You need other measures such as collection period, inventory processing and so on, to know how quickly you can collect receivables. Let us take the example of Walmart Inc. to illustrate the computation of the payout ratio using per share parameters. During 2018, the company reported a net income per share of $3.29 while it declared dividends per share of $2.04. The term “payout” may also refer to the capital budgeting tool used to determine the number of years it takes for a project to pay for itself.

Without considering the time value of money, it is difficult or impossible to determine which project is worth considering. Projecting a break-even time in years means little if the after-tax cash flow estimates don’t materialize. This may be due to favorable credit terms, or it may signal cash flow problems and hence, a worsening financial condition. While a decreasing ratio could indicate a company in financial distress, that may not necessarily be the case.

It measures the percentage of earnings retained by the company for reinvestment or to pay off debt. If the average payable period is more than normal practice, it may indicate a higher liquidation risk. On the contrary, if the average payable period is in line with market practice, it may suggest a lower liquidation risk. However, it has a massive potential to impair working relations with suppliers and compromise the long-term profit of the business.

A high number may be due to suppliers demanding quick payments, or it may indicate that the company is seeking to take advantage of early payment discounts or actively working to improve its credit rating. The dividend payout ratio is the ratio of the total amount of dividends paid out to shareholders relative to the net income of the company. The amount that is not paid to shareholders is retained by the company to pay off debt or to reinvest in core operations. Using the payback period to assess risk is a good starting point, but many investors prefer capital budgeting formulas like net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR).

  1. The dividend payout ratio is the ratio of the total amount of dividends paid out to shareholders relative to the net income of the company.
  2. For example, a payout ratio of 20% means the company pays out 20% of company distributions.
  3. A low payout ratio combined with strong earnings growth can signal a company with significant growth potential.
  4. The NPV is the difference between the present value of cash coming in and the current value of cash going out over a period of time.
  5. In times of economic hardship, people spend less of their incomes on new cars, entertainment, and luxury goods.

However, not all projects and investments have the same time horizon, so the shortest possible payback period needs to be nested within the larger context of that time horizon. For example, the payback period on a home improvement project can be decades while the payback period on a construction project may be five years or less. Most capital budgeting formulas, such as net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and discounted cash flow, consider the TVM.

Is the Payback Period the Same Thing As the Break-Even Point?

The payout ratio is 0% for companies that do not pay dividends and is 100% for companies that pay out their entire net income as dividends. As with most financial metrics, a company’s turnover ratio is best examined relative to similar companies in its industry. For example, a company’s payables turnover ratio of two will be more concerning if virtually all of its competitors have a ratio of at least four. When determining the payout ratio, a transparent and accountable management team will consider the company’s long-term growth prospects, financial health, and shareholder expectations. Growth investors typically prefer companies with low payout ratios as they indicate a focus on reinvestment and future growth. Mature industries with stable cash flows, such as utilities and consumer staples, typically have higher payout ratios.

To understand the implications of the payment period and its consequences, we need to look at the payment terms which could deem the result of 38 days as positive or negative. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. A wealth management expert can provide personalized advice tailored to your unique financial goals and risk tolerance, ensuring that you make the most of your investment opportunities. The payout ratio varies across industries and should be compared within the same industry for meaningful insights.

Average Payment Period: Definition, Formula, and Example

Inflows are any items that go into the investment, such as deposits, dividends, or earnings. Cash outflows include any fees or charges that are subtracted from the balance. Alternative measures of “return” preferred by economists are net present value and internal rate of return. An implicit assumption in the use of payback period is that returns to the investment continue after the payback period.


Assume Company A invests $1 million in a project that is expected to save the company $250,000 each year. If we divide $1 million by $250,000, we arrive at a payback period of four years for this investment. By computing it, you can assess the appropriateness of your payment terms, credit policies, and choice of business partners. In terms of financial securities, such how to write goals and objectives for grant proposals as annuities and dividends, payouts refer to the amounts received at given points in time. For example, in the case of an annuity, payouts are made to the annuitant at regular intervals, such as monthly or quarterly. A steadily rising ratio could indicate a healthy, maturing business, but a spiking one could mean the dividend is heading into unsustainable territory.

Although calculating the payback period is useful in financial and capital budgeting, this metric has applications in other industries. It can be used by homeowners and businesses to calculate the return on energy-efficient technologies such as solar panels and insulation, including maintenance and upgrades. The average payment period is a crucial solvency ratio for any company as it tracks the ability to settle amounts owed to suppliers. For investors and stakeholders, understanding the average payment period is essential for making informed decisions and identifying potential investment opportunities. It helps key stakeholders and decision-makers identify how quickly the company can pay off its credit purchases and liabilities.

Pete Rathburn is a copy editor and fact-checker with expertise in economics and personal finance and over twenty years of experience in the classroom. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance.

. What is another name for the average payment period?

The cash flow balance in year zero is negative as it marks the initial outlay of capital. Therefore, the cumulative cash flow balance in year 1 equals the negative balance from year 0 plus the present value of cash flows from year 1. The discounted payback period is calculated by adding the year to the absolute value of the period’s cumulative cash flow balance and dividing it by the following year’s present value of cash flows. In financial modeling, the accounts payable turnover ratio (or turnover days) is an important assumption for creating the balance sheet forecast. As you can see in the example below, the accounts payable balance is driven by the assumption that cost of goods sold (COGS) takes approximately 30 days to be paid (on average).

The business managers need to balance these factors for effective management of the average payment period. If managers are more centered on managing working capital with the accounts payable financing, the business may be more profitable in the short term due to more liquidity. The average payment period is the measure of days the business takes to pay off accounts payable. It’s a solvency ratio and indicates business practice to satisfy obligations that fall due. The length of the average payment period is dependent on multiple factors including business policies, liquidity, adequacy of financial planning, and pattern of negotiation with the suppliers. In short, payment period is a sensor for how efficiently a company utilizes credit options available to cover short-term needs.

Payback period is the amount of time it takes to break even on an investment. The appropriate timeframe for an investment will vary depending on the type of project or investment and the expectations of those undertaking it. Investors may use payback in conjunction with return on investment (ROI) to determine whether or not to invest or enter a trade. Corporations and business managers also use the payback period to evaluate the relative favorability of potential projects in conjunction with tools like IRR or NPV.