Payback Period Formula + Calculator

The quicker a company can recoup its initial investment, the less exposure the company has to a potential loss on the endeavor. The next step is to subtract the number from 1 to obtain the percent of the year at which the project is paid back. Finally, we proceed to convert the percentage in months (e.g., 25% would be 3 months, etc.) and add the figure to the last year in order to arrive at the final discounted payback period number. To make the best decision about whether to pursue a project or not, a company’s management needs to decide which metrics to prioritize. Did you know that although simple, the payback period is an essential tool used by finance professionals worldwide?

Next, assuming the project starts with a large cash outflow, or investment to begin the project, the future discounted cash inflows are netted against the initial investment outflow. The discounted payback period process is applied to each additional period’s cash inflow to find the point at which the inflows equal the outflows. At this point, the project’s initial cost has been paid off, with the payback period being reduced to zero.

  1. In Excel, create a cell for the discounted rate and columns for the year, cash flows, the present value of the cash flows, and the cumulative cash flow balance.
  2. To begin, the periodic cash flows of a project must be estimated and shown by each period in a table or spreadsheet.
  3. Conceptually, the payback period is the amount of time between the date of the initial investment (i.e., project cost) and the date when the break-even point has been reached.

A payback period, on the other hand, is the time it takes to recover the cost of an investment. Generally speaking, an investment can either have a short or a long payback period. The shorter a payback period is, the more likely it is that the cost will be repaid or returned quickly, and hence, the more desirable the investment becomes. The opposite stands for investments with longer payback periods – they’re less useful and less likely to be undertaken. The discounted payback period determines the payback period using the time value of money. The discounted payback period of 7.27 years is longer than the 5 years as calculated by the regular payback period because the time value of money is factored in.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Payback Period

According to payback method, machine Y is more desirable than machine X because it has a shorter payback period than machine X. Let’s assume that a company invests cash of $400,000 in more efficient equipment. The cash savings from the new equipment is expected to be $100,000 per year for 10 years. The payback period is expected to be 4 years ($400,000 divided by $100,000 per year). Unlike the regular payback period, the discounted payback period metric considers this depreciation of your money. The value obtained using the discounted payback period calculator will be closer to reality, although undoubtedly more pessimistic.

The appropriate timeframe for an investment will vary depending on the type of project or investment and the expectations of those undertaking it. Investors may use payback in conjunction with return on investment (ROI) to determine whether or not to invest or enter a trade. Corporations and business managers also use the payback period to evaluate the relative favorability of potential projects in conjunction with tools like IRR or NPV. The breakeven point is the price or value that an investment or project must rise to cover the initial costs or outlay. The payback period refers to how long it takes to reach that breakeven. One way corporate financial analysts do this is with the payback period.

Payback Period Formula

It is an important calculation used in capital budgeting to help evaluate capital investments. For example, if a payback period is stated as 2.5 years, it means it will take 2½ years to receive your entire initial investment back. One of the disadvantages of discounted payback period analysis is that it ignores the cash flows after the payback period. Thus, it cannot tell a corporate manager or investor how the investment will perform afterward and how much value it will add in total. For example, a firm may decide to invest in an asset with an initial cost of $1 million. Over the next five years, the firm receives positive cash flows that diminish over time.

Payback Period

She has worked in multiple cities covering breaking news, politics, education, and more. Natalya Yashina is a CPA, DASM with over 12 years of experience in accounting including public accounting, financial reporting, and accounting policies. With this tool, comparing different projects becomes easier since it lists everything clearly on one screen.

CFI is the global institution behind the financial modeling and valuation analyst FMVA® Designation. CFI is on a mission to enable anyone to be a great financial analyst and have a great career path. In order to help you advance your career, CFI has compiled many resources to assist you along the path. First, we’ll calculate the metric under the non-discounted approach using the two assumptions below. Also, it doesn’t factor in the time value of money—a dollar today isn’t worth the same as a dollar years from now—which could lead to undervaluing longer-term gains or savings. Make sure you include every amount that goes out as an investment and comes in as a return.

In this case, the payback method does not provide a strong indication as to which project to choose. The payback period is calculated by dividing the initial capital outlay of an investment by the annual cash flow. hoa chart of accounts The Payback Period Calculator can calculate payback periods, discounted payback periods, average returns, and schedules of investments. By the end of Year 3 the cumulative cash flow is still negative at £-200,000.

Projects having larger cash inflows in the earlier periods are generally ranked higher when appraised with payback period, compared to similar projects having larger cash inflows in the later periods. The payback period with the shortest payback time is generally regarded as the best one. This is an especially good rule to follow when you must choose between one or more projects or investments. The reason for this is because the longer cash is tied up, the less chance there is for you to invest elsewhere, and grow as a business. Considering that the payback period is simple and takes a few seconds to calculate, it can be suitable for projects of small investments.

One observation to make from the example above is that the discounted payback period of the project is reached exactly at the end of a year. In other circumstances, we may see projects where the payback occurs during, rather than at the end of, a given year. Since the project’s life is calculated at 5 years, we can infer that the project returns a positive NPV. Yes, you can use Excel to calculate the payback period by setting up a simple formula or using financial functions. Calculating the payback period in Excel helps businesses see how fast they get their investment back. If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, trying to figure out how quickly an investment will pay for itself, then understanding how to calculate the payback period in Excel is crucial.

Any investments with longer payback periods are generally not as enticing. Forecasted future cash flows are discounted backward in time to determine a present value estimate, which is evaluated to conclude whether an investment is worthwhile. In DCF analysis, the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the discount rate used to compute the present value of future cash flows. WACC is the calculation of a firm’s cost of capital, where each category of capital, such as equity or bonds, is proportionately weighted. For more detailed cash flow analysis, WACC is usually used in place of discount rate because it is a more accurate measurement of the financial opportunity cost of investments. WACC can be used in place of discount rate for either of the calculations.

In Excel, create a cell for the discounted rate and columns for the year, cash flows, the present value of the cash flows, and the cumulative cash flow balance. Input the known values (year, cash flows, and discount rate) in their respective cells. Use Excel’s present value formula to calculate the present value of cash flows. For instance, a $2,000 investment at the start of the first year that returns $1,500 after the first year and $500 at the end of the second year has a two-year payback period. As a rule of thumb, the shorter the payback period, the better for an investment.

The discounted payback period is a modified version of the payback period that accounts for the time value of money. Both metrics are used to calculate the amount of time that it will take for a project to “break even,” or to get the point where the net cash flows generated cover the initial cost of the project. Both the payback period and the discounted payback period can be used to evaluate the profitability and feasibility of a specific project. To calculate the cumulative cash flow balance, add the present value of cash flows to the previous year’s balance. The cash flow balance in year zero is negative as it marks the initial outlay of capital.

If the discounted payback period of a project is longer than its useful life, the company should reject the project. You’ll need your initial investment cost and your expected annual cash flows data ready before starting your calculation in Excel. First, enter the initial cost of $50,000 as a negative value since it’s an expense. It helps quickly sift through potential projects to find ones that return the initial investment swiftly. This method favors cash flows occurring earlier in the project lifecycle, which can be especially useful for organizations aiming to recover costs sooner rather than later. According to payback method, the project that promises a quick recovery of initial investment is considered desirable.

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