“Do You Know Your Cost of Capital?” by Jacobs & Shivdasani


The cost of capital denotes the cost of a company’s finances (debt as well as equity), or, from an investor’s viewpoint, the necessary rate of return on a firm’s extant securities. It is employed in the evaluation of novel projects of firms and is the minimum return, which investors anticipate for offering capital to the firm, hence setting a target that the projects have to satisfy. For a venture to be worthwhile, the anticipated return on capital must be greater as compared to the cost of capital. Attributable to the rate of competing venture opportunities, financiers are anticipated to set their capital in operation to capitalize on the return.

Description of the Analysis

Jacobs and Shivdasani (2012) affirm that how executives decide to spend huge quantities of capital will propel corporate policies and establish their firms’ competitiveness for the subsequent years of operation (par. 1-4). Hence, the existence of a successful management system, in a firm and across a nation’s financial system, assists in the provision of a level of confidence that is essential for the appropriate operations of market undertakings. Consequently, the cost of capital is lesser, and companies are persuaded to employ their resources more expeditiously, thereby fortifying development. In the short run, the current capital budgeting determinations will sway the developed world’s unceasing unemployment condition and lackadaisical economic upturn. Though the chances for venture differ dramatically across firms and industries, an individual would anticipate the practice of assessing monetary returns of ventures to be somewhat consistent. In any case, the schools of business educate more or less similar assessment practices.

It is not a shocker that in a survey carried out by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), eighty percent of over 300 respondents and ninety percent of the individuals having more than one billion dollars in revenues employed discounted cash-flow analysis. Such an analysis depends on free-cash-flow projections to approximate the worth of a venture to a company, which the cost of capital (the calculated average of the outlays of debt along with equity) discounts (Jacobs and Shivdasani par. 5-9). To approximate their outlay of equity, nearly ninety percent of the respondents employ the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) that measures the return necessitated by a venture on account of the affiliated risk. Anticipations regarding returns establish not just what project managers may and may not venture in, but also if the firm advances fiscally.

Report on the Findings

About 50 percent of the respondents to the Association for Financial Professionals study admitted that the rate of discount they employ is probable of being at least one percent higher or lower than the firm’s actual rate, implying that scores of enviable ventures are being turned down and economically uncertain schemes are being financed. It is not possible to establish the exact impact of such miscalculations, though the scale begins to become clear by looking at how firms characteristically react with a decrease in the cost of capital by one percent. This is evidently consequential, especially in the present financial situation (Jacobs and Shivdasani par. 10-23). Because the cost of capital denotes a hurdle rate, which firms have to triumph over before it generates value, it is extensively employed in the capital budgeting practice to establish whether the firm ought to carry on with a venture.

Works Cited

Jacobs, Michael, and Anil Shivdasani. “Do you know your cost of capital?” Harvard Business Review, 2012. Web.

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