Impact Makers Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Impact Makers case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Impact Makers case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Pat Werhane, Jenny Mead, Edward D. Hess. The Impact Makers (referred as “Makers Impact” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Leadership & Managing People. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Ethics, Growth strategy, Leadership, Social enterprise, Social responsibility, Sustainability.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment

Case Description of Impact Makers Case Study

Michael Pirron was a health care services consultant who had always dreamed of starting a "Nonprofit Competitive Business" with a social mission. In 2006, he launched Impact Makers, a new hybrid entity that crossed the nonprofit/for-profit lines. Although it was a small business like many others (paying competitive salaries, bidding for work, providing professional services at market prices), Impact Makers had several unique components: It would contribute strategic consulting, and all profits, to charitable community organizations; there was no stock and equity ownership; it had a volunteer board of directors and its financial information was open to the public. The first two years saw some successes and some setbacks. Impact Makers faced the challenges of growth: how to get more customers, more revenue, and a more predictable revenue stream. How would Impact Makers raise investment capital with its unique organizational structure? And how would the company survive?

Case Authors : Pat Werhane, Jenny Mead, Edward D. Hess

Topic : Leadership & Managing People

Related Areas : Ethics, Growth strategy, Leadership, Social enterprise, Social responsibility, Sustainability

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Impact Makers Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027746) -10027746 - -
Year 1 3468717 -6559029 3468717 0.9434 3272375
Year 2 3972667 -2586362 7441384 0.89 3535659
Year 3 3950594 1364232 11391978 0.8396 3316995
Year 4 3250257 4614489 14642235 0.7921 2574508
TOTAL 14642235 12699537

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2671791

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting

What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.

Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting

There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Net Present Value
2. Payback Period
3. Internal Rate of Return
4. Profitability Index

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Makers Impact have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.
2. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Makers Impact shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Impact Makers

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Leadership & Managing People Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Makers Impact often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Makers Impact needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027746) -10027746 - -
Year 1 3468717 -6559029 3468717 0.8696 3016276
Year 2 3972667 -2586362 7441384 0.7561 3003907
Year 3 3950594 1364232 11391978 0.6575 2597580
Year 4 3250257 4614489 14642235 0.5718 1858345
TOTAL 10476107

The Net NPV after 4 years is 448361

(10476107 - 10027746 )

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%

If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027746) -10027746 - -
Year 1 3468717 -6559029 3468717 0.8333 2890598
Year 2 3972667 -2586362 7441384 0.6944 2758797
Year 3 3950594 1364232 11391978 0.5787 2286223
Year 4 3250257 4614489 14642235 0.4823 1567446
TOTAL 9503064

The Net NPV after 4 years is -524682

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9503064 - 10027746 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Makers Impact to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.

Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Makers Impact has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Makers Impact can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Makers Impact, then the stock price of the Makers Impact should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Makers Impact should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.

References & Further Readings

Pat Werhane, Jenny Mead, Edward D. Hess (2018), "Impact Makers Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.