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. One of the most important concepts every corporate financial analyst must learn is how to value different investments or operational projects to determine the most profitable project or investment to undertake. One way corporate financial analysts do this is with the payback period. 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.

## An Example Of A Discounted Payback Periods

The discounted payback period is a financial metric that measures the time it takes for an investment to recover its initial cost, taking into account the time value of money. The shorter the payback period, the more attractive the investment is considered. When the negative cumulative discounted cash flows become positive, or recover, DPB occurs. The discounted payback period has a similar purpose as the payback period which is to determine how long it takes until an initial investment is amortized through the cash flows generated by this asset. Keep in mind that the cash payback period principle does not work with all types of investments like stocks and bonds equally as well as it does with capital investments. The main reason for this is it doesn’t take into consideration the time value of money.

## Irregular Cash Flow Each Year

Unlike the traditional Payback Period, the Discounted Payback Period accounts for the time value of money by discounting future cash flows to their present value. When deciding on which project to undertake, a company or investor wants to know when their investment will pay off, i.e., when the project’s cash flows cover the project’s costs. The discounted payback period (DPP) is a success measure of investments and projects. Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) it has practical relevance in many projects as an enhanced version of the payback period (PBP). The discounted payback period of 7.27 years is longer than the 5 years as calculated by the regular payback period because the time value of money is factored in. Company A has selected a project which costs $ 350,000 and it expects to generate cash inflow $ 50,000 for ten years.

## Examples of Applying the DPP

The initial outflow of cash flows is worth more right now, given the opportunity cost of capital, and the cash flows generated in the future are worth less the further out they extend. A project may have a longer discounted payback period but also a higher NPV than another if it creates much more cash inflows after its discounted payback period. The shorter the discounted payback period, the quicker the project generates cash inflows and breaks even. While comparing two mutually exclusive projects, the one with the shorter discounted payback period should be accepted. Cash flow is the inflow and outflow of cash or cash-equivalents of a project, an individual, an organization, or other entities.

## Everything You Need To Master 13-Week Cash Flow Modeling

As a result, the payback period may yield a positive result, whereas the discounted payback period yields a negative outcome. When deciding on any project to embark on, a company or investor wants to know when their investment will pay off, meaning when the cash flows generated from the project will cover the cost of the project. In particular, the added step of discounting a project’s cash flows is critical for projects with prolonged payback periods (i.e., 10+ years). In this article, we will explain the difference between the regular payback period and the discounted payback period.

- Discounted payback period calculation is a simple way to analyze an investment.
- As a rule of thumb, the shorter the payback period, the better for an investment.
- Prior to accepting a position as the Director of Operations Strategy at DJO Global, Manu was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Houston.
- Both the payback period and the discounted payback period can be used to evaluate the profitability and feasibility of a specific project.

## Example 3: Real Estate Investment

Many managers and investors thus prefer to use NPV as a tool for making investment decisions. 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. Although calculating the payback period is useful in financial and capital budgeting, this metric has applications in other industries.

## Example 1: Individual Investment

Investments with higher cash flows toward the end of their lives will have greater discounting. A technology firm decides to invest $2 million in the development of a new software product. The firm expects cash inflows of $700,000 per year for the next four years from the sale of this software.

The screenshot below shows that the time required to recover the initial $20 million cash outlay is estimated to be ~5.4 years under the discounted payback period method. Payback period is the amount of time it takes to break even on an investment. The appropriate timeframe for an investment will vary depending on the type of project or investment and the expectations of those undertaking it. 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.

Prior to accepting a position as the Director of Operations Strategy at DJO Global, Manu was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Houston. He served clients, including presenting directly to C-level executives, in digital, strategy, M&A, and operations projects. Shaun Conrad is a Certified Public Accountant and CPA exam expert with a passion for teaching.

The time value of money is a fundamental concept in finance that suggests that a dollar in hand today is worth more than a dollar promised in the future. This is because money available today can be invested and earn a return, hence growing over time. In other words, the purchasing power of money decreases over time due to factors such as inflation or interest rates.

Another advantage of this method is that it’s easy to calculate and understand. This makes it a good choice for decision-makers who don’t have a lot of experience with financial analysis. So, the two parts of the calculation (the cash flow and PV factor) are shown above.We can conclude from this that the DCF is the calculation of the PV factor and the actual cash inflow. Get instant access to lessons taught by experienced private equity pros and bulge bracket investment bankers including financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel Modeling.

Specialties include general financial planning, career development, lending, retirement, tax preparation, and credit. In the next step, we’ll create a table with the period numbers (”Year”) listed on the y-axis, whereas the x-axis consists of three columns. Suppose a company is considering whether to approve or reject a proposed project. We’ll now move to a modeling exercise, which you can access by filling out the form below.

This means that it doesn’t consider that money today is worth more than money in the future. The calculator below helps you calculate the discounted payback period based on the amount you initially invest, the discount rate, and knowing when you should request a third party evaluation the number of years. It is calculated by taking a project’s future estimated cash flows and discounting them to the present value. If DPP were the only relevant indicator,option 3 would be the project alternative of choice.

Both the payback period and the discounted payback period can be used to evaluate the profitability and feasibility of a specific project. The simple payback period formula is calculated by dividing the cost of the project or investment by its annual cash inflows. The https://www.simple-accounting.org/ is the same as that simple payback period method (explained in a different post) apart from one thing. The discounted payback period method accounts for the time value of money. In other words, it allows us to discount the future cash inflows (or outflows) and calculate their present value. The discounted payback method tells companies about the time period in which the initial investment in a project is expected to be recovered by the discounted value of total cash inflow.

The payback period is the amount of time for a project to break even in cash collections using nominal dollars. 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. Payback period is the time required to recover the cost of initial investment, it the time which the investment reaches its breakeven points. It calculates the number of years we need to generated the initial cost of investment.

Since discounting decreases the value of cash flows, the discounted payback period will always be longer than the simple payback period as long as the cash flows and discount rate are positive. The faster a project or investment generates cash flows to cover the initial cost, the shorter the discounted payback period. Generally, projects should only be accepted if the payback period is shorter than the cutoff time frame. The time value of money is the concept that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future, because money can earn interest or returns if invested. At the end of Year 4, the cumulative discounted cash flows exceed the initial investment.

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. The cash inflows should be consistent with the length of the investment. 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.

As a result, payback period is best used in conjunction with other metrics. 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. In addition, the potential returns and estimated payback time of alternative projects the company could pursue instead can also be an influential determinant in the decision (i.e. opportunity costs). The payback period is a fundamental capital budgeting tool in corporate finance, and perhaps the simplest method for evaluating the feasibility of undertaking a potential investment or project. The decision criteria can vary depending on the organization’s goals, but it often involves comparing the calculated discounted payback period to a predetermined payback period or target set by the company.