# Calculate the Payback Period With This Formula

As the equation above shows, the payback period calculation is a simple one. It does not account for the time value of money, the effects of inflation, or the complexity of investments that may have unequal cash flow over time. Most capital budgeting formulas, such as net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and discounted cash flow, consider the TVM.

- Project managers and business owners use the payback period to make investment decisions.
- Let’s assume that a company invests cash of $400,000 in more efficient equipment.
- For example, a large increase in cash flows several years in the future could result in an inaccurate payback period if using the averaging method.
- Cumulative net cash flow is the sum of inflows to date, minus the initial outflow.
- Every year, your money will depreciate by a certain percentage, called the discount rate.
- After the payback period is over, your project has recovered its initial capital investment and starts making profits.

You will most likely not actually have to calculate the payback period for any question, but it is still a valuable resource to have in your project management toolkit. Obviously, the longer it takes an investment to recoup its original cost, the more risky the investment. In most cases, a longer payback period also https://simple-accounting.org/ means a less lucrative investment as well. A shorter period means they can get their cash back sooner and invest it into something else. Thus, maximizing the number of investments using the same amount of cash. A longer period leaves cash tied up in investments without the ability to reinvest funds elsewhere.

As you can see there is a heavy focus on financial modeling, finance, Excel, business valuation, budgeting/forecasting, PowerPoint presentations, accounting and business strategy. The Payback Period shows how long it takes for a business to recoup an investment. This type of analysis allows firms to compare alternative investment opportunities and decide on a project that returns its investment in the shortest time if that criteria is important to them. The table is structured the same as the previous example, however, the cash flows are discounted to account for the time value of money.

## Payback Period Formula PMP

Referring to our example, cash flows continue beyond period 3, but they are not relevant in accordance with the decision rule in the payback method. Payback period is the amount of time it takes to break even on an investment. 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.

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.

## Everything to Run Your Business

In capital budgeting, the payback period is defined as the amount of time necessary for a company to recoup the cost of an initial investment using the cash flows generated by an investment. Assume that Company A has a project requiring an initial cash outlay of $3,000. The project is expected to return $1,000 each period for the next five periods, and the appropriate discount rate is 4%. The discounted payback period calculation begins with the -$3,000 cash outlay in the starting period. The shorter a discounted payback period is means the sooner a project or investment will generate cash flows to cover the initial cost.

For example, an investor may determine the net present value (NPV) of investing in something by discounting the cash flows they expect to receive in the future using an appropriate discount rate. It’s similar to determining how much money the investor currently needs to invest at this same rate in order to get the same cash flows at the same time in the future. Discount rate is useful because it can take future expected payments from different periods and discount everything to a single point in time for comparison purposes. The Payback Period measures the amount of time required to recoup the cost of an initial investment via the cash flows generated by the investment. Project Beta shows a faster recovery of the initial investment, indicating a shorter payback period compared to Project Alpha. Accountants must consider this metric along with others such as IRR and NPV to ensure a comprehensive financial analysis.

You’ll need your initial investment cost and your expected annual cash flows data ready before starting your calculation in Excel. Comparing investment options with payback period analysis offers a straightforward perspective on potential returns. Investment professionals often use the payback period to gauge the risk and liquidity of various projects or assets by determining how quickly they can recoup their initial outlay.

Based on the project’s risk profile and the returns on comparable investments, the discount rate – i.e., the required rate of return – is assumed to be 10%. When deciding whether to invest in a project or when comparing projects having different returns, a decision based on payback period is relatively complex. The decision whether to accept or reject a project based on its payback period depends upon the risk appetite of the management. 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. One of the essential duties of a project manager is to determine whether a project is worth investing in and ensure its success from beginning to end. For example, one helpful metric of project value is the payback period; that is, how long will it take to recover your initial investment in the project?

## Payback Period Explained, With the Formula and How to Calculate It

As a rule of thumb, the shorter the payback period, the better for an investment. Any investments with longer payback periods are generally not as enticing. The discounted payback period is the number of years it takes to pay back the initial investment after discounting cash flows. 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.

## How to calculate the payback period

After all, your $100,000 will not be worth the same after ten years; in fact, it will be worth a lot less. Every year, your money will depreciate by a certain percentage, called the discount rate. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. The first column (Cash Flows) tracks the cash flows of each year – for instance, Year 0 reflects the $10mm outlay whereas the others account for the $4mm inflow of cash flows.

So, if an investment of $200 has an annual return of $100, the ROI will be 50%, whereas the payback period will be 2 years ($200/$100). One of the most important capital budgeting techniques businesses can practice is known as the payback period method or payback analysis. Note that in both cases, the calculation is based on cash flows, not accounting net income (which is subject to non-cash adjustments). Average cash flows represent the money going into and out of the investment. Inflows are any items that go into the investment, such as deposits, dividends, or earnings.

Cash outflows include any fees or charges that are subtracted from the balance. For example, if solar panels cost $5,000 to install and the savings are $100 each month, it would take 4.2 years to reach the payback period. In most cases, this is a pretty good payback period as experts say it can take as much as years for residential homeowners in the United States to break even on their investment. The term payback period refers to the amount of time it takes to recover the cost of an investment. Simply put, it is the length of time an investment reaches a breakeven point. It doesn’t just show when money comes back; it also hints at risk levels.

## Payback Period (Payback Method)

Also, the payback calculation does not address a project’s total profitability over its entire life, nor are the cash flows discounted for the time value of money. A payback period refers to the time it takes to earn back the cost of an investment. More specifically, it’s the length of time it takes a project to reach a break-even point. The breakeven point is the level at which the costs of production equal the revenue for a product or service.

Anyone in the business world should be familiar with this universal business concept. You are unlikely to be required to answer more than one or two questions on payback periods. If an adverse event occurs before the payback period is complete, you will not break even on your investment. If it occurs afterward, you will have promotional giveaways for not recovered the initial investment and potentially made some profits. Management uses the cash payback period equation to see how quickly they will get the company’s money back from an investment—the quicker the better. In Jim’s example, he has the option of purchasing equipment that will be paid back 40 weeks or 100 weeks.