Monday, 10 April 2017

Investment Decisions

Some investment decisions are easy to make.

  • Perhaps, a government safety regulation makes an item of capital expenditure compulsory.
  • Or perhaps, an essential piece of machinery breaks down and just has to be replaced.
Many other investment decisions are not nearly so clear cut and hinge on whether the proposed expenditure will generate sufficient future cash savings to justify itself.

There are many very sophisticated techniques for aiding this decision.  Here are three techniques that are commonly used:

  • Payback
  • Return on investment
  • Discounted cash flow.

This has the merit of being extremely simple to calculate and understand.  It is a simple measure of the period of time taken for the savings made to equal the capital expenditure.

Return on investment
This takes the average of the money saved over the life of the asset and expresses it as a percentage of the original sum invested.

Discounted cash flow.
This technique takes account of the fact that money paid or received in the future is not as valuable as money paid or received now.  For this reason, it is considered superior to payback and to return on investment.  However, it is not as simple to calculate and understand.  Discounted cash flow involves bringing the future values back to its Net Present Value.

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