Enter your values in the *Profitability Index* calculator below. This calculator also works for uneven or irregular cash flows.

*(Multiple cash flow separated by comma)*:

## How to use this Profitability Index (PI) Calculator

- Enter the value of the interest rate (without a percentage sign)
- Enter the value of the initial investment
- Enter the future cash flows (if you are calculating PI for multiple years, enter the comma-separated values of the series of future cash flows. You can also use uneven or irregular cash flows.
- You can see the result below calculated automatically which shows the Profitability Index, Present Value and Net Present Value for the given investment parameters

Making a wise investment requires carefully evaluating potential returns versus risks. The profitability index is a useful financial metric that helps determine if a project or investment is worthwhile. The above profitability index calculator evaluates an investment’s profitability based on the initial investment and future cash flows.

## What is the Profitability Index?

The profitability index (PI) measures the expected value an investment will generate relative to its initial cost. It is calculated by dividing the present value of future cash flows by the initial investment required.

## Profitability Index Formula**:**

Profitability Index = Present Value of Future Cash Flows / Initial Investment

A profitability index greater than 1.0 indicates the investment is expected to be profitable. The higher the PI, the better the expected return.

## How to Calculate the Profitability Index

Follow these steps to determine the profitability index of a potential investment:

- Project the cash inflows and outflows over the lifetime of the investment using a discounted cash flow analysis.
- Calculate the present value of the future cash flows. This is done by discounting the projected cash flows back to the present, using a discount rate like the cost of capital.
- Determine the upfront investment amount needed.
- Divide the present value of cash flows by the initial investment.

Let’s say you calculate the present value of future cash flows from a potential project, and it comes out to $10,000. In order to undertake this project, you determine you would need to make an initial investment of $5,000.

To calculate the profitability index, you would divide the present value of $10,000 by the initial investment of $5,000. This gives you a profitability index of 2.

What does this mean? It means that for every $1 invested initially, the project is expected to generate $2 in value. So in this example, the investment is expected to produce twice as much value as the amount of money invested to get it started. A profitability index greater than 1 indicates the project is likely to be quite profitable, making it an attractive investment opportunity.

You can put these values in the above profitability index calculator and see the same results.

## Why the Profitability Index Matters

The profitability index provides crucial information to help guide investment decisions:

- It measures expected profitability rather than just the total dollar value. This allows for comparing investments of different sizes.
- The initial investment is considered, not just future cash flows. This accounts for both returns and costs.
- It prioritizes returns per unit of investment. A higher PI indicates greater efficiency.
- PI values can be compared across potential projects and investments. This helps allocate resources to the most profitable options.

## Limitations to Consider

While insightful, the profitability index also has some limitations to keep in mind:

- It relies on cash flow projections, which can be uncertain and involve assumptions.
- It focuses on profitability rather than other factors like timing, payback period, or risk.
- It should be used along with other metrics like NPV, IRR, and payback period for a complete analysis.

## Conclusion

Calculating the profitability index is a valuable way for investors to gauge potential returns versus the capital required. Using the PI metric along with other financial measures allows for robust investment decision-making.

## Frequently Asked Questions

### What is a good profitability index value?

A PI of 1.0 breaks even. Anything higher is profitable, with numbers above 1.25 considered very good. Projects with a PI under 1.0 should be avoided.

### Can PI be used to rank investment options?

Yes, PI provides a means of ranking competing projects by the expected return on investment. Options can be prioritized from highest to lowest PI.

### What discount rate should be used to calculate PI?

Typically the firm’s cost of capital is used as the discount rate. This represents the minimum return threshold for worthwhile investments.

### Can PI and NPV conflict in ranking projects?

It’s possible for NPV and PI to rank projects differently. In that case, both metrics provide useful perspectives to make an informed decision.