What Is Discounted Cash Flow?

It is the concept of realizing the worth of a monetary amount that you currently own may be worth more in the future.


You might be wondering what discounted cash flow is? It is a type of analytic method used for valuing certain elements using the concepts of the time value of money. The elements that are valued are usually assets, security, and the company’s status.

To put it in simpler terms, the method is used to evaluate the value of an investment based on its future profits. The discounted cash flow analysis is important for attaining foresight. It helps a company, business, or organization gain clarity. It gives them the confidence on whether to invest in a particular thing or not. Thus, through this method, a company can avoid pitfalls and detect loopholes.

“Never take your eyes off the cash flow because it’s the life blood of business.” ~ Richard Branson

Where Can It Be Used?

If a company wants to invest in new technology, startup, venture, etc, this analytical method will help them. Thus, a company can know whether this investment will be useful or not. The present value of the future expected cash flows is determined by using a discount rate. A discount rate helps in calculating the discounted cash flow.

If the discounted cash flow exceeds the current cost of the investment, then there will be profit. The discount rate is determined by using the weighted average cost of the capital. This method helps in determining the rate of return expected by shareholders.

What Is The Time Value Of Money?

It is the concept of understanding the value of a monetary amount that you currently possess. That certain monetary amount could provide more value in the future. Thus, the concept of the time value of money is used to determine the future profits that can be generated through the current financial amount.

For example, if a monetary amount is deposited in a savings account, it earns an interest rate, and its value increases. Thus the time value of money is used to determine the above phenomenon.

How Does The Discounted Cash Flow Work?

It is very crucial to know whether your current investment will be profitable in the future. A discounted cash flow analysis serves as a backbone for an organization’s sustenance. Thus, a company will know whether the returns or profit will be equal to or more than the current value of an investment. If the profits or returns are more, then the investment should be considered.

It is crucial to determine a discount rate to go about the process. The discount may vary based on the nature of the investment, project, conditions of the capital markets, etc.

Companies tend to use the investment’s weighted average cost of capital as a discount rate. Now you might be wondering what the weighted average cost of capital is? It is a method used to calculate the cost of capital. Every source of capital is measured proportionately. Capitals such as common stock, preferred stock, bonds, etc are included in it. So, if your company’s weighted average cost of capital is 5%, then your discount will be 5% too.

The process of calculating the discounted cash flow is simple. Three steps make up the process. Firstly, you forecast the expected cash flows. Then you select a discount rate. The discount will mostly depend on the cost of the investment. The final step is to discount the expected cash flows back to the present day. It can be done by using a financial calculator, spreadsheet, mobile app etc.

Key Things To Know

There are many advantages of the discounted cash flow method. But it has some limitations as well. It requires making lots of assumptions. Sometimes they can turn out to be inaccurate. The expected cash flow or profit relies on numerous factors. The factors are market demand, the current economic status, technology, competition, etc.

If the cash flows are estimated to be too high, there is a lesser chance of obtaining profit. Also, a very low cash flow can prove to be detrimental as well. So, it is of the utmost importance to estimate the right value through assumptions.

Is The Method Same As Net Present Value?

Discounted cash flow and Net Present value seem to be the same concept, but they are in fact not similar. Although they are closely related. A discounted cash flow has three steps to execute the process. But a net present value includes a fourth step. The fourth step deducts the upfront cost of the investment from the discounted cash flow.

Why Is Discounted Cash Flow Needed?

Suppose you are planning to start your own company, startup, or project, then it is crucial to know whether it will bring profit or not. It is essential to know whether your investment will provide value to you in the future. It is not ideal to blindly invest in something without knowing its estimated value.

A good investment can skyrocket your company’s growth. It can increase your brand’s reach. It is crucial to invest in important things that can propel your business forward. A discounted cash flow analysis will ensure that the investment is worth taking or not. It can save you from many losses. It will help you manage your investments smartly.

You want to feel secure when investing in something. You can’t expect to invest in something without knowing its future value. So, a discounted cash flow analysis is essential.

It will give you strong foresight and insight as well. Thus, through it, you can know whether the investment is practical or not. It will help you in choosing better investments for the future. So, it is essential to get clarified through a discounted cash flow analysis. Thus, through this, you will be able to invest smartly.


A discounted cash flow analysis can help you in many ways. So, it is crucial to go about this process. It will help you manage your business and succeed greatly. You will get a bird’ eye view of your company’s actions. Thus, you will be able to maneuver wisely.

Peter Drucker quoted that ‘Entrepreneurs believe that profit is what matters most in a new enterprise. But profit is secondary. Cash flow matters most.’ When you conduct a DCF analysis it attempts to figure out what would be a valuable investment in the present while drawing projections of how much money it will generate in the near future.

You will acquire an extra edge by going for this method. You will be far ahead in the competitive market. It will simply be due to a discounted cash flow analysis. You will know what to invest in and when to invest. So, don’t wait and seize the opportunity! Do a discounted cash flow method to ensure your company’s sustenance and success.

Apps like Moolamore, helps you manage cash flows and gain foresight. It helps you determine the expected cash flows. Thus, you will in turn gain immense clarity and work to help you understand your business better with DCF. With the help of such technologies, you can now manage your discounted cash flows.