Capital Budgeting Techniques and Examples

For a business manager, choosing what to invest in should not be an exercise of instinct. With capital budgeting methods, managers can appraise various projects simultaneously, with the end result indicating which one will have the highest impact on company value. Investing in capital assets is determined by how they will affect cash flow in the future, which is what capital budgeting is supposed to do.

Capital budgeting is important as it provides businesses with a way to evaluate and measure a project’s value against what they have to invest in that project. This way, managers can assess and rank those projects or investments, which is critical as these are large capital investments that can make or break a company. Similarly, due to its reliance on the NPV of projects, IRR also considers the whole life of the project rather than just considering the payback period. Furthermore, since the NPV method is based on maximizing the wealth of owners, the IRR method is also based on the same principle.

Amazon Leadership Principles for Success in Business

If all three approaches point in the same direction, managers can be most confident in their analysis. The payback period computation does not account for the time value of money, which calculates how much money will be worth in the future based on projected interest rates. The money spent in capital budgeting is actually worth more in the future because your business could have invested the money and received interest payments.

  • Similarly, the closer the cost of capital used in the calculation of both NPVs are to the IRR, the more accurate result the business will get.
  • Here, The IRR of Project A is 7.9% which is above the Threshold Rate of Return (We assume it is 7% in this case.) So, the company will accept the project.
  • EAA calculates the annual cash inflows that a project would generate if it were an annuity over its life.

The uses accrual‐based net income to calculate a project’s expected profitability. The annual rate of return is compared to the company’s required rate of return. If the annual rate of return is greater than the required rate of return, the project may be accepted. Two concepts that underlie capital budgeting are opportunity cost and the time value of money, both of which address the long-term nature of most capital projects. Opportunity costs are the benefits lost because of investment decisions and important to consider when capital budgeting.

Methods for Capital Budgeting

When a business decides between different projects to undertake in the future with limited resources, it will need to evaluate all the projects and choose the one that suits the needs of the business the most. There are drawbacks to using the PB metric to determine capital budgeting decisions. Firstly, the payback period does not account for the time value of money (TVM). Simply calculating the PB provides a metric that places the same emphasis on payments received in year one and year two. In my experience, failed attempts at using capital budgeting came from not using detailed projections of project cash flows. I worked with one company who attempted to evaluate the purchase of another company by using the target’s projected income statement as the sole basis of operating cash flows.

The Advantages of the Average Rate of Return Method

The following example has a PB period of four years, which is worse than that of the previous example, but the large $15,000,000 cash inflow occurring in year five is ignored for the purposes of this metric. From just these two analyses, we can see the project is quite stable and robust. Even with errors in the base projections of these two variables, the project still warrants further consideration via a positive NPV. NPV will reduce as the residual value decreases, but we can see from this analysis that even if the residual value drops to $0, holding all other assumptions constant, the NPV is still positive.

How ProjectManager Helps With Capital Budgeting

When I worked at GE Commercial Finance, I held a role in business development (BD). My focus was on acquiring portfolios of existing commercial real estate and equipment loans from other lenders in our market space. Using the asking price for the portfolio, the cash flows from the loans and the return rate required (as a discount rate), the NPV could be determined. Further, by running sensitivity on the asking price (investment size), we could determine the price range within which the purchase could be justified.

There are many different sources of finance that businesses can use to meet their needs. These sources of finance may include capital invested by the owners or debt received from third parties. In the case of companies, it also includes any equity finance raised through the issue of shares and equity instruments.


It’s a simple method, but isn’t a complete model and ignores profitability and terminal values. But even after making the investment, capital budgeting can be used to measure the project’s progress and how effective the investment is. The net present value approach is the most intuitive and accurate valuation approach to capital budgeting problems.

One should also be careful not to overestimate a residual or terminal value. I have seen projections for starting a new venture where the residual value was the anticipated value to be received upon taking the company public. The IPO value was far above a reasonable amount, and without the high residual value the NPV would be negative.

If a project’s NPV is less than zero or negative, the same must be rejected. Further, if there is more than one project with positive NPV, then the project with the highest NPV shall be selected. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there’s continuity from sales to services to support. Project management software will help to plan, manage and track that project to ensure that it is delivered on time and within the budget. Norwich University’s online Master of Business Administration program helps create strong leaders well-versed in business management practices. Students can customize their MBA by choosing a concentration in construction management, finance, organizational leadership, project management, supply chain management & logistics, or energy management.

The higher degree polynomial equation is required to solve out for finding unknown variable. Therefore trial & error method or iteration method is quite easy way to find out the solution. In trial & error method the value of “i” is set out in order to makes the whole equation equal to zero. If the first value does not bring the equation equal to zero than try another value and if that value also does not equalize the equation to zero then try the third value and so on. The higher value of IRR is considered as good one but it is quite difficult to measure that which value of IRR is more acceptable. Let suppose the initial investment is  $ 255,000 and there is expectation of $ 15,000 per month in the first year and $ 25,000 per month in the second year.