Accounts Payable

How to Forecast Accounts Payable

by Envoice
10 min read
man in a suit presenting a forecast
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In this blog post, we’ll show you how to forecast your Accounts Payable and some tips on financial planning to help you make the most of your time and money.

What are Accounts Payable?

When running a business, it’s essential to understand all of the different financial terms and concepts that are involved. Accounts payable is one such term, and it’s important to know what it is and how it relates to your business.

Accounts Payable (AP) refers to the money a company owes for goods or services it has received. It is recorded as a liability on a company’s balance sheet.

When a company orders supplies, it usually pays for them within 30 days. The payables process begins when a vendor submits a bill to the company. This bill may be for anything from food ordered for a meeting to raw materials used in manufacturing products sold to customers.

The period of time between receiving the supplies and paying for them is called the credit period

When the invoice arrives at the accounts department, it is recorded by the date and amount due on a ledger sheet called an invoice register.

The register helps you keep track of all the invoices received, so you can approve and pay them on time without incurring any penalties on late payments.

Accounts payable employees often work closely with the purchasing department to make sure that orders are placed with vendors who offer favorable payment terms.

The benefits of forecasting accounts payable

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Most business owners understand the importance of forecasting sales and profits, but many overlook the benefits of forecasting money owed. When you know what your expenses will be in advance, you can make more informed decisions about where to allocate your resources and manage your future cash balances more effectively. It would prevent potential disruptions to your business operations.  [1]

By forecasting Accounts payable, you can ensure you have the cash on hand to cover supplier invoices. This can help reduce late charges and penalties because of missed payment deadlines and can also create strong relationships with vendors.

In addition, forecasting can also help you identify potential areas of cost savings.

Overall, forecasting accounts payable can be a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. 

Here is a summary of the benefits: 

  • You’ll have a better understanding of your cash flow and how much money you have available to spend. 
  • You’ll be able to plan for future expenses more accurately. 
  • It can help you improve vendor relationships and negotiate better terms. 
  • Forecasting can help you identify potential financial problems before they become too costly. 
  • It can help you make more informed decisions about your business’s future. 

Ways to forecast accounts payable

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  • Understand your business’s spending patterns.

A company’s payment patterns can be a vital tool for forecasting accounts payable. 

Spending on payroll, inventory, and other fixed costs tends to remain relatively consistent from month to month – So careful analysis of past spending can help you predict future expenses and ensure that you have enough extra cash on hand to cover them.

One way to do this is to track your expenses over time and look for any patterns or trends. 

For example, you might notice that you tend to spend more money on inventory during the summer months. This information can be helpful when budgeting for the upcoming year. Another way to understand your company’s spending patterns is to review your past invoices and bills. This can give you a better idea of where your money is going and help you identify any areas where you may be able to save.

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Finally, it’s also a good idea to talk to your vendors and suppliers about your payment history. They may be able to provide insights into your spending patterns that you hadn’t considered.

  • Look at trends in the industry.

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By analyzing things like technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, and economic conditions, you can get a better understanding of how your accounts payable will be affected.

There are a few different ways to track industry trends.

  • One is to simply keep tabs on the news and developments in your field. Often, major changes will be reported in the trade press before they show up in financial reports.
  • Another option is to use data analytics tools to track changes in your supplier invoices. This can help you identify trends early, so you can take action before they have a major impact on your bottom line.

Whatever method you choose, keeping an eye on industry trends will help you stay ahead of the curve.

  • Use historical data for accounts payable forecast.

Numerous methods exist for using historical data to forecast future cash flows and payments. The most common approach is to simply extrapolate from past trends. However, this method can be inaccurate as it doesn’t account for changes in the underlying business or economic conditions.

A more sophisticated approach is to use statistical modeling to identify key drivers of payment behavior and then forecast payments based on current conditions. This approach can be more accurate, but it requires a significant investment of time and resources.

In many cases, the best approach is a hybrid of these two methods, using extrapolation to identify broad trends and then using statistical modeling to refine the forecasts. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, businesses can develop more accurate forecasting models that can better inform decision-making.

  • Keep track of invoices and payment deadlines.

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There are a few different methods you can use to stay organized and on top of your finances. 

  • Create a spreadsheet with all of your outstanding invoices and their corresponding due dates. This will help you to see at a glance what payments are coming due and plan accordingly.
    • Another method is to set up reminders in your accounting software or on your calendar. This way, you can be sure to receive timely reminders about upcoming liabilities and payments. 
  • Automate the entire process using accounting software

Utilize software to automate the process.

Imagine if you could have a virtual assistant to take care of all the menial tasks in your life. That’s what software is for. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, you can free up your time to focus on more important things.

There are a number of software programs that can help with this process. Some programs, like Microsoft Excel, offer basic features that can be helpful for tracking payments, income statements, and generating reports.

Other accounting software programs, like QuickBooks or Envoice, offer more advanced features that can automate repetitive tasks and provide insights into your company.

With the right accounting software, businesses can streamline their financial processes and save a lot of time and money. By automating tasks such as invoicing, payments, and calculating future revenue, businesses can free up their staff to focus on more important tasks. Whether you’re an accountant or not—anyone who needs to manage their business finances can benefit from the right software.

Stay up-to-date on changes in tax laws and regulations.

Staying updated as to the latest tax laws is important for obvious reasons, but it also helps you take advantage of all the tax deductions available to you.

The first step is to sign up for email alerts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and/or the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

These organizations will send updates whenever there are changes in tax laws or regulations. In addition, it’s a good idea to regularly check the IRS website and the NASBA website for any changes that may have been made since the last email alert was sent. [2]

Finally, be sure to speak with your accountant or tax attorney on a regular basis to ensure that you are keeping up with all the latest changes. By taking these steps, you can be confident that you are staying up to date on the ever-changing tax landscape.

How to Calculate Your Expected Amounts Payable?

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To calculate expected accounts payable, you will need to know:

  1. the average number of days it takes to pay your invoices, and
  2. the total amount of money you currently owe to your vendors and suppliers.

Once you have these balance sheet statements, you can use the following formula:

                              Current Liabilities

——————————————————————————   = Expected Accounts           

      (Total operating expenses / Number of days in period)                 Payable

For example, let’s say that a company has $50,000 in current liabilities and its total operating expenses are $100,000. The company has 30 days left in its fiscal period. Using the formula above, we would calculate the expected account payable as follows:

$50,000 / ($100,000 / 30) = $25,000

Therefore, the company can expect to pay $25,000 in accounts payable during its next fiscal period.

How to Calculate Days Payable Outstanding?

Days payable outstanding (DPO) is an accounts payable turnover ratio that measures the number of days it takes a company to pay its invoices to its trade creditors.

The higher the number, the longer it takes the company to pay its bills and the poorer its cash flow.

DPO is calculated by dividing the accounts payable by the cost of sales and multiplying by the number of days in the period.

For example, if a company had accounts payable of $1,000 at the end of a month and its monthly cost of sales was $10,000, then its DPO would be 10 days [(1,000/10,000) x 30].

While DPO can be a useful tool for assessing a company’s liquidity, it is not without limitations. One potential problem is that it does not take into account the timing of payments.

For example, if all of a company’s invoices are due on the last day of the month, then its DPO would be artificially low. As such, DPO should be used in conjunction with other financial ratios to get a more complete picture of a company’s financial health.

How to Calculate Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)

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Days Sales Outstanding, or DSO, is a metric that measures the average number of days a company takes to collect payment after a sale is made.

To calculate DSO, you need to take two balance sheet line items: Accounts Receivable and Sales. Then, you divide Accounts Receivable by Sales and multiply by the number of days in the period being measured.

For example, if a company had $1 million in sales in January and their Accounts Receivable balance at the end of January was $500,000, their DSO would be: ($500,000 / $1,000,000) x 31 = 15.5 days. This means that, on average, it took the company 15.5 days to collect payment after making a sale in January.

While DSO can be a useful metric, it’s important to remember that several factors can impact the number, such as the type of business and payment terms offered to customers. As a result, DSO should be considered alongside other metrics when assessing a company’s financial health. [3]


As a small business owner, every dollar counts in your quest to keep the doors open and create a successful company. Your business relies on a smooth and steady cash flow—so you can’t afford to miss out on working capital based on inaccurate or outdated forecasts.

If you have any concerns or questions, our team of experts at Envoice are here to help. Schedule a consultation today and one of our advisors will work with you to create a custom solution that meets the unique needs of your business.



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