Payback Period Learn How to Use & Calculate the Payback Period

This is because of its budding earning potential (due to interest that can be earned the quicker it is received). 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. He’ll have no sooner finished paying off the machine, then he will have to buy another one.

The payback period method is particularly helpful to a company that is small and doesn’t have a large amount of investments in play. Looking at the example investment project in the diagram above, the key columns to examine are the annual “cash flow” and “cumulative cash flow” columns. The payback period is the amount of time it would take for an investor to recover a project’s initial cost. 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 term is also widely used in other types of investment areas, often with respect to energy efficiency technologies, maintenance, upgrades, or other changes.

For example, if it takes five years to recover the cost of an investment, the payback period is five years. Since the capital projects involve investment decisions in long term assets, sound capital budgeting decisions become all the more important. By calculating how fast a business can get its money back on a project or investment, it can compare that number to other projects to see which one involves less risk. The longer an asset takes to pay back its investment, the higher the risk a company is assuming. The capital project could involve buying a new plant or building or buying a new or replacement piece of equipment.

Introduction to Investment Appraisal (Revision Presentation)

Using the payback period to assess risk is a good starting point, but many investors prefer capital budgeting formulas like net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR). This is because they factor in the time value of money, working opportunity cost into the formula for a more detailed and accurate assessment. Another option is to use the discounted payback period formula instead, which adds time value of money into the equation. One of the disadvantages of this type of analysis is that although it shows the length of time it takes for a return on investment, it doesn’t show the specific profitability. This can be a problem for investors choosing between two projects on the basis of the payback period alone. One project might be paid back faster, but – in the long run – that doesn’t necessarily make it more profitable than the second.

  • The method is also beneficial if you want to measure the cash liquidity of a project, and need to know how quickly you can get your hands on your cash.
  • It is easy to calculate and is often referred to as the “back of the envelope” calculation.
  • 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.

Analysts consider project cash flows, initial investment, and other factors to calculate a capital project’s payback period. 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 measurement is particularly important to management for analyzing risk. The payback method should not be used as the sole criterion for approval of a capital investment. In short, a variety of considerations should be discussed when purchasing an asset, and especially when the investment is a substantial one.

Assessing Risk

The capital budgeting process involves identifying and evaluating capital projects, that is, the projects in which a business entity would receive cash flows over a period of more than one year. The shortest payback period is generally considered to be the most acceptable. This is a particularly good rule to follow when a company is deciding between one or more projects or investments.

Step 1. Non-Discounted Payback Period Calculation Example

The PBP of a certain safety investment is a possible determinant of whether to proceed with the safety project, because longer PBPs are typically not desirable for some companies. It should be noted that PBP ignores any benefits that occur after the determined time period and does not measure profitability. Moreover, neither time value of money nor opportunity costs are taken into account in the concept.

A Refresher on Payback Method

In Jim’s example, he has the option of purchasing equipment that will be paid back 40 weeks or 100 weeks. It’s obvious that he should choose the 40-week investment because after he earns his money back from the buffer, he can reinvest it in the sand blaster. There are two methods to calculate the payback period, and this depends on whether your expected cash inflows are even (constant) or uneven (changing every year). However, payback is a relatively simple technique for managers to use and for this reason it remains popular.

The breakeven point is the level at which the costs of production equal the revenue for a product or service. The breakeven point is the price or value that an investment or project must rise to cover the initial costs or outlay. The payback period refers to how long it takes to reach that breakeven.

Terms Similar to the Payback Method

It is the time it takes to breakeven in an economic or financial sense [32]. The payback period method of evaluating investments has a number of flaws and is inferior to other methods. A major disadvantage is that after the payback period, all the cash flows are completely ignored.

The total cash flows over the five-year period are projected to be $2,000,000, which is an average of $400,000 per year. When divided into the $1,500,000 original investment, this results in a payback period of 3.75 years. However, the briefest perusal of the projected cash flows reveals that the flows are heavily weighted toward the far end of the time period, so the results of this calculation cannot be correct. One of the most important capital budgeting techniques businesses can practice is known as the payback period method or payback analysis. Financial analysts will perform financial modeling and IRR analysis to compare the attractiveness of different projects. The payback period disregards the time value of money and is determined by counting the number of years it takes to recover the funds invested.

What does payback period mean for my business?

People and corporations mainly invest their money to get paid back, which is why the payback period is so important. In essence, the shorter 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.

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. The payback period is the time it takes to recover the money invested in a project or investment.