Advantages of the payback period

Thus, the payback period can be used to compare the relative risk of projects with varying payback periods. The payback method is still commonly utilized by organizations despite its disadvantages. The technique performs well when assessing moderate-sized projects and those with generally steady cash flows. Additionally, small enterprises, for whom liquidity is more essential than profits, frequently use it. In the business world, having access to liquid funds is crucial for carrying out daily tasks and investing in the organization’s future.

  • It is fine for businesses to want to see how quickly they can break even on their investment, but this is not always the case.
  • You are able to see which investments are going to pay you back the fastest, or most efficiently, and use this information to invest in the right things.
  • One of the major drawbacks of payback period is that it ignores the time value of money.
  • Unlike other methods of capital budgeting, the payback period ignores the time value of money (TVM).

Nothing is going to hurt small or medium businesses more than a massive loss on an investment. Unless you are at the top of your industry, there are always going to be tight budgets and financial constraints, and any big losses could mean major issues. In the world of business, it is utterly essential that you have the liquid capital to be able to run day-to-day operations and to make investments in the future of the company.

Advantages of Payback Period

Before making any judgments, this statistic is helpful, especially when a quick analysis of a potential investment initiative is required. You could accept a considerably dreaded nsf fees and how to get rid of them long payback period and forget about inflation and money losing its value. James Woodruff has been a management consultant to more than 1,000 small businesses.

The NPV is the difference between the present value of cash coming in and the current value of cash going out over a period of time. Most of what happens in corporate finance involves capital budgeting — especially when it comes to the values of investments. Most corporations will use payback period analysis in order to determine whether they should undertake a particular investment. But there are drawbacks to using the payback period in capital budgeting. Not every business is going to want to invest in the short-term to get their money back as quickly as they can.

  • One way corporate financial analysts do this is with the payback period.
  • For instance, two projects may have the same payback period, but one generates more cash flow in the early years and the other generates more profitability in the later years.
  • He graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and received an MBA from Columbia University.

However, there are too many aspects to consider for it to be the preferred approach for most businesses. The Hasty Rabbit Corporation is considering a $150,000 expansion to the production line that makes their top-selling sneaker – the Blazing Hare. The company receives a gross profit of $40 for each pair of sneakers, and the expansion will increase output by 1,250 pairs per year. The sales manager has assured upper management that Blazing Hare sneakers are in high demand, and he will be able to sell all of the increased production.

How Do I Calculate a Discounted Payback Period in Excel?

Once you have calculated the payback period of your project or investment, you need to compare it with your desired or required payback period. Your desired or required payback period depends on your risk tolerance, your opportunity cost of capital, and your industry standards. If the payback period of your project or investment is shorter than your desired or required payback period, you can accept it. If the payback period of your project or investment is longer than your desired or required payback period, you can reject it. You can also rank your projects or investments based on their payback periods and select the ones with the shortest payback periods.

If a payback period is larger than targeted period, the project would be rejected. This is considered the first screening method, but organizations may use any other techniques to appraise the project. The organization considers the net cash inflows to appraise to appraise the project, Net Cash inflows means Profit after tax plus Depreciation. The most significant advantage of the payback method is its simplicity. It’s an easy way to compare several projects and then to take the project that has the shortest payback time.

Net Present Value Method Vs. Payback Period Method

One way corporate financial analysts do this is with the payback period. This analysis method is particularly helpful for smaller firms that need the liquidity provided by a capital investment with a short payback period. The sooner money used for capital investments is replaced, the sooner it can be applied to other 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. One of the main advantages of payback period is that it is easy to calculate and understand. You do not need any sophisticated formulas or assumptions to estimate the payback period.


It may be as easy as dividing the initial investment by the monthly return on the investment. Although it won’t consider all the variables, it is a fairly simple approach to do a basic analysis. Because different projects come with different cash flow schedules, making major decisions based on the payback period approach is quite hard. But there are a few important disadvantages that disqualify the payback period from being a primary factor in making investment decisions. First, it ignores the time value of money, which is a critical component of capital budgeting.

Is a Higher Payback Period Better Than a Lower Payback Period?

Since this analysis favors projects that return money quickly, they tend to result in investments with a higher degree of short-term liquidity. This is a useful concept during times when long-term returns on investment are uncertain. Numerous investment options and various initiatives may exist, depending on the business being managed. Choosing which ideas to concentrate on would be challenging if you were a manager with 20 distinct proposals to review and evaluate.

Key Issues in Making Investment Decisions

By favoring projects that pay back sooner, you can reinvest the cash flows in other profitable opportunities and increase the value of the firm. The payback period is a simple and popular method of evaluating the profitability of an investment project. It measures how long it takes for the initial cash outlay to be recovered by the cash inflows generated by the project.

Projecting a break-even time in years means little if the after-tax cash flow estimates don’t materialize. There are two steps involved in calculating the discounted payback period. First, we must discount (i.e., bring to the present value) the net cash flows that will occur during each year of the project. 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 payback period method ignores everything after the initial investment is recouped by the business. 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. Therefore, the cumulative cash flow balance in year 1 equals the negative balance from year 0 plus the present value of cash flows from year 1. The discounted payback period is the number of years it takes to pay back the initial investment after discounting cash flows.

For example, a compact fluorescent light bulb may be described as having a payback period of a certain number of years or operating hours, assuming certain costs. Here, the return to the investment consists of reduced operating costs. Sam’s Sporting Goods is expecting its cash inflow to increase by $16,000 over the first four years of using the embroidery machine. In other words, it takes four years to accumulate $16,000 in cash inflow from the embroidery machine and recover the cost of the machine. Others like to use it as an additional point of reference in a capital budgeting decision framework.