Investment decisions are the decisions taken in respect of the big capital expenditure projects. Such expenditures may involve investment in plant and machinery, vehicles, etc. Common characteristic of such expenditures is that they involve stream of cash inflows in future and initial cash outflow or a series of outflows.
Financial management is not only concerned with sourcing of funds, effective utilization of such funds is equally important to successfully achieve the corporate objective of ‘wealth maximization’. Effective utilization of funds can be achieved by investing them in productive activities or assets. Such decisions of selecting the right avenue of investment for relatively longer term are called investment decisions.
Business assets can be broadly classified into two categories namely short-term or current assets and long-term or fixed assets. Investment decisions are mainly concerned with the latter i.e. fixed assets which generally involve big cash flows and big initial capital investment. Investment decisions are also known as capital investment decisions because of the involvement of huge capital requirement.
A steel manufacturer considering investment in new plant and machinery, a service oriented company thinking of introducing new and improved organization wide software, a pharmaceutical company thinking of buying patents for certain drugs. Such circumstances involve big investment decisions. A wrong decision at any of these stages can make thing worse than one can expect. Such decisions are very long term decisions and involve huge investment of money, human resource and other assets. So, it’s not a frequent situation for a business and right decision making is very essential. Else, circumstances can be horrible for all concerned with them.
Now, the question is how to make sure that the decision is correct and rational. In a profit oriented organization, it is simple to decide on to the objective of investing. The decision would be considered appropriate if it is a profitable investment and enhances wealth of the shareholders. Capital budgeting techniques are utilized to do investment appraisal for such investments.
There are some capital budgeting techniques which assist an entrepreneur in deciding whether to invest in a particular asset or not. The analysis is based on the cash flows generated by using those assets and initial or future outlays required for acquisition of the asset. Such investment techniques or capital budgeting techniques are broadly divided into two criteria:
Discounting Cash Flow Criteria:
Discounting cash flow criteria has three techniques for evaluating an investment.
- Net Present Value (NPV)
- Benefit to Cost Ratio
- Internal Rate of Return
Non-Discounting Cash Flow Criteria:
Non-discounting cash flow criteria have two techniques for evaluation of investment.
- Payback Period
- Accounting Rate of Return