Evaluation of the attractiveness of an investment proposal, using methods such as average rate of return, internal rate of return (IRR), net present value (NPV), or payback period. Investment appraisal is an integral part of capital budgeting (see capital budget), and is applicable to areas even where the returns may not be easily quantifiable such as personnel, marketing, and training
Average Rate of Return (ARR) Definition:
Method of investment appraisal which determines return on investment by totalling the cash flows (over the years for which the money was invested) and dividing that amount by the number of years
Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Definition:
One of the two discounted cash flow (DCF) techniques (the other is net present value or NPV) used in comparative appraisal of investment proposals where the flow of income varies over time. IRR is the average annual return earned through the life of an investment and is computed in several ways. Depending on the method used, it can either be the effective rate of interest on a deposit or loan, or the discount rate that reduces to zero the net present value of a stream of income inflows and outflows. If the IRR is higher than the desired rate of return on investment, then the project is a desirable one. However, it is a mechanical method (computed usually with a spreadsheet formula) and not a consistent principle. It can give wrong or misleading answers, especially where two mutually-exclusive projects are to be appraised. Also called dollar weighted rate of return
Net Present Value (NPV) Definition:
NPV is the difference between the present value (PV) of the future cash flows from an investment and the amount of investment. Present value of the expected cash flows is computed by discounting them at the required rate of return (also called minimum rate of return)
For example, an investment of $1,000 today at 10 percent will yield $1,100 at the end of the year; therefore, the present value of $1,100 at the desired rate of return (10 percent) is $1,000. The amount of investment ($1,000 in this example) is deducted from this figure to arrive at NPV which here is zero ($1,000-$1,000). A zero NPV means the project repays original investment plus the required rate of return. A positive NPV means a better return, and a negative NPV means a worse return, than the return from zero NPV. It is one of the two discounted cash flow (DCF) techniques (the other is internal rate of return) used in comparative appraisal of investment proposals where the flow of income varies over time
Payback Period Definition:
Time required to recover an investment or loan.
One of the key areas of long-term decision-making that firms must tackle is that of investment - the need to commit funds by purchasing land, buildings, machinery and so on, in anticipation of being able to earn an income greater than the funds committed. In order to handle these decisions, firms have to make an assessment of the size of the outflows and inflows of funds, the lifespan of the investment, the degree of risk attached and the cost of obtaining funds.
The main stages in the capital budgeting cycle can be summarised as follows:
1. Forecasting investment needs.
2. Identifying project(s) to meet needs.
3. Appraising the alternatives.
4. Selecting the best alternatives.
5. Making the expenditure.
6. Monitoring project(s).
Looking at investment appraisal involves us in stage 3 and 4 of this cycle.
We can classify capital expenditure projects into four broad categories:
* Maintenance - replacing old or obsolete assets for example.
* Profitability - quality, productivity or location improvement for example.
* Expansion -