The formula for the simple payback period and discounted variation are virtually identical. GoCardless helps businesses automate collection of both regular and one-off payments, while saving time and reducing costs. For the most thorough, balanced look into a project’s risk vs. reward, investors should combine a variety of these models. In this guide, we’ll be covering what the payback period is, what are the pros and cons of the method, and how you can calculate it, with concrete business examples. All of the necessary inputs for our payback period calculation are shown below.

- The other project would have a payback period of 4.25 years but would generate higher returns on investment than the first project.
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- Without considering the time value of money, it is difficult or impossible to determine which project is worth considering.
- The discounted payback period is a modified version of the payback period that accounts for the time value of money.
- Investments with higher cash flows toward the end of their lives will have greater discounting.
- Inflows are any items that go into the investment, such as deposits, dividends, or earnings.

This calculation is useful for risk reduction analysis, since a project that generates a quick return is less risky than one that generates the same return over a longer period of time. There are two ways to calculate the payback period, which are described below. 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. Use Excel’s present value formula to calculate the present value of cash flows.

## Payback Period Calculator – Excel Template

In this article, we will explain the difference between the regular payback period and the discounted payback period. You will also learn the payback period formula and analyze bookkeeping for large business a step-by-step example of calculations. This payback period calculator is a tool that lets you estimate the number of years required to break even from an initial investment.

The shorter the payback period, the more attractive the investment would be, because this means it would take less time to break even. Also, the payback calculation does not address a project’s total profitability over its entire life, nor are the cash flows discounted for the time value of money. Generally speaking, an investment can either have a short or a long payback period. The shorter a payback period is, the more likely it is that the cost will be repaid or returned quickly, and hence, the more desirable the investment becomes. The opposite stands for investments with longer payback periods – they’re less useful and less likely to be undertaken. But there are a few important disadvantages that disqualify the payback period from being a primary factor in making investment decisions.

- In its simplest form, the calculation process consists of dividing the cost of the initial investment by the annual cash flows.
- According to payback method, the equipment should be purchased because the payback period of the equipment is 2.5 years which is shorter than the maximum desired payback period of 4 years.
- Perhaps the simplest method for evaluating the feasibility of undertaking a potential investment or project, the payback period is a fundamental capital budgeting tool in corporate finance.
- If short-term cash flows are a concern, a short payback period may be more attractive than a longer-term investment that has a higher NPV.
- To make the best decision about whether to pursue a project or not, a company’s management needs to decide which metrics to prioritize.

Because of the opportunity cost of receiving cash earlier and the ability to earn a return on those funds, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar received tomorrow. However, one common criticism of the simple payback period metric is that the time value of money is neglected. The shorter the payback period, the more likely the project will be accepted – all else being equal.

## Payback method with uneven cash flow:

Another option is to use the discounted payback period formula instead, which adds time value of money into the equation. Assume that Company A has a project requiring an initial cash outlay of $3,000. The project is expected to return $1,000 each period for the next five periods, and the appropriate discount rate is 4%. The discounted payback period calculation begins with the -$3,000 cash outlay in the starting period. To determine how to calculate payback period in practice, you simply divide the initial cash outlay of a project by the amount of net cash inflow that the project generates each year.

## Payback Period Calculator

The Payback Period measures the amount of time required to recoup the cost of an initial investment via the cash flows generated by the investment. 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. The discounted payback period indicates the profitability of a project while reflecting the timing of cash flows and the time value of money. If the discounted payback period of a project is longer than its useful life, the company should reject the project.

It is a rate that is applied to future payments in order to compute the present value or subsequent value of said future payments. For example, an investor may determine the net present value (NPV) of investing in something by discounting the cash flows they expect to receive in the future using an appropriate discount rate. It’s similar to determining how much money the investor currently needs to invest at this same rate in order to get the same cash flows at the same time in the future. Discount rate is useful because it can take future expected payments from different periods and discount everything to a single point in time for comparison purposes. Firstly, it fails to consider the time value of money, as cash flow obtained in the initial years of a project is valued more highly than cash flow received later in the project’s process.

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For the purposes of calculating the payback period formula, you can assume that the net cash inflow is the same each year. Second, we must subtract the discounted cash flows from the initial cost figure in order to obtain the discounted payback period. Once we’ve calculated the discounted cash flows for each period of the project, we can subtract them from the initial cost figure until we arrive at zero.

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

The basic method of the discounted payback period is taking the future estimated cash flows of a project and discounting them to the present value. Most capital budgeting formulas, such as net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and discounted cash flow, consider the TVM. 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.

## What Is the Formula for Payback Period in Excel?

You can get an idea of the best payback period by comparing all the investments you’re considering, and opt for the shortest one. Generally, a long payback period is determined by your own comfort level – as long as you are paying off one investment, you’ll be less able to invest in newer, promising opportunities. Due to its ease of use, payback period is a common method used to express return on investments, though it is important to note it does not account for the time value of money. Considering that the payback period is simple and takes a few seconds to calculate, it can be suitable for projects of small investments. 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.