Profitability Index Calculator

Calculate profitability index, NPV & expected cash flows. Easily analyze investments over custom periods. Optimize decisions efficiently.

Result Profitability Index (PI) $0 Net Present Value (NPV) $0 Expected Cash Flows $0 Total Periods (years, months, etc) 0

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Profitability Index Formula

The profitability index formula, also known as the profit investment ratio or value investment ratio, is calculated by dividing the present value of future cash flows by the initial investment. It is expressed as:

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

A profitability index greater than 1 indicates a potentially profitable investment, while an index less than 1 suggests the investment may not be worthwhile. It helps investors evaluate the value of an investment relative to its cost over time.

Profitability Index Meaning

The profitability index (PI) is a financial metric used to evaluate the potential profitability of an investment relative to its cost.

A PI greater than 1 indicates that the present value of future cash flows exceeds the initial investment, suggesting a potentially profitable investment opportunity.

Conversely, a PI less than 1 suggests that the investment may not generate sufficient returns to justify its cost. By comparing PI values of different investment options, investors can prioritize projects and make informed decisions about resource allocation.

Profitability Index Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Accounts for time value of money: The profitability index considers the timing of cash flows, reflecting the time value of money.
  • Easy comparison: It allows for easy comparison of investment projects by quantifying their profitability relative to cost.
  • Accounts for project scale: PI can accommodate projects of varying sizes and durations, making it versatile for different investment scenarios.


  • Assumes accurate cash flow estimation: The accuracy of PI calculations relies heavily on the accuracy of estimated cash flows, which may be uncertain.
  • Does not consider project size: PI may favor smaller projects with higher PI values, even if larger projects could generate higher absolute returns.
  • Does not account for risk: PI does not incorporate risk considerations, potentially leading to suboptimal investment decisions in riskier projects.

Profitability Index vs. Net Present Value (NPV)

Profitability Index (PI)

  • Ratio of present value of future cash flows to initial investment.
  • Measures profitability relative to the cost of investment.
  • Allows for easy comparison of projects of varying sizes and durations.

Net Present Value (NPV)

  • Represents the difference between present value of cash inflows and outflows.
  • Measures absolute profitability by accounting for the initial investment.
  • Considers the time value of money but does not directly address project scale.


  • PI is a ratio, while NPV is an absolute monetary value.
  • PI facilitates comparison of projects with different scales, while NPV provides a straightforward measure of investment profitability.
  • NPV directly accounts for the initial investment, while PI focuses on the ratio of cash flows to investment cost.

Both metrics are valuable tools in investment analysis, with PI offering insights into relative profitability and NPV providing a clear indicator of project value.

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