Accounts Receivable Explained with easy examples

The lifeblood of a business’s cash flow is its accounts receivable. So if you manage it well then it aids in managing cash flow by letting you know which clients owe you money and how much. In other words, accounts receivable can mean the difference between hypothetical revenue verus actually cash.In this article we will discuss,accounts receivable meaning.

accounts receivable meaning


Explained accounts receivable

Accounts receivable, also known as A/R, is the accounting term for the funds that a company is due from the sales of goods and services to its clients.

Hence it represents the sum of money for which you have sent invoices but have not yet received payment.

When you receive payment for an invoice, you should credit your cash account and debit your accounts receivable for that sum.

The accounts receivable of your company converting to cash is very important.

Profitability is calculated by adding up all of your assets, including accounts receivable, and deducting them from all of your liabilities, which are the sum of your debts to suppliers and vendors. The firm is profitable if the number is positive. You’ll need to decide whether to increase assets or decrease liabilities if the number is negative.

Accounts receivable represent the amount of money you are expecting as a result of unpaid invoices. It is a crucial sign of the financial health of your business.

Accounts payable versus Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable is the sum of money for which you are still waiting on client payments, whereas Accounts Payable is the total amount due to your service providers, which includes all vendors, third-party firms, and supplier invoices.

Small business owners are reminded by accounts payable that their cash balance does not necessarily represent the entire picture. If you have $10,000 in cash but owe suppliers $15,000, you are not making as much money as your cash account would indicate. You’ll run out of money once you pay your unpaid invoices.

Check your accounts payable frequently, and pay your invoices as soon as you can to avoid this issue.

Standard invoicing procedures are excellent examples of accounts receivable because they are the basis for the majority of B2B billing. If you charge your clients on a hourly basis, sending them an invoice every hour, day, or even every week would quickly grow tiresome for both parties. Instead, you’re probably sending out invoices every month and anticipating payment within 60 days. Your accounts receivable include the amount of your invoice, which represents a month’s worth of work.


Standard invoicing procedures are excellent examples of accounts receivable because they are the basis for the majority of B2B billing. If you charge your clients on an hourly basis, sending them an invoice every hour, day, or even every week would quickly grow tiresome for both parties. Instead, you’re probably sending out invoices every month and anticipating payment within 60 days. Your accounts receivable include the amount of your invoice, which represents a month’s worth of work.

5 Tips to manage accounts receivable

The best way to manage accounts receivable is consistently and regularly. Each transaction in retail is immediately paid for. Customers apply for a credit line in other industries, and then they place orders using the credit line. Along with the delivered product, the client receives an invoice with payment terms that are due at a later time.

No matter your system, making sure payment is made is essential. Here are five tips to help your firm keep track of its accounts receivable:

1. Keep in touch with your customers.

Keeping track of transactions and incomplete or insufficient customer contact leads to more nonpayment errors in the first 60 days following delivery.

Did you realize? A major contributing factor in invoices not being paid within the first 60 days of delivery is poor communication between customers and vendors.

2. Establish a reliable internal procedure.

Establish a procedure for handling accounts receivable and follow it religiously. Choose a weekday to create, print, and mail invoices. Printing an outdated accounts receivable report and contacting customers who have passed their payment-term window should be done another day. You might need to divide these responsibilities among several people as your small business expands if you want to keep track of all the accounts.

3. Verify receiving invoices.

A week after sending an invoice, many businesses find success in contacting the client to confirm receipt. Sometimes documents are accidentally deleted from email inboxes or lost in the mail. You can also request for feedback on the service you received by making a brief inquiry about the bill’s receipt, showcasing your excellent customer service abilities.

4. Extend credit with reasonable conditions.

Thanks to modern technological advancements, businesses can get paid before delivering an order or rendering a service. However, that might not always be feasible with service-based businesses and expensive goods. Have the client apply for a credit line in those circumstances. You will be able to assess their capacity to pay and establish a credit limit that feels appropriate. Additionally, it gives both parties the chance to confirm their understanding of the payment terms and what will happen if the account becomes past due.

Did you realize? You can increase your cash flow, keep your clients accountable, and detail the customer’s credit qualifications when you create a credit policy.

5. Keep detailed records.

Accounts receivable records support your bookkeeper’s weekly or monthly financial statement inputs and your accountant’s tax preparation. Keep a record of the order, discussions, and terms from the very beginning of your interactions with clients. In the worst case, that documentation will be crucial if you need to seek payment through a court or collection agency.

The money you receive through your accounts receivable procedure is the fuel that keeps your business running.

A company’s growth can be stunted by inconsistent attention to the task, but a seamless process produces a well-fueled machine that can accomplish all of its objectives.

If you need to use a collection agency to pursue payment, do your research to find a firm that deals with businesses like yours and is knowledgeable about your sector.

6. Use accounting software.

Time-consuming tasks include organizing and tracking all of your accounts receivable and payable, as well as creating and sending invoices, as well as verifying their receipt, and taking action on overdue invoices.

Software used to manage

Accounting software is used by various small businesses because it offers a user-friendly, well-organized interface for logging transactions and monitoring accounting metrics.

What advantages do businesses that use accounts receivable management software frequently acknowledge?

Using an automated account receivable management system is like hiring the ideal employee who always does as you say, never lets anything slip through the cracks, and works around the clock, to put it simply.

Even though this is alluring in and of itself, let’s look at the practical advantages of using account receivable management software.

Companies that use this technology experience some incredible outcomes, such as:


You need to pay your bills. You will inevitably experience dry spells where you owe more than you are receiving if you don’t get paid on time.

You can get a very clear idea of your cash position by concentrating on your accounts receivable.

Which using best practices, reminding customers to pay, identifying invoices earlier in the process, and making it easier for customers to pay. Some applications for managing accounts receivable include statistical cash forecasts based on the past payment behavior of your customers, letting you know how much money you can expect to receive over the course of the following week to a month.


The main idea to manage and improve working capital is to comprehend your cash position and enhance the performance of your accounts receivable. Effective working capital management gives you the knowledge you need to decide on strategic investments like buying capital equipment, hiring new staff, expanding your facility, and other investments to grow your company. Additionally, by streamlining your invoice collection procedure, you will have more cash on hand.


How much time do you give figuring out who to call, when, and why, and how long does it take you to get the information you require to solve problems so that you can get paid? The response is much, much more time than you think. Companies that use automated accounts receivable management systems to get organized and automate tedious tasks can:

  • Drop from 15% to 6% the amount of time spent prioritizing and getting ready for calls.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent resolving disputes from 40% to 13%.
  • Increase the percentage of time they spend asking for money from 20 to 62 per cent.


You should find it simpler to communicate with customers thanks to A/R management software. Typically, you can review account information, create emails, attach invoices, create mail merge documents, and record phone calls all from a single screen. The best part is that each communication is recorded for later review and evaluation. Through improved communication tools built into more sophisticated accounts receivable management systems, you can save time and provide better customer service.


Most clients want to pay you on time, and you’re frequently to blame when they don’t. Either there was an issue with the invoice, and they won’t pay until it’s fixed, or you didn’t send the invoice early enough for them to make an on-time payment. What effect do these foreseeable problems have on customer satisfaction? They matter a lot. Approximately 50% of all invoice issues can be attributed to incomplete or inaccurate purchase order information on your invoices, which is a highly avoidable issue. Also, think about how angry your customers will be if you keep calling them for late payments when it was your fault they didn’t receive the invoice in a timely manner or when it was your fault you kept leaving their PO off the invoice.

Automated accounts receivable management system can automate the delivery of invoices to clients, notify you of invoice issues like missing purchase orders, and provide everything you require in a single, convenient location so you can better serve your clients, wasting less of their time and strengthening your relationship so they will buy more goods and services in the future.


The digital era is here. Are your invoices and statements still being faxed or mailed? Applications for midmarket and enterprise A/R management are created to automate every task that can be completed without the involvement of a human. When you can probably automate those communications for the majority, if not all, of your clients, why pay someone else to print, fold, and stuff envelopes? Furthermore, consider the time lost in this archaic process as well as the savings in paper, toner, envelopes, and postage.


A distributor or manufacturer must pay upfront costs for the inventory and labour needed to complete a sale. When a service provider receives approval for a new project, expensive resources are allocated to deliver the service. The ability to receive payment as soon as possible for the goods or services provided is essential for a business to succeed. Your accounts receivable software takes over after your accounting system has created the sales order and the invoice.

A built-in customer portal and online payment options allow your customers to pay you via credit card or ACH, giving them more options to pay you sooner. Invoices can be automatically sent to customers the same day they are created.

Why you should control your receivables

How much of your cash flow is being held up by unpaid client invoices is revealed by your accounts receivable. Here is how to control it.

  • How much of your cash flow is being held up by unpaid client invoices is revealed by your accounts receivable.
  • Accounts payable denotes money you owe to service providers, whereas accounts receivable denotes money your customers owe you.
  • You can manage your accounts receivable by using accounting software, internal workflows, communication, and documentation.
  • Small business owners who want to master their accounts receivable and manage client invoice payments should read this article.