Project Appraisal Techniques

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Project appraisal techniques are used to evaluate possible investment opportunities and to determine which of these opportunities will generate the best return to the firm’s shareholders. Therefore, it is vital for the firm if they wish to continue receiving funds from shareholders to employ the best techniques available when analysing which investment opportunities will give the best return. There are two types of project appraisal techniques: non-discounted cash flows and discounted cash flows. The Net Present Value and internal rate of return, examples of discounted cash flows, are in use in many large corporations and regarded as more effective than the traditional techniques of payback and accounting rate of return. In this paper, I will examine the use of the Net Present Value, and the provisions it makes for specific cases, such as unequal lives and mutually exclusive projects. Then I will conclude with the technique that has been proved the best for investment appraisal through the analysis and comparison of project appraisal techniques.

The Net Present Value (NPV) method is used by 75% of firms when deciding on investment projects. The reasons for its wide use is that firstly, the NPV rule takes into account the time value of money, meaning that it recognises that a pound today is worth more than a pound tomorrow as the pound today can be invested to start earning interest immediately. Secondly, NPV depends solely on the forecasted cash flows from the project and the opportunity cost of capital. And the final reason for its preference is because the present values are all measured in today’s pounds they have the property of additivity. This property is important as it helps managers to not be misled into accepting a low NPV project just because it is packaged with a high NPV project (Brealey and Myers 116-19). Other reasons for this widely used technique by managers are that it facilitates the managers’ work since the NPV calculation includes...
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