Net Present Value Method

Sophisticated capital budgeting techniques include Net present value method (NPV), Internal Rate of Return method (IRR), Profitability index (PI) and Equivalent Annual Annuity (EAA). NPV is discussed below.

NPV is a sophisticated capital budgeting technique. Theoretically, Net Present Value (NPV) is the best technique out of sophisticated capital budgeting techniques but it is difficult to use it in practice. Sometimes Net Present Value method is referred to as the “gold standard” for investment decisions.

It is very easy to use Net Present Value with the help of a financial calculator if all necessary data is available. However, it is important to firstly understand the logic behind this calculation. NPV is determined by finding present value of cash inflows and then subtracting an initial investment.

NPV=Present value of cash inflows – initial investment

Now, after we understand the logic behind usage of Net Present Value method, we can calculate NPV using a financial calculator. We will always use a HP 10bll financial calculator throughout the website. Other calculators are similar but may have some small differences.

Before you make any calculations, make sure that you:

1 – Clear the calculator – by pressing the second function followed by “C All”

2 – Ensure that it is set for end if cash flows occur at the end of the period and that it is set for beginning if cash flows occur at the beginning of the period.

To set for end/beginning – press second function followed by beg/end. If it is set for the beginning than word “begin” will be displayed. If it is set for the end than no word will be displayed.

Majority of calculations will be with the “end” setting (used when cash flows occur at the end of the period). Therefore, it is important to acquire a habit of re-setting your calculator to the “end” setting after every calculation with the “begin” setting. Otherwise, you are running a risk of forgetting to re-set the calculator and obtaining an incorrect result from future calculations.

NPV FOR ANNUITY IS CALCULATED AS FOLLOWS:

Initial investment: amount, minus sign, CFi

Annual cash inflow: amount, CFi1

Number of periods: number of periods, second function, Ni

Cost of capital: number, i

Find NPV: second function, NPV

NPV FOR A MIXED STREAM IS CALCULATED AS FOLLOWS:

Initial investment: amount, minus sign, CFi

Put in amount for each cash inflow separately following with CFi1, CFi2 etc

Cost of capital: number, i

Find NPV: second function, NPV

If NPV is higher than zero than we know that this project will earn returns higher than the business’s cost of capital. Further, the owner’s wealth will increase by the amount equal to NPV.

Test yourself


ABC Corporation has an option to invest in projects A. Project A has aninitial investment of $15,000, and operating cash inflows of $3,000 over the economic life of the project, which is 8 years. The cost of capital (also called discount rate or rate of return) is 8%.

Find the net present value (NPV) of project A?

SOLUTION:

With the use of a financial calculator, we can find the net present value (NPV) as follows:

Clear the calculator by pressing second function followed by “C ALL”.

Make sure calculator is set to the “end”. This setting is used because in this problem cash flows occur at the end of each period. It is commonly accepted that if problem does not state when cash flows occur, you need to assume that cash flows occur at the end of the period, not at the beginning of the period.

WE KNOW THAT NPV FOR AN ANNUITY IS CALCULATED AS FOLLOWS:

Initial investment: amount, minus sign, CFi

Annual cash inflow: amount, CFi1

Number of periods: number of periods, second function, Ni

Cost of capital: number, i

Find NPV: second function, NPV

NOW YOU NEED TO PLUG IN THE NUMBERS:

NPV for annuity:

Initial investment: 15000, minus sign, CFi

Annual cash inflow: 3000, CFi1

Number of periods: 8, second function, Ni

Cost of capital: 8, i

Find NPV: second function, NPV

= $2,239.92

The above calculation makes it clear that project A is an acceptable project for ABC because the NPV is higher than zero ($2,239.92).

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