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. 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). Despite these limitations, discounted payback period methods can help with decision-making.

Simple Payback Period vs. Discounted Method

Due to the complexity of its nature, professionals believe it is the better way to evaluate ventures as opposed to the Payback Period. I will briefly explain how the payback period functions to help you better understand the concept. Prior to accepting a position as the Director of Operations Strategy at DJO Global, Manu was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Houston.

Everything You Need To Master 13-Week Cash Flow Modeling

One of the major drawbacks of the Payback Period (PBP) is that it does not consider the opportunity cost (also referred to as the discount rate or the required rate of return). The Discounted Payback Period overcomes this weakness by using discounte cash flows in estimating the breakeven point. Prepare a table to calculate discounted cash flow of each period by multiplying the actual cash flows by present value factor.

Everything You Need To Master Financial Modeling

https://www.business-accounting.net/ calculation is a simple way to analyze an investment. One limitation is that it doesn’t take into account money’s time value. This means that it doesn’t consider that money today is worth more than money in the future. Discounted payback period refers to the number of years it takes for the present value of cash inflows to equal the initial investment.

  1. The discounted payback period determines the payback period using the time value of money.
  2. One way corporate financial analysts do this is with the payback period.
  3. However, it doesn’t take into account money’s time value, which is the idea that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future.
  4. For example, if solar panels cost $5,000 to install and the savings are $100 each month, it would take 4.2 years to reach the payback period.

How to Calculate the Payback Period in Excel

For example, let’s say you have an initial investment of $100 and an annual cash flow of $20. If you’re discounting at a rate of 10%, your payback period would be 5 years. The calculation of the discounted payback period can be more complex than the standard payback period because it involves discounting the future cash flows of the investment.


According to discounted payback method, the initial investment would be recovered in 3.15 years which is slightly more than the management’s maximum desired payback period of 3 years. Essentially, you can determine how long you’re going to need until your original investment amount is equal to other cash flows. We will also cover the formula to calculate it and some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages. The discounted payback period adds discounting to the basic payback period calculation, thereby greatly increasing the accuracy of its results. It is significantly more accurate than the basic payback period formula, which can be seriously inaccurate when the cash flow period is quite long or the discount rate is high.

If the cash flows are uneven, then the longer method of discounting each cash flow would be used. Read through for the definition and formulaof the DPP, 2 examples as well as a discounted payback period calculator. Due to the discounting of cash flows, these two similar calculations may not yield the same result because of compound interest. If undertaken, the initial investment in the project will cost the company approximately $20 million. The first column (Cash Flows) tracks the cash flows of each year – for instance, Year 0 reflects the $10mm outlay whereas the others account for the $4mm inflow of cash flows.

The shorter the what is cash flow forecast, 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. Payback period refers to the number of years it will take to pay back the initial investment. The Discounted Payback Period calculation takes these cash flows and discount rate into account, providing a more nuanced understanding of the return period of an investment. Given a choice between two investments having similar returns, the one with shorter payback period should be chosen. Management might also set a target payback period beyond which projects are generally rejected due to high risk and uncertainty.

Next, we divide the number by the year-end cash flow in order to get the percentage of the time period left over after the project has been paid back. One observation to make from the example above is that the discounted payback period of the project is reached exactly at the end of a year. In other circumstances, we may see projects where the payback occurs during, rather than at the end of, a given year. Since the project’s life is calculated at 5 years, we can infer that the project returns a positive NPV. To begin, the periodic cash flows of a project must be estimated and shown by each period in a table or spreadsheet.

It is calculated by taking a project's future estimated cash flows and discounting them to the present value. 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. As we can see, the initial investment is paid back in Year 3 (because the value of the cumulative cash flow is negative at the end of Year 2 and positive at the end of Year 3).

This approach might look a bit similar to net present value method but is, in fact, just a poor compromise between NPV and simple payback technique. The discounted payback method takes into account the present value of cash flows. In case we decide to differentiate between risky projects by applying project-specific discount rates, we should be careful in choosing the discount rate for each venture. At the end of the day, the Discount Payback Period relies on the opportunity cost of capital, so picking an appropriate discount rate will make a significant difference in your analysis.

A discounted payback period gives the number of years it takes to break even from undertaking the initial expenditure, by discounting future cash flows and recognizing the time value of money. The metric is used to evaluate the feasibility and profitability of a given project. To calculate the cumulative cash flow balance, add the present value of cash flows to the previous year's balance. The cash flow balance in year zero is negative as it marks the initial outlay of capital.

The rest of the procedure is similar to the calculation of simple payback period except that we have to use the discounted cash flows as calculated above instead of nominal cash flows. Also, the cumulative cash flow is replaced by cumulative discounted cash flow. Discounted payback period refers to time needed to recoup your original investment. In other words, it’s the amount of time it would take for your cumulative cash flows to equal your initial investment.

Despite these limitations, it is still a useful tool for initial investment screening and can provide valuable insights when used in conjunction with other financial metrics. 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. For example, where a project with higher return has a longer payback period thus higher risk and an alternate project having low risk but also lower return. In such cases the decision mostly rests on management's judgment and their risk appetite.