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Days Payable Outstanding


Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is a financial metric that indicates the average time a company takes to pay its bills and obligations to suppliers and vendors. It is calculated by dividing the accounts payable by the daily cost of goods sold (COGS), and represents how well the company manages and allocates its cash flow. A higher DPO means the company is taking longer to pay its bills, whereas a lower DPO indicates prompt payments, and both can have various implications for a company’s financial health.


Days Payable Outstanding: /deɪz ˈpeɪəbl ˌaʊtˈstændɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is a financial metric that measures the average time it takes for a company to pay its bills and invoices to its trade creditors such as suppliers.
  2. A higher DPO indicates that a company is taking a longer time to settle its outstanding payables, which could be beneficial for cash flow management. However, consistently high DPO could strain relationships with suppliers and may impact the company’s credit reputation.
  3. To calculate DPO, divide the average accounts payable (AP) by the cost of goods sold (COGS) or total supplier purchases, and then multiply the result by the number of days in the period. This helps businesses understand their cash conversion cycle and how efficiently they manage working capital.


Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is an important financial metric for businesses, as it measures the average time a company takes to pay its outstanding trade payables or suppliers. DPO helps assess a company’s cash management efficiency and liquidity position, revealing insights into the company’s working capital to make financial decisions. A higher DPO indicates that a company is utilizing its purchase credits and taking longer to pay its bills, which may preserve cash in the short term but could potentially strain supplier relationships. A lower DPO reflects a company paying suppliers more quickly—indicating strong cash management, but possibly sacrificing cash preservation advantages. By monitoring DPO, businesses can effectively balance their cash flow and maintain healthy relationships with suppliers while optimizing their overall financial strategy.


Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is an essential financial metric that assists businesses in understanding their cash management efficiency, particularly in terms of managing their accounts payable. The primary purpose of DPO is to evaluate the average time taken by a company to pay its suppliers and creditors. An effective cash management system is crucial for a business, as it enables smooth functioning and allows the management to make informed decisions on working capital management, investments, and long-term growth strategies. By analyzing DPO value, businesses can identify the effectiveness of their accounts payable management, establish constructive relationships with suppliers, negotiate better payment terms, and align payment schedules with cash inflows. This ensures better liquidity management and improved cash flow. Furthermore, DPO offers valuable insights into the overall financial health of a company and serves as a useful tool for comparing business performance with industry benchmarks. A low DPO indicates that a company pays off its invoices more rapidly, which might lead to lesser cash on hand, potentially affecting its liquidity position. On the other hand, a high DPO signifies that a company takes longer to pay its bills, conserving more cash in the short term but may also hurt supplier relationships and limit access to trade credit. A balanced DPO helps businesses maintain an optimal cash position, ensuring financial stability and long-term sustainability. By carefully analyzing their DPO, organizations can strike the right balance in their payable management and deploy surplus cash towards other growth opportunities while maintaining solid supplier relationships, securing a competitive advantage in the market.


Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) refers to the average number of days it takes for a company to pay its suppliers and vendors. A higher DPO indicates that the company takes longer to pay its vendors. Here are three real-world examples of DPO in the business or finance world: 1. Apple Inc. – As of September 2021, Apple had a DPO of around 80 days. This means that on average, Apple takes about 80 days to pay its suppliers after receiving goods or services. Apple’s suppliers have had to adapt to this, and it allows Apple to hold onto its cash for a longer duration, thereby improving its cash flow position. 2. Tesla Inc. – Tesla, an innovative and rapidly growing electric vehicle manufacturer, had a DPO of nearly 101 days as of December 2020. This means Tesla was taking approximately 101 days to pay its suppliers. This long payment period helps Tesla to maintain sufficient liquidity for its operations. However, this can also strain the relationships with suppliers who may be waiting for extended periods to receive payment. 3. Amazon Inc. – As of December 2020, Amazon had a DPO of around 96 days. This implies that Amazon takes about 96 days on average to pay its suppliers and other business partners. The high DPO allows Amazon to invest its cash back into the business and maintain a strong cash flow, which has helped the company grow tremendously over the years.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Days Payable Outstanding (DPO)?
Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) is a financial metric that calculates the average number of days it takes for a company to pay its invoices and bills to its suppliers, vendors, or other creditors. It is an important measurement of a company’s liquidity and efficiency in managing its accounts payable.
How is Days Payable Outstanding calculated?
The formula for calculating DPO is as follows:Days Payable Outstanding = (Accounts Payable / Cost of Goods Sold) x Number of DaysWhere:Accounts Payable (AP) represents the total outstanding bills and invoices a company has.Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the direct cost of producing or acquiring the goods a company sells.Number of Days is usually considered in a specific timeframe, such as 30, 90, or 365 days.
What does a high DPO indicate?
A higher DPO indicates that the company takes longer to pay its suppliers and creditors, which may suggest that the company is effectively utilizing its available cash and credit terms. However, excessively high DPO may also indicate potential cash flow problems or poor supplier relationships.
What does a low DPO indicate?
A lower DPO means that the company is paying its suppliers and creditors more quickly. This may indicate a strong cash position and good relationships with suppliers, but it could also imply that the company is not maximizing its credit terms or using its cash resources efficiently.
How can DPO be used for financial analysis?
DPO helps in understanding a company’s cash management efficiency and supplier relationships. Analysts and investors can use this metric to compare companies within the same industry to benchmark their performance. Moreover, by tracking DPO over time, one can identify trends and changes in a company’s cash flow management.
Can a company’s DPO vary significantly over time?
Yes, a company’s DPO can change due to various factors, such as seasonal variations, changes in supplier terms, different payment policies, or shifts in cash flow management strategies. Comparing DPO over multiple periods can provide a better understanding of a company’s overall accounts payable management efficiency.

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