Collection effectiveness formula: How to calculate?

Proper debt collection management has become a top priority for companies in a world where cash flow and financial stability are essential for growth and survival.

An effective debt collection formula is a powerful tool that allows organizations to strategically and efficiently tackle the challenges related to collecting outstanding assets.

In this article, we will explore in depth the debt collection effectiveness formula and its significant benefits for companies and creditors. We’ll find out how to calculate it, its components, its benefits and much more. Although debt collection can be tricky and sensitive territory, knowing how to use this formula can make the difference between stagnation and financial progress.

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What is the collection effectiveness formula?

Formula: Collection effectiveness index (CEI) = [(Credit sales of initial receivables – Final receivables) / (Credit sales of initial receivables – Uncollectible sales at the end of the current period)] × 100

The “Collection Effectiveness Formula” is a financial indicator used to assess a company’s performance and effectiveness in managing the collection of its outstanding debts. This formula provides a clear and quantitative view of the company’s ability to recover the money owed by its customers over a specific period.

The formula is usually calculated as follows:

Collection Effectiveness Index (CEI) = [(Credit sales of initial receivables – Final receivable sales) / (Credit sales of initial receivables – Uncollectible sales at the end of the current period)]] × 100

The result of this formula is expressed as a percentage, indicating the company’s relative success in collecting debts. The higher the percentage obtained, the more effective the company has been in recovering its debts.

What is the collection efficiency ratio?

The International Debt Collection Efficiency Ratio is a financial indicator that assesses a company’s efficiency in the process of collecting and recovering outstanding debts. It is calculated by dividing the total amount of debts actually collected during a given period by the total amount invoiced to customers in the same period, and then expressed as a percentage.

(Amount collected / Total amount invoiced) x 100

The result obtained represents the proportion of money that the company has managed to recover in relation to the total debts invoiced to customers. A higher collection efficiency ratio indicates greater efficiency in the management of collections, which means that the company has been more successful in recovering the money owed.

What is a good collection efficiency ratio?

The debt collection efficiency ratio is key to assessing a creditor’s effectiveness and efficiency in collecting outstanding debts. Determining what is considered a good efficiency percentage is crucial for measuring financial performance and setting realistic goals.

Although there is no single figure that is universally applied as a standard for all companies, generally speaking, a good debt collection efficiency percentage is around 80% to 90%. This basically means that the company has managed to recover 80% to 90% of the total outstanding debts in a given period of time.

However, it is important to bear in mind that the concept of a “good percentage” can vary depending on the sector, the size of the company and other specific factors. For example, some sectors that deal with high-risk debt may have lower efficiency percentages, but still be considered acceptable in their context.

A high efficiency ratio will significantly improve the company’s cash flow and financial health. Regularly monitoring the debt collection efficiency percentage and comparing it with other objectives and past performance will help identify opportunities for improvement and implement appropriate strategies.

Advantages of measurement?

Implementing the collection efficiency formula and the collection efficiency ratio offers a number of significant benefits for companies and organizations wishing to improve their collection management and strengthen their financial position. Below we highlight the main benefits of using both metrics:

Accurate assessment of financial performance

Both the collection effectiveness formula and the collection effectiveness ratio provide quantitative and objective measures of collection performance. These metrics allow companies to accurately assess the efficiency of debt collection, which makes it easier to identify areas for improvement and set realistic targets.

Informed decision-making

By having concrete data on the effectiveness of debt collection, companies can make informed and strategic financial decisions. These metrics help them identify patterns of behavior, adjust credit policies and create and establish more effective collection strategies.

Improving cash flow

The use of both metrics contributes to improving the company’s cash flow. A higher percentage of efficiency in debt collection translates into a more solid availability of funds to finance future operations and projects.

Strengthening customer relations

By having a clear view of the effectiveness of the collection process, companies can implement more personalized and comprehensive approaches to debt management. This can improve relations with customers, as they feel they are treated fairly and with respect during the collection process.

Reduce financial risks

Regular evaluation of the effectiveness of debt collection helps to identify potential credit risks and overdue accounts at an early stage. This allows companies to take preventive measures to minimize losses and long-term financial risks.

Setting objectives and monitoring progress

These two metrics provide a solid basis for setting specific collection targets and objectives. By continuously monitoring performance through these metrics, companies can track their progress and make the necessary adjustments to achieve their financial objectives.

Identifying areas for improvement

By measuring collections performance, it is possible to identify areas that require improvement or adjustments to recovery strategies.

Increased operational efficiency

Effective collection management reduces the time and resources spent on collection processes, which improves overall operational efficiency.

Improved credit rating

A good collections record can improve a company’s credit standing and facilitate future negotiations and financial agreements.

Increased profitability

More effective debt collection translates into an increase in net income, which contributes to the company’s profitability.

Components of the collection effectiveness formula?

The Collection Effectiveness Formula is made up of three elements, the combination of which makes it possible to calculate the overall effectiveness of collection management. Below we will describe each of the components:

Initial accounts receivable

This is the total amount of money owed to the company by customers at the start of the period being evaluated. It is the accumulated balance of outstanding debts.

Credit sales

Represents the total amount of sales the company made to its customers on credit during that period. In other words, sales for which customers did not pay at the time of purchase, but were authorized to pay at a later date.

Final accounts receivable

This is the total amount of money owed to the company by customers at the end of the period being evaluated. It is the balance of outstanding debts after collections and payments have been made.

Uncollectible sales at the end of the current period

The portion of credit sales estimated to be uncollectible at the end of the established period.

The formula would be as follows:

CEI = [(Credit sales of initial receivables – Final receivables) / (Credit sales of initial receivables – Uncollectible sales at the end of the current period)]] × 100

How to calculate collection effectiveness?

The CEI is a very powerful metric that allows you to assess the overall efficiency of a group of companies or branches in recovering debts. It is very important to know how to calculate it in order to get the most out of it. Below is a step-by-step calculation:

Step 1: Gather the necessary information

Obtain the initial Accounts Receivable of all the companies or branches involved in the analysis. This figure represents the total balance of outstanding debts at the start of the period you want to evaluate.

Obtain the Credit Sales of all the companies or branches during the same period. This figure represents the total sales made on credit.

Obtain the final Accounts Receivable of all companies or branches at the end of the period you are evaluating. This is the total balance of outstanding debts at the end of the period.

Make sure you have the Bad Sales at the End of the Current Period for all companies or branches. This represents the total sales that are not recoverable at the end of the period.

Step 2: Add the values for all companies or branches

Add the values for the “Opening amount of receivables”.

Add the figures for the “Amount of Credit Sales”.

Add the figures for the “Final Accounts Receivable Amount”.

Add the values for the “Amount of Uncollectible Sales at the End of the Period”.

Step 3: Calculate the IRB formula

Substitute the values obtained in the corresponding places to calculate the Collective Effectiveness Index (CEI):

CEI = [(Sum of Beginning Receivables Value Sum of Credit Sales Value – Sum of Ending Receivables Value) / (Sum of Beginning Receivables Value Sum of Credit Sales Value – Sum of End of Period Uncollectible Sales Value)]] × 100

Step 4: Perform the calculations

Perform the mathematical operations of addition and subtraction according to the formula to obtain the numerator and denominator of the fraction.

Step 5: Divide and multiply

Divide the numerator by the denominator and multiply the result by 100 to obtain the CEI.

Step 6: Interpret the result

The result obtained is the Collective Effectiveness Index (CEI) expressed as a percentage. This percentage represents the efficiency of the group of companies or branches in recovering their outstanding debts during the period analyzed.


Example 1: Group of Branches of a Retail Company

Let’s imagine that a retail company has several branches in different cities. The financial director wants to evaluate the effectiveness of the branches in recovering debts during the last quarter. The data for three of the branches is presented below:

Branch A

Initial value of accounts receivable: $50,000

Value of credit sales: $100,000

Closing value of accounts receivable: $10,000

Value of uncollectible sales at the end of the period: $2,000

Branch B

Initial value of accounts receivable: $40,000

Amount of credit sales: $80,000

Final value of accounts receivable: $12,000

Amount of uncollectible sales at the end of the period: $1,000

Branch C

Initial value of accounts receivable: $60,000

Amount of credit sales: $120,000

Closing value of accounts receivable: $8,000

Amount of uncollectible sales at the end of the period: $3,000

Step 1: Calculate the sum of the amounts per branch

  • Sum of the initial value of accounts receivable: $50,000 $40,000 $60,000 = $150,000
  • Sum of credit sales: $100,000 $80,000 $120,000 = $300,000
  • Sum of the final value of accounts receivable: $10,000 $12,000 $8,000 = $30,000
  • Sum of the value of uncollectible sales at the end of the period: $2,000 $1,000 $3,000 = $6,000

Step 2: Calculate the IEC

Using the IEC formula:

CEI = [(150,000 300,000 – 30,000) / (150,000 300,000 – 6,000)] × 100

CEI = (420,000 / 444,000) × 100

CEI = 94.59%.


The Collective Effectiveness Index (CEI) for this group of branches is 94.59%. This indicates that the group of branches was highly efficient in recovering its outstanding debts during the last quarter.

Example 2

Suppose we are analyzing the debt collection efficiency of Company XYZ for the month of June. We have the following data:

Initial accounts receivable (at the beginning of June): $100,000

Credit sales during June: $50,000

Final receivables (at the end of June): $80,000

Uncollectible sales at the end of the current period: $5,000

Step 1: Calculate the numerator of the CEI formula

Numerator = (Credit sales of initial receivables – Final receivables)Numerator = ($100,000 $50,000 – $80,000)

Numerator = $70,000

Step 2: Calculate the denominator of the CEI formula

Denominator = (Credit sales of initial receivables – Uncollectible sales at the end of the current period)

Denominator = ($100,000 $50,000 – $5,000)

Denominator = $145,000

Step 3: Calculate the CEI

CEI = (Numerator / Denominator) × 100

CEI = ($70,000 / $145,000) × 100

CEI ≈ 48.28%.

In this example, Company XYZ’s Collection Effectiveness Index (CEI) for the month of June is approximately 48.28%. This means that, during the month of June, Company XYZ managed to collect around 48.28% of the total outstanding debt, taking into account credit sales and adjustments for uncollectible sales. A higher CEI would indicate a more efficient debt collection process, while a lower CEI would suggest the need for improvements in collection efforts.

Best practices for improving collection effectiveness

Effective collection management is key to maintaining the financial stability of any company or organization. Improving the effectiveness of debt collection requires the implementation of strategic and targeted practices. Here are some of the best practices that can help you achieve more successful collections management:

Clear and well-defined credit policies

Establishing sound and clear credit policies from the outset is essential to avoid future collection problems. Setting appropriate credit limits for each customer and assessing their ability to pay will help reduce the risk of uncollectible accounts.

Proactive communication

It is essential to maintain proactive communication with customers. Sending friendly reminders and notifications of due dates before payment deadlines expire can encourage timely compliance.

Offer incentives for early payment

Motivating customers to pay before the due date through incentives, such as discounts for early payment, can encourage timely compliance and improve debt recovery.

Constant follow-up

Continuous monitoring of outstanding accounts and keeping a detailed record of interactions with customers will enable you to detect potential problems quickly and resolve them proactively.

Flexible payment agreements

Offering flexible payment arrangement options tailored to customers’ individual needs can help prevent defaults and facilitate debt recovery.

Process automation

Implementing collection management systems and automating repetitive tasks optimizes the efficiency of the collection process, allowing greater attention to be paid to more complex and high-risk cases.

Staff training

Adequate training for members of the collection team is essential to improve their negotiation skills and their ability to deal with difficult situations, which will enable them to be more effective in the debt recovery process.

Debt segmentation

Segmenting debts according to their age and risk makes it possible to prioritize management and focus resources on the accounts that need the most urgent attention.

Collaboration with the commercial department

Good communication and collaboration between the sales department and the collections department can help prevent the generation of new problem debts and identify potential collection problems at an early stage.

Outsourcing collections

In cases where the company faces difficulties in recovering debts internally, considering outsourcing collections to specialized agencies can be an effective option for obtaining faster and more efficient results.


In the process of maintaining a company’s financial health, effective collections management plays a key role. In this article, we have explored two key tools for assessing and improving collection effectiveness: the Collection Effectiveness Index (CEI) and the Collection Effectiveness Ratio.

These financial metrics are essential for measuring how a company is recovering its outstanding receivables and for assessing its performance in this area. Both formulas are based on the analysis of key components, such as the amount recovered, the opening balance of accounts receivable and uncollectible sales at the end of the period, providing a comprehensive view of the collection process.

In short, the CEI and the Collection Effectiveness Ratio are powerful tools that provide a clear view of a company’s financial performance in terms of collections. By calculating and applying these metrics in conjunction with the best practices mentioned above, companies can strengthen their financial position, optimize cash flow and maintain strong customer relations. Better collections management not only benefits the company itself, but is also an indicator of good financial management and a successful business operation.

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