The other project would have a payback period of 4.25 years but would generate higher returns on investment than the first project. However, based solely on the payback period, the firm would select the first project over this alternative. The implications of this are that firms may choose investments with shorter payback periods at the expense of profitability. If opening the new stores amounts to an initial investment of $400,000 and the expected cash flows from the stores would be $200,000 each year, then the period would be 2 years. 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.

Payback period is a financial or capital budgeting method that calculates the number of days required for an investment to produce cash flows equal to the original investment cost. In other words, it’s the amount of time it takes an investment to earn enough money to pay for itself or breakeven. This time-based 401 angel number measurement is particularly important to management for analyzing risk. The payback period is the amount of time (usually measured in years) it takes to recover an initial investment outlay, as measured in after-tax cash flows. 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.

However, if Cathy purchases a more efficient machine, she’ll be able to produce 10,000 scarfs each year. Using the new learn ms excel tutorial machine is expected to produce an additional $150,000 in cash flow each year that it’s in use. This means the amount of time it would take to recoup your initial investment would be more than six years.

## Is the Payback Period the Same Thing As the Breakeven Point?

Since some business projects don’t last an entire year and others are ongoing, you can supplement this equation for any income period. For example, you could use monthly, semi annual, or even two-year cash inflow periods. As you can see, using this payback period calculator you a percentage as an answer. Multiply this percentage by 365 and you will arrive at the number of days it will take for the project or investment to earn enough cash to pay for itself. 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.

Similar to a break-even analysis, the payback period is an important metric, particularly for small business owners who may not have the cash flow available to tie funds up for several years. Using the payback method before purchasing an expensive asset gives business owners the information they need to make the right decision for their business. Capital equipment is purchased to increase cash flow by saving money or earning money from the asset purchased. For example, let’s say you’re currently leasing space in a 25-year-old building for $10,000 a month, but you can purchase a newer building for $400,000, with payments of $4,000 a month. 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.

## Analysis

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 means a less lucrative investment as well. A shorter period means they can get their cash back sooner and invest it into something else.

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.

Getting repaid or recovering the initial cost of a project or investment should be achieved as quickly as it allows. However, not all projects and investments have the same time horizon, so the shortest possible payback period needs to be nested within the larger context of that time horizon. 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.

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. As you can see in the example below, a DCF model is used to graph the payback period (middle graph below). The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.

## Payback Period Formula

Projecting a break-even time in years means little if the after-tax cash flow estimates don’t materialize. 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. The answer is found by dividing $200,000 by $100,000, which is two years.

- The payback period is expected to be 4 years ($400,000 divided by $100,000 per year).
- We’ll explain what the payback period is and provide you with the formula for calculating it.
- Management uses the payback period calculation to decide what investments or projects to pursue.
- The longer it takes for an investment to earn cash inflows, the more likely it is that the investment will not breakeven or make a profit.
- 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.

Over the next five years, the firm receives positive cash flows that diminish over time. As seen from the graph below, the initial investment is fully offset by positive cash flows somewhere between periods 2 and 3. People and corporations mainly invest their money to get paid back, which is why the payback period is so important. In essence, the shorter the payback an investment has, the more attractive it becomes. Determining the payback period is useful for anyone and can be done by dividing the initial investment by the average cash flows. The simple payback period formula is calculated by dividing the cost of the project or investment by its annual cash inflows.

Use Excel’s present value formula to calculate the present value of cash flows. 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 calculated by adding the year to the absolute value of the period’s cumulative cash flow balance and dividing it by the following year’s present value of cash flows.

## Everything You Need To Master Financial Modeling

Maybe you’d like to purchase a new building, but you’re unsure if the savings will be worth the investment. Calculating the payback period for the potential investment is essential. It’s important to note that not all investments will create the same amount of increased cash flow each year.