accounting rate o return advantages and disadvantages

When it comes to assessing the profitability of an investment, one tool that is commonly used is the Accounting Rate of Return (ARR). The ARR measures the average annual profit an investment is expected to generate, expressed as a percentage of the initial investment. It is an important metric for decision-making in the business world. In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of using the Accounting Rate of Return as a financial evaluation method.

1. Simplicity1. Ignores time value of money
2. Easy comparison2. Ignores cash flows after payback period
3. Useful for short-term projects3. Ignores risk and uncertainty
4. Provides initial overview4. Relies on accounting profit


1. Simplicity: One of the major advantages of using the Accounting Rate of Return is its simplicity. It is easy to calculate and understand, making it accessible to managers and investors alike. With its straightforward formula, ARR allows for quick assessments of potential investments without the need for complex mathematical calculations or specialized knowledge.

2. Easy comparison: ARR enables easy comparison between different investment opportunities. By calculating and comparing the accounting rates of return for various projects, decision-makers can identify the most lucrative option. This makes the decision-making process more efficient and transparent, enabling businesses to allocate their resources effectively.

3. Useful for short-term projects: The Accounting Rate of Return is particularly useful for evaluating short-term projects. Since ARR focuses on the profitability of an investment over a specific period, it provides a reliable metric for decision-making in projects with shorter duration. This allows businesses to quickly assess the viability of potential investments without having to project far into the future.

4. Provides initial overview: ARR can be a valuable tool for initial evaluations. It offers a preliminary overview of the profitability of an investment, helping decision-makers to prioritize opportunities. By identifying investments with higher ARR values, businesses can focus their attention on projects with the potential to generate significant returns.


1. Ignores time value of money: One of the main drawbacks of using the Accounting Rate of Return is its failure to consider the time value of money. ARR does not take into account the fact that money today is worth more than the same amount of money in the future due to inflation and the opportunity cost of capital. This limitation can lead to inaccurate evaluations of investment opportunities.

2. Ignores cash flows after payback period: Another disadvantage of ARR is that it disregards cash flows beyond the payback period. Since the focus is solely on the average annual profit, any cash flows that occur after the payback period are not taken into consideration. This can result in an incomplete picture of an investment’s long-term profitability.

3. Ignores risk and uncertainty: The Accounting Rate of Return does not account for risk and uncertainty. It relies solely on the accounting profit, without considering the potential risks and uncertainties associated with an investment. This can be problematic, as investments with higher returns may also carry higher risks. Ignoring this aspect may lead to poor decision-making and investment choices.

4. Relies on accounting profit: ARR relies on accounting profit, which is subject to manipulation and can be influenced by various accounting policies and practices. This dependence on accounting figures may not accurately reflect the actual profitability of an investment. It is essential to consider other financial metrics and factors before making investment decisions.

Benefits of Knowing the Accounting Rate of Return Advantages and Disadvantages

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the Accounting Rate of Return is crucial for making informed financial decisions. By being aware of its limitations, decision-makers can avoid overlooking critical factors that could affect the accuracy of investment evaluations. Additionally, knowing the advantages enables businesses to utilize ARR effectively in appropriate situations, such as short-term projects or preliminary assessments. This knowledge empowers managers and investors to employ a more comprehensive approach to financial evaluations, incorporating other metrics and considering the broader context of investments.

In conclusion, the Accounting Rate of Return offers simplicity and easy comparison, making it useful for initial assessments and short-term projects. However, it has drawbacks such as ignoring the time value of money, cash flows beyond the payback period, risk, and uncertainty, as well as potential manipulation of accounting profit. By understanding both the advantages and disadvantages, decision-makers can make more informed and accurate investment decisions, maximizing the potential returns for their organizations.