plural noun
re·​ceiv·​ables | \ ri-ˈsē-və-bəlz How to pronounce receivables (audio) \

Definition of receivables

: amounts of money receivable

Examples of receivables in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Cost-cutting and outsourcing helped, as did a sale of Talbots’ credit-card receivables. Jon Chesto,, "Changes could be coming to Staples as new CEO arrives," 22 Mar. 2018 Sycamore immediately sold $145 million of the retailer’s credit-card receivables. Miriam Gottfried, WSJ, "How One Investor Made a Fortune Picking Over the Retail Apocalypse," 21 Mar. 2018 Two deals hit the market on Monday, usually a quieter day for issuance in Canada, with AltaGas Ltd. pricing C$450 million of securities in a two-tranche offering and Eagle Credit Card Trust’s C$250 million of notes backed by credit-card receivables. Maciej Onoszko,, "Torrid Sales Put Canadian Bonds on Track for Record Year," 4 Oct. 2017 Credit-card receivables grew by more than 40% on year in midsize banks’ loan books in the first half, accounting for more than 10% of their total loans. Anjani Trivedi, WSJ, "China’s Next Debt Addiction—Credit Cards," 13 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'receivables.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of receivables

1863, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about receivables

Dictionary Entries near receivables








Statistics for receivables

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for receivables

The first known use of receivables was in 1863

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for receivables


plural noun

Financial Definition of receivables

What It Is

The term receivables is short for accounts receivable (A/R), which are amounts bought by customers for a company's goods and services.

How It Works

Company XYZ sells $1 million in widget parts to a widget manufacturer and gives that customer 60 days to pay for those parts. Once Company XYZ receives the order and/or sends the parts, and/or sends the customer an invoice, it will decrease its inventory account by $1 million and increase its receivables by $1 million. When 60 days has passed and Company XYZ is paid, it will increase cash by $1 million and reduce its receivables by $1 million.

Receivables are assets, and as such, they appear on the balance sheet. In particular, receivables are current assets, meaning the amount owed is expected to be received within the next 12 months.

When receivables go down, this is considered a source of cash on the company's cash flow statement, and as such, it increases the company's working capital (defined as current assets minus current liabilities). When receivables go up, this is considered a use of cash on the company's cash flow statement because the company is "stretching out" the time it takes to receive money owed to it and thus is using cash more quickly.

Why It Matters

Receivables are an important factor in a company's working capital. If it's too high, the company may be lax in collecting what's owed to it and may soon struggle to find the cash to pay the bills; if too low, the company may unwisely harm customer relationships or not offer competitive payment terms. In general, receivables levels correspond to changes in sales levels.

Companies can sometimes use their receivables as collateral for borrowing money. The level of receivables also affects several important financial-performance measures, including working capital, days payable, the current ratio, and others.

It is important to note that uncollectible receivables do not qualify as assets (these uncollectible amounts are reclassified to the allowance for doubtful accounts, which is essentially a reduction in receivables); thus, companies usually allow only creditworthy customers to pay days, weeks, or even months after they've received the company's services or goods. Sometimes companies sell their receivables for cents on the dollar to other companies that focus solely on collecting the owed amounts.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of receivables

business : the amounts of money that other people and businesses owe you

Comments on receivables

What made you want to look up receivables? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!