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Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is the effective compound rate of interest which can be earned on the invested capital. If the IRR is greater than alternate investment with similar risk, then it is a worthwhile project. The typical hurdle rate is 12%


Net Present Value (NPV) is the current or the present value of the future cash flows (both inflow and outflow). The current value of a future cash flow depends on the time gap between today and the time of cash flow and discount rate. For e.g. if we anticipate a cash inflow of Rs. 100 after 2 years. NPV will determine the cashflow as on today (amount you will receive if you do not want to wait for 2 years at a particular discount rate). A profitable project is one where the NPV is positive.


Return on Investment (ROI) is the ratio of money gained or lost divided by the initial investment. A $1000 investment that results in interest of $50 has a 5% ROI. A project with a higher ROI gets prioritized


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Sudheer Chauhan on 27th December 2019.


Applause for all the respondents - Sudheer Chauhan, Shashikant Adlakha, Sudarshana Ramaiah, Nilesh Gham, Ajay Sharma


Q 221. Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Net Present Value (NPV) and Return on Investment (ROI) are the most common financial metrics used for comparing investments and their value. Each metric provides a different perspective and hence one is preferred over the other. Compare their characteristics and highlight situations (for each) where one is preferred over the others.



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Net present Value (NPV):-

NPV is a difference between the present value of cash inflow and the present value of cash outflow after a period. To calculate the NPV we should know time period of project and discount rate (required rate of return).it is very useful to check profitability of particular project. Some time we use NPV to compare more then one project and find out best among them. It helps us to take a decision either we should do the investment or not.

NPV is positive

Investment will give benefit to company

We should do the project

NPV is negative

Investment will give negative impact/loss to company

We should not do the project

NPV = 0

Nether gain nor lose

No Profit – We should not do the Project or consider other factors


Limitation of NVP: - NPV depends on discount rate. NPV method is difficult to apply when comparing a project that have different investment and different time period.

Formula for NPV :-

NPV = CF0 + CF1/(1+r)1 + CF2/(1+r)2................ CFT/(1+r)T


CFT=Cash flow at the time of T and r = discount rate or company required rate of return

 Internal Rate of Return (IRR):-

Internal Rate of return (IRR) is equal to discount rate in which net present value (NPV) of project is zero.in other word we can say that IRR is compound rate of interest which can be made on investment.  We use IRR to find out the right project or good investment. It is used when a company wants investment in new projects. IRR is also used in the comparison of many project and find out profitable project like NPV.

 IRR>company required rate of return

Investment will give benefit to company

We should do the project

IRR<company required rate of return

Investment will give negative impact/loss to company

We should not do the project


Formula for IRR

IRR = lower discount rate + (NPV at lower % rate / distance between 2 NPV) × (Higher % rate - Lower % rate)

Limitation of IRR –

Disadvantage to use IRR instead of NPV .it is very significant risk in companies where the return on investment is greater than the weighted average Cost of capital(WACC) that company will not invest in projects expected to earn greater than WACC, But less than the return of existing cost

IRR is true project’s annual return of investment only when project does not generate interim cash flows.


Return of investment (ROI):-

ROI is most common and popular technique to used for measuring the amount of return on an investment. To calculate the ROI, the Net profit is divided by cost of investment. The result is come in % and ratio. In other word we can say it s a ratio of net profit and costs of investament.it is a very simply financial matrix to evaluate the efficiency of investment.

ROI is used for personal financial decision, compare company profitability, and compare the efficiency of different investment

Limitation of ROI – Satisfactory definition of profit and investment are difficult to find

Formula for ROI:-

 ROI%= (Net profit /Costs of investment) * 100

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Investment is  aimed at earning  decent returns. And there are many ways to measure the performance of your investment. There are different indices to  evaluate the appropriateness of the investment, each having its own merit and demerit.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is probably one of the most commonly used investment measure.  

ROI is an absolute return  ratio compared to the investment cost. ROI is calculated  by dividing the investment return or net gain  by the investment cost.



ROI though  is   relatively a straightforward simple calculation,  but has limitations. The  most important limiting factor is that it gives absolute return, rather than implying periodic return. 

Net Present Value (NPV)

Net Present Value is usually a tool used for capital budgeting to determine the profitability of a project. It compares the present value of cash outflows with the present value of cash flows. A positive NPV indicates the project will be value adding and worth doing  and a negative NPV indicates a net loss. 

To calculate NPV you need to know the total investment cost (C0), the total cash inflows during the project (Ct), a discount rate (r) (this is usually the cost of capital) and the duration of the project (t).

The formula is as follows:


NPV=Cash flow/(1+i)tinitial investment, where:i=Required return or discount rate; t=Number of time periods


Even though NPV is  quite a  valuable tool to evaluate an investment decision, it entails lots of assumptions and estimations, which lead to potential errors.

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is also one of the most important investment  decision tool, in which  the percentage rate of return is  calculated for each period invested. It is  one of the  the most important tool for deciding  the best investment option. The investment with higher IRR will be a more attractive option. It is essentially a discount that makes the NPV equal to zero.



IRR=R1+(NPV1×(R2R1)/(NPV1NPV2); where:R1,R2=randomly selected discount ratesNPV1=higher net present valueNPV2=lower net present value.


IRR can not be  used as an accurate measure to compare in investment projects of different timeframe.

Summing up

Investment decisions are  profit based. Various Investment metrics can help in  analyzing  the past performance of an investment and compare different options. It is prudent that these return metrics should always be compared against the risk associated with the investments to determine whether  the returns overvalue the risks.

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IRR-> Efficiency of the Organisational resources to produce maximum out put by minimum input.


NPV-> The general value can be generated by the investment in the general set-up.


ROI-> The maximum value generated by the efficient resources of the organisation of the investment.


ROI is directly proportional to the IRR with reference to NPV.

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All three parameters revolve and compare around the “Interest Rate”, which is a way of expressing the risk free expected gains. Note the below example:


Assume that we have a risk free interest rate of 15%, and we seek to have Rs. 100 at the end of the year.


If we seek to have Rs. 100 at the end of the year (owing to say, the project being completed), and if we assume the risk free rate above 15%, we would have to invest (100/1.15) = Rs. 86.95 (at the start of the year)


The difference of the values 100 – 86.95 = 13. 05 is the NPV (Net Present Value)


Thus, the NPV is the difference between of the present value(s) of the future (and present) cash flows.


The IRR is the percentage rate of return calculated for each period invested (the above assumes only one period invested). It is essentially a discount that would make the NPV equal to zero. Thus, IRR uses the same formula, but it solves for the discount rate (as 0) rather than the NPV itself. In our case here, since we have only one cash inflow and outflow, the IRR is 15% itself, meaning:


100 – (86.95 x 1.15) = 0


Note how the 15% is expressed as 1.15 indicating an increase


Now assume that we invest Rs. 86.95, and owing to the beauty of the project, we further assume that we would get Rs. 120 at the end of the year. Now, using excel’s IRR function, we get the IRR to be 38%. This is clearly much higher than the nominal, risk free rate of 15%, and the project thus looks promising and good.


IRR is, thus,  a useful tool to help make an investment decision and compares to the Interest Rate and the cost of capital. If an IRR is greater than the cost of capital, then it’s a profitable and good investment. If the IRR is lower than the cost of capital, then it will be a loss-making investment.



Even though NPV is a useful tool to evaluate an investment decision, it requires a lot of assumptions and estimates leading to potential errors or misleading analysis. It is difficult to estimate the costs and returns with 100% certainty.


In practical terms, the interest rate assumed may not remain fixed, and thus, the ROI sometimes, is the most commonly used measure of investment. When you invest, some of the few questions that you seek an answer for are:


Do the expected returns justify the risk or costs associated with investment?

Is the investment profitable?

How much money will I make from my investment?


ROI can be calculated in various ways. The most common method of evaluating ROI can be: Net Income as a percentage of Net Book Value which can be stated in accounting terms as total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities.

ROI is simple to calculate but has limitations. For instance, it does not measure the return over shorter (say yearly) periods of time.


Thus, the major difference between IRR and ROI is that IRR takes into account the time value of money for each cash inflow/ outflow, whereas ROI tells the total growth rate of an investment from beginning to end.


Depending on the project and its duration, all three NPV, IRR and ROI can be used

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  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Net Present Value (NPV) and Return on Investment (ROI) are important terms used in finance


    find below understand the meaning and significance of all three financial metrics


     1-IRR-The Internal Rate of Return is  a discount rate that makes the NPV of all cash flow from a particular project equal to zero.


  • IRR can be calculated as

  • IRR=(Cash flow)/((1+r)*t)-initial investment


    To calculate IRR, NPV = 0 and then solve for IRR

    higher IRR of a project .higher the profit, Hence the IRR should high.


    2-NPV-Net present value  is the sum of the present value of all cash inflow minus the sum of the all present value of all cash outflow


  • NPV can be calculated by the below formula

    NPV = (Present value of incash flows – Present value of out cash flow)

    A Positive NPV means project is making profit and a negative NPV means project is in loss.

    3-ROI-Return on Investment is used to measure the performance/efficiency of an investment. Generally in any project or investment Return on investment is must criteria. If ROI is too long may lead to no further investment in project vice versa.


    ROI = (Current Value of investment – Cost of investment) / Cost Of investment


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