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

how to work out payback period

It is expressed as a percentage and is a function of the initial investment capital and the final value, which includes dividends and interest. It also has the function of helping with managing investment risk—the shorter the time it takes to recover the initial investment, the less risky the investment. Even cash flows produce the same amount of cash annually over a period of time, for example, $25,000 annually for 5 years. On the other hand, uneven cash flows generate various annual cash streams over a period of time. 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.

Payback Period Vs. Other Capital Budgeting Metrics

That’s why business owners and managers need to use capital budgeting techniques to determine which projects will deliver the best returns, and yield the most profitable outcome. A higher payback period means it will take longer for a company to cover its initial investment. All else being equal, it’s usually better for a company to have a lower payback period as this typically represents a less risky investment. The quicker a company can recoup its initial investment, the less exposure the company has to a potential loss on the endeavor. Although calculating the payback period is useful in financial and capital budgeting, this metric has applications in other industries.

Using the Payback Method

Also, it is a simple measure of risk, as it shows how quickly money can be returned from an investment. However, there are additional considerations that should be taken into account when performing the capital budgeting process. In its simplest form, the formula to calculate the payback period involves dividing the cost of the initial investment by the annual cash flow. 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.

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As a result, payback period is best used in conjunction with other metrics. In addition, the potential returns and estimated payback time of alternative projects the company could pursue instead can also be an influential determinant in the decision (i.e. opportunity costs). Firstly, it fails to consider the time value of money, as cash flow obtained in the initial years of a project is valued more highly than cash flow received later in the project’s process.

Payback Period Calculator

  1. A payback period, on the other hand, is the time it takes to recover the cost of an investment.
  2. For example, you could use monthly, semi annual, or even two-year cash inflow periods.
  3. For example, the payback period on a home improvement project can be decades while the payback period on a construction project may be five years or less.
  4. The rate of return can be positive or negative, thus, resulting in a gain or a loss for a specific investment.
  5. The other project would have a payback period of 4.25 years but would generate higher returns on investment than the first project.

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Assume Company A invests $1 million in a project that is expected to save the company $250,000 each year. If we divide $1 million by $250,000, we arrive at a payback period of four years for this investment. However, the major benefit of MIRR is that it provides a more realistic idea of the return on investment. Conversely, if the IRR falls below the required rate of return new rules for reporting tax basis partner capital accounts that the company or the investor seeks, then other more economically viable alternatives should be considered. The TVM provides more sophisticated and detailed investment information than the simple time frame of the return on investment which is disregarded by this tool. It’s important to remember that the present value of cash flows is worth more than their future value.

This can be done using the present value function and a table in a spreadsheet program. The reinvestment rate refers to the company’s weighted average cost of capital or WACC. The WACC is the function of the weighted average of the cost of equity and the cost of debt. Depending on the nature of the investment and the time horizon, it may take a while for the project to return the invested capital, if at all. Despite its simplicity, the payback period is a practical and handy accounting metric that offers a number of advantages worth considering. Conversely, a good investment is one that takes less time to generate returns or is of a relatively short length.

how to work out payback period

A discounted payback period gives the number of years it takes to break even from undertaking the initial expenditure, by discounting future cash flows and recognizing the time value of money. The metric is used to evaluate the feasibility and profitability of a given project. The shorter a discounted payback period is means the sooner a project or investment will generate cash flows to cover the initial cost.

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