees tend to be higher in return for fast, easy access to cash. They can also be somewhat unpredictable. Since the fees are based on the time it takes for the invoice to be paid. Repayment terms are often shorter for invoice financing, generally around 12 weeks. And don’t forget that you’re still dependent upon your customer’s payment; if they don’t pay you, it’s still your responsibility to pay back the loan. Keep costs down and minimize your risk by repaying the loan quickly. Only finance invoices from clients with a solid repayment history.   FINSYNC is the only all-in-one platform that helps businesses get all their finances in sync, centralize control of cash flow, and get in sync with the right financial professional at the right time.  
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