PAYBACK PERIOD Definition

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PAYBACK PERIOD, in capital budgeting, is the length of time needed to recoup the cost of CAPITAL INVESTMENT. The payback period is the ratio of the initial investment (cash outlay, regardless of the source of the cash) to the annual cash inflows for the recovery period. The major shortcoming for the payback period method is that it does not take into account cash flows after the payback period and is therefore not a measure of the profitability of an investment project. For this reason, analysts generally prefer the DISCOUNTED CASH FLOW methods of capital budgeting; primarily, the INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN and the NET PRESENT VALUE methods.

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MONEY MEASUREMENT PRINCIPLE see MONEY MEASUREMENT CONCEPT.

RESPONSIBILITY ACCOUNTING is the collection, summarization, and reporting of financial information about various decision centers throughout an organization; can also be called profitability accounting or activity accounting. It tracks costs, revenues, or profits to the individual managers who are responsible for making the decisions about costs, revenues, or profits and taking action about them.

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