Enter all but one of the cash flow at time t, discount rate, and total number of periods into the calculator to determine the net present value; this calculator can also evaluate any of the variables given the others are known.

Capital Budgeting Formula

The following formula is used to calculate the net present value (NPV) of a capital budgeting project:

NPV = sum_{t=0}^{n} {CF/t}{(1+r)^t}


  • NPV is the net present value of the project
  • CF_t is the cash flow at time t
  • r is the discount rate
  • n is the total number of periods

To calculate the net present value, sum up the discounted cash flows for each period. The cash flow at each period is divided by (1+r)^t, where t represents the time period. The discount rate is used to determine the present value of future cash flows. The net present value represents the value of the project in today's dollars.

What is a Capital Budgeting?

Capital budgeting, also known as investment appraisal, is the process by which a company determines and evaluates potential large expenses or investments. These expenditures and investments could include projects such as building a new plant or investing in a long-term venture. Often, a company assesses a prospective project's lifetime cash inflows and outflows to determine whether the potential returns that would be generated meet a sufficient target benchmark, also known as the cost of capital or hurdle rate. The primary purpose of capital budgeting is to ensure that the company's funds are deployed in the most profitable and efficient manner. Various techniques are used in capital budgeting, including payback period, internal rate of return, net present value, profitability index, and equivalent annuity method.

How to Calculate Capital Budgeting?

The following steps outline how to calculate the Capital Budgeting:

  1. First, determine the initial investment ($).
  2. Next, determine the expected cash flows for each period ($).
  3. Next, determine the discount rate (%).
  4. Next, calculate the present value of each cash flow using the discount rate.
  5. Finally, sum up the present values of all cash flows to get the net present value (NPV).
  6. After calculating the NPV, compare it to the initial investment to make a decision.

Example Problem:

Use the following variables as an example problem to test your knowledge.

Initial investment ($) = 5000

Expected cash flows for each period ($) = [1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000]

Discount rate (%) = 10