Payback Period

The payback period is the exact length of time needed for a firm to recover its initial investment as calculated from cash inflows. Payback period is the least precise of all capital budgeting methods because the calculations are in dollars and not adjusted for the time value of money. Table 14-15 shows the cash flow stream for Project A.

From Table 14-15, Project A will last for exactly five years with the cash inflows shown. The payback period will be exactly four years. If the cash inflow in Year 4 were $6,000 instead of $5,000, then the payback period would be three years and 10 months.


Initial Investment

Expected Cash Inflows

Year 2 Year 3 Year 4

Year 1

Year 5







The problem with the payback method is that $5,000 received in Year 4 is not worth $5,000 today. This unsophisticated approach mandates that the payback method be used as a supplemental tool to accompany other methods.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment