# Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) | How it works (Explained)

Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is a financial metric that measures the average number of days a company takes to pay its bills or invoices to its suppliers. It is an important indicator of a company’s liquidity and financial health. It shows how a company manages its cash flow and working capital.

## Definition

DPO is a ratio that measures how fast a company pays its bills. Lower is better as it shows timely payment. It reflects a company’s liquidity.

To calculate DPO, divide the number of days (such as a quarter or a year) by the accounts payable during that period and multiply by 365. For example, if a company had \$500,000 in accounts payable at the end of a quarter and paid them off within 45 days. then its DPO would be 45/(\$500,000/365) = 45/1.37 = 32.8 days.

A lower DPO is generally considered better, as it means a company is paying its bills faster. And thus has more cash available to invest or return to shareholders. But, a lower DPO can also say that a company is not taking advantage of early payment discounts or other benefits offered by suppliers.

So, a higher DPO can signify that a company is struggling to pay its bills on time and may be at risk of defaulting on its debts. This can also be a sign that the company is not managing its cash flow and may be in need of more financing.

It’s also important to note that DPO is one metric of a company’s financial performance and should be consider in the context of other financial measures. Such as net income, return on equity, and debt-to-equity ratio.

## How does Days Payable Outstanding Work?

Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is a financial metric that measures the average time a company takes to pay its bills or invoices to its suppliers. It is calculate by dividing the number of days in a period. whether it be a quarter or a year, by the accounts payable during that period and then multiplying by 365.

For instance, if a company had \$500,000 in accounts payable at the end of a quarter and paid them off within 45 days, its DPO would be 45/(\$500,000/365) = 45/1.37 = 32.8 days.

This implies that the company takes an average of 32.8 days to pay its bills to suppliers.

A high DPO indicates that the company takes longer to make payments to its trade creditors. The longer the period is, the more chances of utilizing that fund for maximizing the benefit. A lower DPO is generally considered better, as it means a company is paying its bills faster. And thus has more cash available to invest or return to shareholders. But, a lower DPO can also state that a company is not taking advantage of early payment discounts or other benefits offered by suppliers.

But, a higher DPO can be a sign that a company is struggling to pay its bills on time and may be at risk of defaulting on its debts. This can also be a sign that the company needs to be managing its cash flow more and may be in need of more financing.

## Computing the Days Payable Outstanding

Computing the Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is relatively easy and straightforward. The formula for calculating DPO is:

DPO = (Accounts Payable / Cost of Sales) * 365

This formula takes into account the company’s accounts payable and cost of sales over a specific period of time, usually a quarter or a year, and converts it into many days.

Here’s an example of how to calculate DPO using this formula:

• Assume a company has \$500,000 in accounts payable at the end of a quarter, and its cost of sales for that quarter was \$1,500,000.
• To calculate DPO, divide the accounts payable by the cost of sales, and then multiply by 365.

DPO = (\$500,000 / \$1,500,000) * 365 = 0.33 * 365 = 120 days

This means that the company takes an average of 120 days to pay its bills to suppliers.

It’s important to note that this formula is base on the average accounts payable and cost of sales over a period of time. Also, It’s important to consider other financial indicators when evaluating DPO. Such as net income, return on equity, and debt-to-equity ratio to have a better understanding of the company’s financial performance.

## What is a Good Days Payable Outstanding Ratio?

A good DPO ratio varies depending on the industry and the company’s specific events. Generally, a lower DPO ratio is considere better as it indicates that a company is paying its debts on time. A DPO ratio of 30-45 days is considere average, while a ratio above 60 days may show that a company is taking too long to pay its debts. But, companies that operate in industries with longer payment terms. Such as construction or manufacturing, may have higher DPO ratios.