Meaning of Capital Budgeting
Capital expenditure budget or capital budgeting is a process of making decisions regarding investments in fixed assets which are not meant for sale such as land, building, machinery or furniture.
The word investment refers to the expenditure which is required to be made in connection with the acquisition and the development of long-term facilities including fixed assets. It refers to process by which management selects those investment proposals which are worthwhile for investing available funds. For this purpose, management is to decide whether or not to acquire, or add to or replace fixed assets in the light of overall objectives of the firm.
What is capital expenditure, is a very difficult question to answer. The terms capital expenditure are associated with accounting. Normally capital expenditure is one which is intended to benefit future period i.e., in more than one year as opposed to revenue expenditure, the benefit of which is supposed to be exhausted within the year concerned.
Nature of Capital Budgeting
Nature of capital budgeting can be explained in brief as under
Capital expenditure plans involve a huge investment in fixed assets.
Capital expenditure once approved represents long-term investment that cannot be reserved or withdrawn without sustaining a loss.
Preparation of coital budget plans involve forecasting of several years profits in advance in order to judge the profitability of projects.
It may be asserted here that decision regarding capital investment should be taken very carefully so that the future plans of the company are not affected adversely.
Procedure of Capital Budgeting
Capital investment decision of the firm have a pervasive influence on the entire spectrum of entrepreneurial activities so the careful consideration should be regarded to all aspects of financial management.
In capital budgeting process, main points to be borne in mind how much money will be needed of implementing immediate plans, how much money is available for its completion and how are the available funds going to be assigned tote various capital projects under consideration. The financial policy and risk policy of the management should be clear in mind before proceeding to the capital budgeting process. The following procedure may be adopted in preparing capital budget :-
(1) Organisation of Investment Proposal. The first step in capital budgeting process is the conception of a profit making idea. The proposals may come from rank and file worker of any department or from any line officer. The department head collects all the investment proposals and reviews them in the light of financial and risk policies of the organisation in order to send them to the capital expenditure planning committee for consideration.
(2) Screening the Proposals. In large organisations, a capital expenditure planning committee is established for the screening of various proposals received by it from the heads of various departments and the line officers of the company. The committee screens the various proposals within the long-range policy-frame work of the organisation. It is to be ascertained by the committee whether the proposals are within the selection criterion of the firm, or they do no lead to department imbalances or they are profitable.
(3) Evaluation of Projects. The next step in capital budgeting process is to evaluate the different proposals in term of the cost of capital, the expected returns from alternative investment opportunities and the life of the assets with any of the following evaluation techniques:-
Degree of Urgency Method (Accounting Rate of return Method)
Return on investment Method
Discounted Cash Flow Method.
(4) Establishing Priorities. After proper screening of the proposals, uneconomic or unprofitable proposals are dropped. The profitable projects or in other words accepted projects are then put in priority. It facilitates their acquisition or construction according to the sources available and avoids unnecessary and costly delays and serious cot-overruns. Generally, priority is fixed in the following order.
Current and incomplete projects are given first priority.
Safety projects ad projects necessary to carry on the legislative requirements.
Projects of maintaining the present efficiency of the firm.
Projects for supplementing the income
Projects for the expansion of new product.
(5) Final Approval. Proposals finally recommended by the committee are sent to the top management along with the detailed report, both o the capital expenditure and of sources of funds to meet them. The management affirms its final seal to proposals taking in view the urgency, profitability of the projects and the available financial resources. Projects are then sent to the budget committee for incorporating them in the capital budget.
(6) Evaluation. Last but not the least important step in the capital budgeting process is an evaluation of the programme after it has been fully implemented. Budget proposals and the net investment in the projects are compared periodically and on the basis of such evaluation, the budget figures may be reviewer and presented in a more realistic way.
Significance of capital budgeting
The key function of the financial management is the selection of the most profitable assortment of capital investment and it is the most important area of decision-making of the financial manger because any action taken by the manger in this area affects the working and the profitability of the firm for many years to come.
The need of capital budgeting can be emphasised taking into consideration the very nature of the capital expenditure such as heavy investment in capital projects, long-term implications for the firm, irreversible decisions and complicates of the decision making. Its importance can be illustrated well on the following other grounds:-
(1) Indirect Forecast of Sales. The investment in fixed assets is related to future sales of the firm during the life time of the assets purchased. It shows the possibility of expanding the production facilities to cover additional sales shown in the sales budget. Any failure to make the sales forecast accurately would result in over investment or under investment in fixed assets and any erroneous forecast of asset needs may lead the firm to serious economic results.
(2) Comparative Study of Alternative Projects Capital budgeting makes a comparative study of the alternative projects for the replacement of assets which are wearing out or are in danger of becoming obsolete so as to make the best possible investment in the replacement of assets. For this purpose, the profitability of each projects is estimated.
(3) Timing of Assets-Acquisition. Proper capital budgeting leads to proper timing of assets-acquisition and improvement in quality of assets purchased. It is due to ht nature of demand and supply of capital goods. The demand of capital goods does not arise until sales impinge on productive capacity and such situation occur only intermittently. On the other hand, supply of capital goods with their availability is one of the functions of capital budgeting.
(4) Cash Forecast. Capital investment requires substantial funds which can only be arranged by making determined efforts to ensure their availability at the right time. Thus it facilitates cash forecast.
(5) Worth-Maximization of Shareholders. The impact of long-term capital investment decisions is far reaching. It protects the interests of the shareholders and of the enterprise because it avoids over-investment and under-investment in fixed assets. By selecting the most profitable projects, the management facilitates the wealth maximization of equity share-holders.
(6) Other Factors. The following other factors can also be considered for its significance:-
It assist in formulating a sound depreciation and assets replacement policy.
It may be useful n considering methods of coast reduction. A reduction campaign may necessitate the consideration of purchasing most up-to—date and modern equipment.
The feasibility of replacing manual work by machinery may be seen from the capital forecast be comparing the manual cost an the capital cost.
The capital cost of improving working conditions or safety can be obtained through capital expenditure forecasting.
It facilitates the management in making of the long-term plans an assists in the formulation of general policy.
It studies the impact of capital investment on the revenue expenditure of the firm such as depreciation, insure and there fixed assets.
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