Cash Conversion Cycle

The cash conversion cycle (CCC) is the time it takes for a business to convert its investments in inventory and other resources into cash flows from sales. It's measured in days and aims to show how long each net input dollar spends in the manufacturing and sales cycle before it's turned into cash received. The CCC is also known as the net operating cycle or the cash cycle.

This measurement considers the time needed by the business to sell its inventory, collect receivables, and pay debts.

Cash Conversion Cycle Formula

The formula for calculating the cash conversion cycle is:

Cash Conversion Cycle = DIO + DSO – DPO


  1. DIO stands for Days Inventory Outstanding
  2. DSO stands for Days Sales Outstanding
  3. DPO stands for Days Payable Outstanding

Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO)

Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO) measures how long it typically takes a business to convert its inventory into sales. DIO essentially measures how long an organization keeps its inventory on hand before selling it.

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) metric measures the typical time it takes a business to collect its receivables. DSO estimates the typical number of days it takes a business to collect payment after a sale.

Days Payable Outstanding (DPO)

Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) measures how long it usually takes a business to settle its debts. Therefore, DPO evaluates the typical time it takes for a business to pay its trade creditors, or suppliers, for invoices.

Interpreting the Cash Conversion Cycle

The CCC formula measures the effectiveness with which a business manages its working capital. The quicker the cash conversion cycle, the better the corporation is at selling inventories and recovering cash from these sales while paying suppliers, as with other cash flow calculations.

The cash conversion cycle needs to be trended and compared to businesses in the same sector. One way to determine if a company's working capital management is deteriorating or improving is to compare its conversion cycle to cycles from prior years.

Additionally, comparing a company's cycle to that of its rivals might assist in establishing whether the company's cash conversion cycle is "normal" in comparison to rivals in the industry.

Special Considerations

A company's CCC value will be lower if it has hit all the right notes and is effectively meeting the needs of the market and its clients.

As a standalone quantity for a specific time period, CCC might not offer any useful implications. It is used by analysts to track a firm through time and assess how it stacks up against rivals. Monitoring a company's CCC across several quarters will demonstrate whether its operational effectiveness is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same.

Key Takeaways

  • The cash conversion cycle (CCC) is a metric that measures how long it takes a business to turn its investments in inventory and other resources into cash flows from sales, expressed in days.
  • This indicator considers how long it takes the company to sell its goods, how long it takes to collect receivables, and how long it has until it can pay its obligations without being penalized.
  • Depending on the type of corporate operations, CCC will vary per industry sector.
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