3 Techniques Used In Capital Budgeting and Their Advantages

3 Techniques Used In Capital Budgeting and Their Advantages

Planning to purchase a new asset is quite the process. The company needs an installation plan, operating staff, and of course a financial plan. Budgeting is a cash-based concept. A company could have over $10 million in sales, but if there is no cash available for the purchase, it could be difficult to make. There are three types of capital budgeting techniques to consider for your budgeting purposes. They are:

1. Payback method
2. Net present value method
3. Internal rate of return method

Payback Method

This is the simplest way to budget for a new asset. The payback method is deciding how long it will take a company to pay off an asset. For example, a company plans to buy a new IT server for $500,000, and that server is predicted to generate $50,000 cash each year. This capital budgeting scenario implies that the purchase can be paid off in 10 years.

$50,000 cash flows over 10 years totals the $500,000 total purchase price.

The quicker the payback period is, the quicker the company is able to recover the cost of the new piece of equipment.

Net Present Value Method

The Net Present Value (NPV) method is like the payback method; except for one important detail….money does not keep the same value over time. In this method, the difference between the asset cost and discounted cash flows from the asset is calculated. The term ‘present value’ is used because future cash flows drop in value. When the discounted future cash flows exceed the cost of the asset, the project is expected to be profitable. However, if the costs exceed the future cash flows, that project is not expected to be profitable. The largest advantage for the NPV method over the payback method is the fact it accounts for the decrease in value of the dollar over time. However, a large drawback is that the NPV method is based on assumptions. If the company experiences unexpected pitfalls after money is invested, the calculations could be incorrect causing uncertainty in the profit margin.

Internal Rate of Return Method

The internal rate of return (IRR) method is the most complex of the three. This method compares the return on the asset to the cost of financing the project. It is similar to and includes the net present value method to calculate the rate of return. If the IRR is above the cost, the project is expected to be profitable. But yet, if the costs exceed the return, the project is expected to have a loss.

The idea behind this method is that percentage results are perceived to be more meaningful than dollar amounts. Below is a chart explaining this concept of percentage increase compared to dollar increase.

Example 2013 Revenue Dollar Increase Percentage Increase
1 $5,000,000 $200,000 4%
2 $500,000 $100,000 20%


Example 1 has a higher increase, however compared to the total revenue; the increase is a minimal percentage. Example 2 could be perceived as the smaller increase, but overall a 20% increase is favorable.


Capital budgeting is an important tool for leaders of a company when evaluating multiple opportunities for investment of the firm’s capital. However, this is not the only step in budgeting for a new asset. It would be best to talk with a financial professional when applying the concepts discussed above while budgeting for a purchase.

Brian FinleyArticle contributed by Brian Finley, MKS&H Staff Accountant

About MKS&H: McLean, Koehler, Sparks & Hammond (MKS&H) is a professional service firm with offices in Hunt Valley and Frederick. MKS&H helps owners and organizational leaders become more successful by putting complex financial data into truly meaningful context. But deeper than dollars and data, our focus is on developing an understanding of you, your culture and your business goals. This approach enables our clients to achieve their greatest potential.

Like what you read? Sign-up for our C-Suite Spotlight Program.

About Author


MKS&H is committed to providing personalized tax and accounting services while developing a deep understanding of you, your culture, and your business goals. Our full view of financial systems and the people behind them allow us create and evolve the best solution that will help you and your business thrive. The accounting experts and consulting professionals at MKS&H work together to help you achieve the financial results you want.

Related posts

Why Every Business Needs a Professional Accountant

Managing accounting complexities can be challenging for both businesses and individuals. The expertise of a professional accountant is essential, providing critical guidance and support for financial stability and growth. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) offers the specialized knowledge and experience required to address even the most difficult financial scenarios....

Read More