payback period calculator

It is also possible to create a more detailed version of the subtraction method, using discounted cash flows. It has the most realistic outcome, but requires more effort to complete. Discounted payback period will usually be greater than regular payback period.

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. Payback period intuitively measures how long something takes to “pay for itself.” All else being equal, shorter payback periods are preferable to longer payback periods. Payback period is popular due to its ease of use despite the recognized limitations described below. The time value of money is an important consideration for a business. The payback period method is particularly helpful to a company that is small and doesn’t have a large amount of investments in play. For example, if you have three possible investments, one will pay back your initial investment in 5 years, while the other two take 15 and 25 years, respectively.

  • The equation does not calculate cash flows in the years past the point where the machine is expected to be paid off.
  • Payback period is the time required for positive project cash flow to recover negative project cash flow from the acquisition and/or development years.
  • Promoting technical support, training or paid-for research represent other new revenue streams.
  • But it’s risky too, with disgruntled customers likely to leave.
  • When the cumulative cash flows exceed the initial investment, it is termed as the break-even point of the project (The break-even point is the point of no profit and no loss).

Some investments take time to bring in potentially higher cash inflows, but they will be overlooked when using the payback method alone. Payback period is commonly calculated based on undiscounted cash flow, but it also can be calculated for Discounted Cash Flow with a specified minimum rate of return. The intuition behind payback period measure is that the investor prefers to recover the invested money as quickly as possible. 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.

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Salvage ValueSalvage value or scrap value is the estimated value of an asset after its useful life is over. For example, if a company’s machinery has a 5-year life and is only valued $5000 at the end of that time, the salvage value is $5000.

  • Based solely on the payback period method, the second project is a better investment.
  • Calculating the payback period for the potential investment is essential.
  • The discounted payback period is a metric used to determine the feasibility of potential capital investments.
  • You can use the payback period to compare and prioritize different projects.
  • Also, assume that project A will recover its initial cost in 2 years while project B will recover its initial cost in 5 years.
  • The longer the payback period of a project, the higher the risk.
  • The DPP can show how profitable a project should be when taking into account the time value of money.

The resulting number is expressed in years or fractions of years. The discounted payback period is often used to better account for some of the shortcomings, such as using the present value of future cash flows.

As you can see in the example below, a DCF model is used to graph the payback period . In this case, the payback period would be 4.0 years because 200,0000 divided by 50,000 is 4. Next, the second column tracks the net gain/ to date by adding the current year’s cash flow amount to the net cash flow balance from the prior year. First, we’ll calculate the metric under the non-discounted approach using the two assumptions below. Here, the “Years Before Break-Even” refers to the number of full years until the break-even point is met.

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Harkat Tahar is a professional academic researcher with more than 6 years experience. He holds a bachelor and masters degree in business administration from Al Akhawayn University and has experience in teaching various courses that includes managerial finance and research methods. Although primarily a financial term, the concept of a payback period is occasionally extended to other uses, such as energy payback period ; these other terms may not be standardized or widely used.

From investing point of view, every investor has a defined target or tolerance level as for how long they are willing to wait for a return from the investment they make. Subtraction is a method where the formula to calculate the payback period is annual cash inflow subtracted by initial cash outflow. Averaging is a method where the payback period formula is the annual cash a product or project is estimated to generate divided by the initial expenditure. The averaging process delivers a precise idea of the payback period when the cash flow is steady. Financial analysts will perform financial modeling and IRR analysis to compare the attractiveness of different projects.

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If the main criterion to select only one project is time of investment recovery, which project will you select? The payback period is the time it will take for a business to recoup an investment. Consider a company that is deciding on whether to buy a new machine.

payback period calculator

Again, because this number has a negative sign, please make sure that you include a negative sign for this number. So the discount rate was 15%, so I discount the cash flow by 1 plus 0.15, power, the year– present time, capital cost doesn’t need to be discounted.

Account and fund managers use the payback period to determine whether to go through with an investment. Now, for calculating the payback period just follow the given steps. After taking a difference from the yearly cash flow the amount of money obtained is termed as net cash flow. The DPP can show how profitable a project should be when taking into account the time value of money. The cash flows are even, I.e. the amount is the same for each and every period. Thus, the calculator will only show a single cash flow input field if you select this type.

How To Calculate The Payback Period?

Now, we calculate the negative cash flow which is the most recent, in other words the last or latest negative cash flow. Calculate the payback period for an investment using the calculator below. It doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the company’s working capital. You need to provide the two inputs of Cumulative cash flow in a year before recovery and Discounted cash flow in a year after recovery. You can easily calculate the period in the template provided.

payback period calculator

In other words, no matter for which year you receive a cash flow, it is given the same weight as the first year. This flaw overstates the time to recover the initial investment. We are going to have the investment at the present time, at year 1, and we are going to have earnings from year 2 to year 5. The first step in calculating the payback period, is calculating the cumulative cash flow. The finance team at Cue Investments plans to calculate the payback period for a potential investment.

Does Excel Have A Payback Function?

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  • In theory, payback period should include all customer acquisition costs, not just the direct ones.
  • It also means that if you wanted to pay back your initial investment by 20 years, it would take about 7.3 years .
  • The shorter the payback period, the more attractive the investment would be, because this means it would take less time to break even.
  • So, if you want to calculate the payback period for the irregular cash flow then this calculator works best.
  • Should a project have a DPP that is longer than the useful life of the project, the company should not invest in the project.

But perhaps it’s a huge draw on the plant’s power, and its affecting other systems. Perhaps other machines need to be shut down for extended periods in order to allow this new machine to produce. Or maybe there’s something else going on at the plant that prevents it from functioning properly. The equation does not calculate cash flows in the years past the point where the machine is expected to be paid off.

It is essential because capital expenditure requires a considerable amount of funds. 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. Any time a business purchases an expensive asset, it’s an investment.

payback period calculator

The cost of the investment is $100,000, and the team predicts that the investment may result in a positive cash flow of $25,000 per year. Therefore, the payback period for this investment would take four years.


If the company expects an “uneven cash flow”, then that has to be taken into account. At that point, each year will need to be considered separately and then added up. And accuracy, this method is far superior to a simple payback period; because in a simple payback period, there is no consideration for the time value of money and cost of capital. It does not take into account, the cash flows that occur after the payback period. This means that a project having very good cash inflows but beyond its payback period may be ignored. Payback period does not take into account the time value of money which is a serious drawback since it can lead to wrong decisions.

That said, there is some general agreement about what good looks like, with a target payback period of 1 years, and anything between 5-7 months considered as high-performing. However, asthis studyinto payback periods of SaaS companies shows, there can be quite a range, with the average around 16.3 months. Specify which investment opportunity is best based on the payback analysis alone and explain your reasoning. Without any further ado, let’s get started with calculating the payback period in Excel. Payback period in capital budgeting refers to the time required to recoup the funds expended in an investment, or to reach the break-even point. Let’s say the net cash flow amount is expected to be higher, say $240,000 annually.

The reason is that the longer the money is tied up, there are fewer chances to invest it anywhere else. The formula for calculation of payback period mentioned-earlier in the content. Simply, give a try to this online markup calculator to calculate revenue and profit that depends on the cost & markup of your product. DPP analysis could, therefore, cause a manager to pass up a more profitable project. Should a project have a DPP that is longer than the useful life of the project, the company should not invest in the project. Then, the first period would have a positive $1,500 cash flow.

So let’s work on this example and see how we can calculate the payback period for a cash flow. Note that the discounted payback period is more than the simple payback period. The payback period formula is often easy to use and understand, regardless of your technical background. However, because the formula is simple, it may not include information about the effects of inflation or the complexity of a specific investment. For example, an investment may have different cash flows each year, which isn’t reflected in the payback period formula. After using the payback period formula to make basic predictions, some companies may conduct more in-depth analyses by using alternative formulas.

Discounted Payback Period Dpp Calculator

Add Payback Period Calculator to your website to get the ease of using this calculator directly. Feel hassle-free to account this widget as it is 100% free, simple to use, and you can add it on multiple online platforms. This can help companies to decide whether or not they want to invest in a project. Suppose Business X is thinking about investing in a new project. Rosemary Carlson is an expert in finance who writes for The Balance Small Business.