What Is Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC)?

The cash conversion cycle (CCC) is a formula in management accounting that measures how efficiently a company's managers are managing its working capital. The CCC measures the length of time between a company's purchase of inventory and the receipts of cash from its accounts receivable. The CCC is used by management to see how long a company's cash remains tied up in its operations.

CCC = DIO + DSO DPO where: CCC = Cash conversion cycle DIO = Days inventory outstanding, the average number of days the company holds its inventory before selling it DSO = Days sales outstanding, an estimation of the number of days it will take to collect outstanding accounts receivable based on average number of days of sales DPO = Days payable outstanding, the ratio indicating an average number of days the company takes to pay its bills \begin{aligned}&\text{CCC} = \text{DIO} + \text{DSO} - \text{DPO} \\&\textbf{where:} \\&\text{CCC} = \text{Cash conversion cycle} \\&\text{DIO} = \text{Days inventory outstanding, the average number} \\&\text{of days the company holds its inventory before selling it} \\&\text{DSO} = \text{Days sales outstanding, an estimation of} \\&\text{the number of days it will take to collect} \\&\text{outstanding accounts} \\&\text{receivable based on average number of days of sales} \\&\text{DPO} = \text{Days payable outstanding, the ratio indicating} \\&\text{an average number of days the company takes to pay}\\&\text{its bills} \\\end{aligned} CCC=DIO+DSODPOwhere:CCC=Cash conversion cycleDIO=Days inventory outstanding, the average numberof days the company holds its inventory before selling itDSO=Days sales outstanding, an estimation ofthe number of days it will take to collectoutstanding accountsreceivable based on average number of days of salesDPO=Days payable outstanding, the ratio indicatingan average number of days the company takes to payits bills

How the Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC) Works

When a company – or its management – take an extended period of time to collect outstanding accounts receivable, has too much inventory on hand or pays its expenses too quickly, it lengthens the CCC. A longer CCC means it takes a longer time to generate cash, which can mean insolvency for small companies.

When a company collects outstanding payments quickly, correctly forecasts inventory needs or pays its bills slowly, it shortens the CCC. A shorter CCC means the company is healthier. Additional money can then be used to make additional purchases or pay down outstanding debt.

When a manager has to pay its suppliers quickly, it's known as a pull on liquidity, which is bad for the company. When a manager cannot collect payments quickly enough, it's known as a drag on liquidity, which is also bad for the company.