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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. In this case, the payback https://www.bookstime.com/blog/what-does-accounts-receivable-mean method does not provide a strong indication as to which project to choose. The payback period is calculated by dividing the initial capital outlay of an investment by the annual cash flow.

- In its simplest form, the calculation process consists of dividing the cost of the initial investment by the annual cash flows.
- The PEG payback period, or price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio, is a key ratio that is used to calculate the length of time it would take for an investor to double the amount invested in a stock.
- This formula can only be used to calculate the soonest payback period; that is, the first period after which the investment has paid for itself.
- In other words, the risk increases, and the projection could turn out to be wrong.
- 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.
- It is based on the incremental cash flows from a particular investment project.

For this reason, the payback period may return a positive figure, while the discounted payback period returns a negative figure. The other project would have a payback period of 4.25 years payback period formula 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.

## What Is the PEG 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. For example, a firm may decide to invest in an asset with an initial cost of $1 million. 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. These two calculations, although similar, may not return the same result due to the discounting of cash flows. For example, projects with higher cash flows toward the end of a project’s life will experience greater discounting due to compound interest.

For example, if the building was purchased mid-year, the first year’s cash flow would be $36,000, while subsequent years would be $72,000. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. CFI is the global institution behind the financial modeling and valuation analyst FMVA® Designation. CFI is on a mission to enable anyone to be a great financial analyst and have a great career path. In order to help you advance your career, CFI has compiled many resources to assist you along the path.

## Evaluation of the Payback Method

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. 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.

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. The period of time that a project or investment takes for the present value of future cash flows to equal the initial cost provides an indication of when the project or investment will break even.

## Analysis

In essence, the payback period is used very similarly to a Breakeven Analysis, but instead of the number of units to cover fixed costs, it considers the amount of time required to return an investment. The decision rule using the payback period is to minimize the time taken for the return on investment. Average cash flows represent the money going into and out of the investment.

The payback period is the amount of time for a project to break even in cash collections using nominal dollars. Calculating the payback period is also useful in financial forecasting, where you can use the net cash flow formula to determine how quickly you can recoup your initial investment. Whether you’re using accounting software in your business or are using a manual accounting system, you can easily calculate your payback period. Whilst the time value of money can be rectified by applying a weighted average cost of capital discount, it is generally agreed that this tool for investment decisions should not be used in isolation. Given its nature, the payback period is often used as an initial analysis that can be understood without much technical knowledge. It is easy to calculate and is often referred to as the “back of the envelope” calculation.