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payback period formula

For example, cash investments may be required at several stages, such as cash outlays for periodic upgrades. Also, cash outflows may change significantly over time, varying with customer demand and the amount of competition. If an asset’s useful life expires immediately after it pays back the initial investment, then there is no opportunity to generate additional cash flows.

payback period formula

Let us see an example of how to calculate the payback period when cash flows are uniform over using the full life of the asset. It can get a bit tricky when annual net cash flow is expected to vary from year to year. If that’s the case, you’ll have to calculate each year’s cash flow totals to determine the payback period. One issue is that the payback period formula does not look at the value of all returns.

Discounted Payback Method Dpb

Appointment Scheduling 10to8 10to8 is a cloud-based appointment scheduling software that simplifies and automates the process of scheduling, managing, and following up with appointments. Gain the confidence you need to move up the ladder in a high powered corporate finance career path. Adjusted Present Value of a project is calculated as its net present value plus the present value of debt financing side effects. As you can see in the example below, a DCF model is used to graph the payback period . Payback period is commonly referred by the companies which are suffering from a huge debt crisis and want profitability from pilot projects.

payback period formula

The need to solve for n in the present value of annuity formula will be further explained in the following section. Return on investment is a financial ratio used to calculate the benefit an investor will receive in relation to their investment cost. It is most commonly measured as net income divided by the original capital cost of the investment. Since IRR does not take risk into account, it should be looked at in conjunction with the payback period to determine which project is most attractive. The decision rule using the payback period is to minimize the time taken for the return of investment. 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.

5 The Payback Method

The IRR for the first investment is 4 percent, and the IRR for the second investment is 18 percent. Managers who are concerned about cash flow want to know how long it will take to recover the initial investment. Managers may also require a payback period equal to or less than some specified time period. For example, Julie Jackson, the owner of Jackson’s Quality Copies, may require a payback period of no more than five years, regardless of the NPV or IRR.

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There are several types of payback period which are used during the calculation of break-even in business. The net present value of the NPV method is one of the common processes of calculating the payback period, which calculates the future earnings at the present value. The discounted payback period is a capital budgeting procedure which is frequently used to calculate the profitability of a project. The net present value aspect of a discounted payback period does not exist in a payback period in which the gross inflow of future cash flow is not discounted.

Payback Period Pbp

So the payback period for this investment is going to be 3 plus 120 divided by 220, which is going to be 3.55 years. And we can also calculate the payback period from the beginning of the production, as you can see here. Cumulative cash flow at year 2 is the summation of cash flow at year 2 and the cumulative cash flow at year 1, and so on. So as we can see here, the sign of cumulative cash flow changes between year 3 and year 4. So the payback period is going to be 3 plus something– some fraction. Calculate the discounted payback for the cash flow in example 9-1 considering a minimum rate of return of 15%.

Investing in adhesives: Why ROI is more than just the payback period – Design Products & Applications

Investing in adhesives: Why ROI is more than just the payback period.

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The modified payback is calculated as the moment in which the cumulative positive cash flow exceeds the total cash outflow. The cumulative positive cash flows are determined for each period.

But two different projects can have the same payback period, while the first one has larger positive cash flows after the payback period. 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. As seen from the graph below, the initial investment is fully offset by positive cash flows somewhere between periods 2 and 3.

Advantages Of The Payback Method

It is determined by counting the number of years it takes to recover the funds invested. For example, if it takes five years to recover the cost of an investment, the payback period is five years. He payback period instructions in the previous section are easy to understand because they describe in simple verbal terms the amounts to add or divide.

payback period formula

This break-even point is the unit volume that balances total costs with total gains. For the analyst, break even in «volume» is the quantity Q for which cash outflows equal cash inflows, exactly. At the break-even quantity, therefore, net cash flow equals zero. So as you can see here, the sign of the cumulative cash flow changes from negative to positive between year 3 to year 4. We have to calculate the 120 divided by the difference between these two numbers, which is 220. The investor is recovering this capital cost somewhere between year 3 and year 4.

Discounted Payback Period Method

No because the first investment generates far more cash in year 1 than the second investment. In fact, it would be preferable to calculate the IRR to compare these two investments. The IRR for the first investment is 6 percent, and the IRR for the second investment is 5 percent. Payback focuses on cash flows and looks at the cumulative cash flow of the investment up to the point at which the original investment has been recouped from the investment cash flows.

Is payback the same as break-even?

Payback period is how long does it take to recover the initial investment. Breakeven is the revenue (or # of units sold) that will result in no net income or net loss.

Since the project’s life is calculated at 5 years, we can infer that the project returns a positive NPV. Thus, the project will likely add value to the business if pursued. Net Present Value is the value of all future cash flows over the entire life of an investment discounted to the present.


Although primarily a financial term, the concept of a payback period is occasionally extended to other uses, such as energy payback period . As you can see, discounting the payback period can have enormous impacts on profitability. Understanding and accounting for the time value of money is an important aspect of strategic thinking. Time is a commodity with cost from a financial point of view. For example, a project that costs $100,000 and pays back within 6 years is not as valuable as a project that costs $100,000 which pays back in 5years.

One drawback to the payback period calculation is that it ignores the time value of money (i.e., the opportunity cost of receiving cash earlier causes it to be worth more). This is where the discounted payback period method comes in. Most capital budgeting formulas, such as net present value , internal rate of return , and discounted cash flow, consider the TVM. So if you pay an investor tomorrow, it must include an opportunity cost. The TVM is a concept that assigns a value to this opportunity cost. A second flaw is the lack of consideration of cash flows beyond the payback period. If the capital project lasts longer than the payback period, the cash flows the project generates after the initial investment is recovered are not considered at all in the payback period calculation.

Payback Period And Break

To calculate the fraction, we have to divide 59.83 by the difference between the cumulative discounted cash flow of year 4 and year 5. This difference equals this one, so I can either use this number or I can calculate the difference. Again, because this number has a negative sign, please make sure that you include a negative sign for this number.

  • Moreover, neither time value of money nor opportunity costs are taken into account in the concept.
  • In the case of industries where there is a high obsolescence risk like the software industry or mobile phone industry, short payback periods often become determining a factor for investments.
  • Discounted payback period will usually be greater than regular payback period.
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  • In this case, the analyst must estimate the payback period using interpolation, as the examples and here and in the next section illustrate.

So in the business environment, a lower payback period indicates higher profitability from the particular project. However, the payback period ignores the time value of money. That time value of money deals with the idea of the basic depreciation of money due to the passing of time. The present value of a particular amount of money is higher than its future value. In other words, it has been seen that the value of money decreases what time.

Author: Roman Kepczyk