projects with large future cash outlays resulting in negative NPVs. In addition, the selection of a
cutoff point is again an arbitrary exercise.
c.Discounted payback is an improvement on regular payback because it takes into account the
time value of money. For conventional cash flows and strictly positive discount rates, the
discounted payback will always be greater than the regular payback period.
5. a. The average accounting return is interpreted as an average measure of the accounting
performance of a project over time, computed as some average profit measure attributable to the
project divided by some average balance sheet value for the project. This text computes AAR as
average net income with respect to average (total) book value. Given some predetermined cutoff
for AAR, the decision rule is to accept projects with an AAR in excess of the target measure,
and reject all other projects.
b. AAR is not a measure of cash flows and market value, but a measure of financial statement
accounts that often bear little resemblance to the relevant value of a project. In addition, the
selection of a cutoff is arbitrary, and the time value of money is ignored. For a financial
manager, both the reliance on accounting numbers rather than relevant market data and the
exclusion of time value of money considerations are troubling. Despite these problems, AAR
continues to be used in practice because (1) the accounting information is usually available, (2)
analysts often use accounting ratios to analyze firm performance, and (3) managerial
compensation is often tied to the attainment of certain target accounting ratio goals.
6. a. NPV is simply the present value of a project’s cash flows. NPV specifically measures, after
considering the time value of money, the net increase or decrease in firm wealth due to the
project. The decision rule is to accept projects that have a positive NPV, and reject projects with
a negative NPV.
b. NPV is superior to the other methods of analysis presented in the text because it has no serious
flaws. The method unambiguously ranks mutually exclusive projects, and can differentiate
between projects of different scale and time horizon. The only drawback to NPV is that it relies
on cash flow and discount rate values that are often estimates and not certain, but this is a
problem shared by the other performance criteria as well. A project with NPV = $2,500 implies
that the total shareholder wealth of the firm will increase by $2,500 if the project is accepted.
7. a. The IRR is the discount rate that causes the NPV of a series of cash flows to be identically zero.
IRR can thus be interpreted as a financial break-even rate of return; at the IRR discount rate, the
net value of the project is zero. The IRR decision rule is to accept projects with IRRs greater
than the discount rate, and to reject projects with IRRs less than the discount rate.
b. IRR is the interest rate that causes NPV for a series of cash flows to be zero. NPV is preferred in
all situations to IRR; IRR can lead to ambiguous results if there are non-conventional cash
flows, and also ambiguously ranks some mutually exclusive projects. However, for stand-alone
projects with conventional cash flows, IRR and NPV are interchangeable techniques.
c.IRR is frequently used because it is easier for many financial managers and analysts to rate
performance in relative terms, such as “12%”, than in absolute terms, such as “$46,000.” IRR
may be a preferred method to NPV in situations where an appropriate discount rate is unknown
are uncertain; in this situation, IRR would provide more information about the project than
8. a. The profitability index is the present value of cash inflows relative to the project cost. As such,
it is a benefit/cost ratio, providing a measure of the relative profitability of a project. The
profitability index decision rule is to accept projects with a PI greater than one, and to reject
projects with a PI less than one.
b. PI = (NPV + cost)/cost = 1 + (NPV/cost). If a firm has a basket of positive NPV projects and is
subject to capital rationing, PI may provide a good ranking measure of the projects, indicating
the “bang for the buck” of each particular project.