Days Payable Outstanding

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Definition

Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is a turnover ratio that represents the average number of days it takes for a company to pay its suppliers. A high (low) DPO indicates that a company is paying its suppliers slower (faster). A DPO of 17 means that on average, it takes the company 17 days to pays its suppliers.

DPO can be thought of in a few ways. In general, high DPOs are looked at favorably; it indicates that the firm is able to use cash (that would have gone to immediately paying suppliers) to other uses for an extended period of time. Extremely high DPOs potentially highlight liquidity issues OR extensive credit terms that favor the company (think Amazon).

Some companies may have low DPOs compared to its competitors. While this could be ineffective cash management, some suppliers do offer discount terms for early prepayment such as 1/10, net 30 (1% discount if paid within 10 days for a 30 general day payment) or other variants such as 2/20, net 180 (2% discount if paid within 20 days for a 180 general day payment). Because of these cost savings advantages, companies with supplier contracts similar to this have lower DPOs.

Days Payable Outstanding is a crucial component of the Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC), which is used to determine how long cash is tied up in working capital. Companies with an extremely high DPO can lead to a negative CCC. (For the CCC, a ratio where lower is better, that is a good sign!)

Formula

Days Payable Outstanding = 91.5 x (Accounts Payable/ (COGS + New Inventory Purchases))

Where:

New Inventory Purchases = Inventory at Period End - Inventory at Period Beginning

Note: YCharts uses quarterly data instead of annual data for this calculation. Accounts Payable and COGS refer to Accounts Payable and COGS respectively at the end of the quarter, hence the 91.5 multiplier instead of 365.

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