Capital budgeting is a process of planning expenditures incurred on assets whose cash flow is expected to range beyond one year. In other words, it is defined as a process that requires planning for setting up budgets on projects expected to have long-term implications. It can be used for processes such as the purchase of new equipment or launching of a new product in the market. Businesses prefer to intricately study a project before taking it on, as it has a great impact on the company’s financial performance.
Some of the projects that use capital budgeting are investments in property, plants, and equipment, large advertising campaigns, and research and development projects.
The success of a business depends on the capital budgeting decisions taken by the management. The management of a company should analyze various factors before taking on a large project. Firstly, management should always keep in mind that capital expenditures require large outlays of funds. Secondly, firms should find modes to ascertain the best way to raise and repay the funds. The management should also keep in mind that capital budgeting requires a long-term commitment.
The requirement for relevant information and analysis of capital budgeting has paved the way for a series of models to assist firms in amassing the best of the allocated resources. One of the oldest methods used is the payback model; the process determines the length of time required for a business to recover its cash outlay. Another model, known as return on investment, evaluates the project based on standard historical cost accounting estimates.
Popular methods of capital budgeting include net present value (NPV), discounted cash flow (DCF), internal rate of return (IRR), and payback period.
While working with capital budgeting, a firm is involved in valuation of its business. By valuation, cash flow is identified and discounted at the present market value. In capital budgeting, valuation techniques are undertaken to analyze the impact of assets instead of financial assets.
The importance of capital budgeting is not the mechanics used, such as NPV and IRR, but is the varying key involved in forecasting cash flow. The importance of capital budgeting is not only its mechanics, but also the parameters of forecasting the incurrence of cash in the business.