Analyzing Project Feasibility
Making a Business Case
It is important to calculate the profit estimate when taking on new projects. Determining the net present value (NPV) of a project helps determine if a project should be accepted or rejected. The NPV is an important method to use in concluding the value of projects. The NPV formula determines the value of an investment based on its discounted cash flow. The NPV is calculated by subtracting the project cost from the present value (PV). The NPV capital budgeting rule suggest that projects with a positive NPV should be accepted and projects with a negative NPV should be rejected. According to the NPV capital budgeting rule, the firm could benefit from approving this project because of its positive NPV. Based on the positive NPV, this project can be assumed a valuable investment.
If there is concern regarding risk associated with the project, the firm could optionally use a cut-off threshold. A cut-off threshold prevents project budgets from going into the negative by using cut-off numbers that determine when and if a project should be shut down and abandoned. A project should be abandoned if the value is too low and the expected revenues do not justify further project investment. In addition, putting the project together in stages and with budgets for each stage can reduce risk. Upon each stage completion, the firm would invest into the next stage. Consequently, the financial risk would be minimized.
Considering the NPV for this project is positive, it will likely generate positive cash flow and would not do any harm to the firms’ status quo. Having a positive NPV suggests the project will generate value for the shareholders’ wealth. If the NPV value is accurate and the project is successful, it could potentially have positive effects on the firms’ equity value.
In addition to the benefits, there are considerable risks and disadvantages of using NPVs. Considering NPVs are based on only assumptions, it does leave room for error. A small company could have a difficult time providing reliable estimates based on the NPV data. Minor changes in the interest rate could affect the projects discount rate, which could drastically affect the projects NPV. A concern of the NPV is its requirement to make calculated projections. In most scenarios, the formula will not be 100% reliable. Before deciding based solely on the NPV, a discounted cash flow analysis should first be analyzed. Although the NPV formula does present a feasible projection of cash flow, it does not present the projects actual return. Because of the difficulty of determining an exact valuation, there could be unforeseen cost, which could incur a negative cash flow rather than a positive one.
Something else to take into consideration when investing into a project is the IRR. Both NPV and IRR are tools used to evaluate potential project investments by measuring capital budgeting, which is the process used to determine significant business investments. While NPV examines cash flow value based on the discounted rate, the IRR defines the rate of return for a project based on the stream of cash flow. IRR is the discounted rate that converts the present value to zero by making the current value of cash flows equal to the present value of cash outflows. Disadvantages of using IRR is that it is not ideal for long-term projects considering the calculation does not evaluate discount rates. Another limitation of using the IRR is that the method does not consider the initial investment amount. This can present a problem when comparing two alternative investments based solely on the IRR. Businesses can use both NPV and IRR to assist with making investment decisions. However, there is no 100% method to use, which will guarantee a positive return on investment. When making an investment decision, the investor should take into account the IRR, NPV, and other investment indicators including risk, and alternative options.