Net Present Value

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)


Term Definition
Net Present Value

The present value of future cash flows generated by an investment, considering the time value of money and a discount rate

In finance, Net Present Value (NPV) refers to the present value of all future cash flows (both incoming and outgoing) associated with an investment or project, discounted back to their present worth. Essentially, it tells you the current value of an investment considering the time value of money.

Here's a breakdown:

Key aspects:

  • Time value of money: Money received today is worth more than the same amount received in the future, as you can invest it and earn a return.
  • Discounted cash flows: Future cash flows are adjusted to their present value using a discount rate, which reflects the opportunity cost of capital.
  • Positive NPV: Indicates a profitable investment, as the present value of future cash inflows exceeds the initial investment.
  • Negative NPV: Suggests an unprofitable investment, as the present value of future cash inflows is less than the initial investment.
  • Zero NPV: Represents a break-even scenario, where the present value of future cash flows equals the initial investment.


  • Capital budgeting: Assessing the profitability of potential investments before allocating capital.
  • Project evaluation: Comparing different project options and choosing the one with the highest NPV.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: Valuing companies and determining fair acquisition prices.


The NPV is calculated using the following formula:

NPV = Σ (CFt / (1 + r)^t) - Initial Investment


  • CFt: Cash flow in year t
  • r: Discount rate
  • t: Time period

Additional notes:

  • The discount rate is crucial and can significantly impact the NPV. Higher discount rates lead to lower NPVs.
  • NPV should be used in conjunction with other financial metrics for a comprehensive investment analysis.
Synonyms: NPV