Return on Investment (ROI)

Profitability ratios Print Email

Definition of ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of investments. It directly compares the magnitude and timing of the benefits from an investment with the magnitude and timing of the costs of the investment. It is one of the most commonly used approaches to evaluating the financial consequences of business investments, decisions or actions.

If an investment has a positive ROI and there are no other opportunities with a higher ROI, then the investment should be undertaken. A higher ROI means that investment gains compare favorably to investment costs.

ROI is an important financial metric for:

  • asset purchase decisions (such as computer systems, machinery, or service vehicles)
  • approval and funding decisions for projects and programs of different types (for example marketing programs, recruiting programs, and training programs)
  • traditional investment decisions (for example management of stock portfolios or the use of venture capital).

ROI  Formula

ROI tells us how much profit has been generated for each dollar invested. To calculate return on investment, the benefits (or returns) of an investment are divided by the costs of the investment. The result can be expressed as a percentage or a ratio.

ROI Formula

where: Cost of Investment = Total Cost of Acquisition + Cost of Ownership.

It should be noted that the definition and formula of return on investment can be modified to suit the circumstances - it all depends on what is included as returns and costs. For example to measure the profitability of a company the following formula can be used to calculate return on investment. For example, it can be calculated as Net Profit divided by Total Assets. Where Net Profit = Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold – Operating Expenses – Taxes

Example of ROI Calculation 

To calculate ROI, you need to know the net profit generated by an investment and the cost of that investment. Let's consider an example to illustrate how ROI can be calculated:

Suppose you own a small business that sells handmade jewelry. You are considering investing $10,000 in a new marketing campaign to increase sales. The marketing campaign runs for three months and generates $30,000 in additional revenue. The cost of goods sold and operating expenses for the three months is $15,000, and the tax rate is 25%. The cost of acquiring the marketing campaign is $2,000.

Using the formula for calculating ROI, we can calculate the ROI for this investment as follows:

Net Profit = (Revenue - Cost of Goods Sold - Operating Expenses - Taxes) = ($30,000 - $15,000 - $15,000 - ($30,000 - $15,000 - $15,000) x 25%) = $8,250

Cost of Investment = Total Cost of Acquisition + Cost of Ownership = $2,000 + $10,000 = $12,000

ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100 = ($8,250 / $12,000) x 100 = 68.75%

In this example, the ROI for the marketing campaign is 68.75%. This means that for every dollar invested in the marketing campaign, $0.68 was generated in profit.

ROI Benchmark

A ROI benchmark is a reference point used to evaluate the performance of an investment or investment portfolio against a standard measure. ROI benchmarks are important because they provide a basis for comparison, allowing investors to determine whether their investment is generating a positive return relative to other investments or industry standards.

There are several types of ROI benchmarks, each of which is used to measure the performance of different types of investments or investment strategies. Some common types of ROI benchmarks include:

  1. Market Index Benchmark: This type of benchmark measures the performance of an investment relative to a specific market index, such as the S&P 500. Market index benchmarks are commonly used to evaluate the performance of equity investments, such as stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

  2. Peer Group Benchmark: A peer group benchmark compares the performance of an investment to other similar investments within the same industry or category. This type of benchmark is commonly used for private equity or venture capital investments, where there may not be a readily available market index.

  3. Absolute Return Benchmark: An absolute return benchmark measures the performance of an investment relative to a specific target return, such as a fixed-income index. Absolute return benchmarks are commonly used to evaluate the performance of fixed-income investments or hedge funds.

  4. Risk-Adjusted Benchmark: This type of benchmark measures the performance of an investment relative to the level of risk involved. Risk-adjusted benchmarks are commonly used for evaluating the performance of portfolios that invest in a mix of different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and commodities.

In addition to these common types of benchmarks, there are also many industry-specific benchmarks that are used to evaluate the performance of investments in particular sectors, such as real estate or energy.

When choosing a benchmark, it is important to select one that is appropriate for the specific investment or investment strategy being evaluated. The benchmark should be based on the same asset class or investment category, have a similar risk profile, and have a comparable time horizon.

Importance of ROI

ROI is a crucial measure for a number of reasons. First off, it assists companies in determining the return on an investment and formulating plans for future investments. Decision-makers can decide if an investment is likely to produce a good return by evaluating the ROI of a possible investment.

Second, ROI aids companies in efficient resource allocation. Businesses can concentrate their resources on the investments that are yielding the highest returns by recognizing which ones they are, and they can decrease their investment in those areas.

Finally, ROI can be used to compare the profitability of different investments. By comparing the ROI of different investments, businesses can determine which investments are likely to generate the highest returns and make more informed investment decisions.

ROI's Limitations

Despite being a helpful statistic, ROI has significant drawbacks. First of all, ROI disregards the time worth of money. In other words, it disregards the idea that money today is worth more than money tomorrow. When comparing investments with various time horizons, this could be a problem.

Second, ROI does not take into account the risk involved in an investment. A prudent investor might not want to make a high Return investment because it may carry more risk than a low ROI investment.

Thirdly, ROI does not consider the opportunity cost of an investment. Opportunity cost is the cost of forgoing the next best alternative investment. For example, if an investor chooses to invest in a project with a low ROI instead of a project with a higher ROI, the opportunity cost is the potential profit that could have been made from the higher ROI project.

Finally, ROI does not consider non-financial factors such as social or environmental impact. While ROI is an important metric for evaluating financial performance, it should not be the only factor considered when making investment decisions.

Login to ReadyRatios


Have you forgotten your password?

Are you a new user?

Login As
You can log in if you are registered at one of these services: