Understanding the Discounted Cash Flow Method, and How to Use It
Recent statistics reveal that in 2021, the median sale price for small businesses was up 16% over the previous year. Median cash flow was up, too, by 11%. With a promising market, now is an excellent time to consider selling.
Before you decide if it is the best time to sell, you must determine what your business is worth. To determine business value, you must calculate your discounted cash flow. This is an analysis that investors and buyers will look at when they consider if your business is right for them and if the price is right.
If you are considering selling anytime in the future, keep reading for the full scoop.
What Is Discounted Cash Flow?
It’s a valuation technique. Discounted cash flow uses expected future cash flows along with a discounted rate. It estimates an investment’s present fair value.
This calculation focuses on TVM or the time value of money. TVM is a concept that professionals refer to when they believe that today’s money will be worth more tomorrow. It assumes that the dollars you use today will appreciate by investing today.
For modern finance, this is a pillar idea.
Why it’s Important
This model can estimate an asset’s value. It is a fundamental cash flow analysis technique. Discounted cash flow is both qualitative and quantitative by nature.
With the detailed assumptions from a DCF model, it can forecast future cash flow and potential business growth. Analysts must spend a lot of time with these assumptions, including considering environmental, economic, and social issues which can affect the cash flow in the future.
Estimating a Business Value
A discounted cash flow analysis is an industry-standard and comprehensive way to estimate an investment’s fair value. It helps to determine what a business will be worth.
There is a wide variety of data to consider when calculating discounted cash flow. This includes tax rates, the WACC, and the cost of equity.
The acronym stands for “weighted average cost of capital.”
It calculates an organization’s cost of capital. You weigh each category of capital proportionally. All sources of capital, which can include bonds, preferred stock, common stock, and other long-term debt, are a part of the WACC calculation.
Free Cash Flow
FCF is critical to the DCF model. It reduces the noise that financial reporting and accounting policies can create. A vital benefit of the discounted cash flow valuation is that this approach does not rely on market wide over or under-valuation.
It is imperative that the data in the discounted cash flow analysis is accurate. Otherwise, it will not be effective for your organization.
How Do You Calculate a Discounted Cash Flow?
It is a progressive and cumulative process because DCF depends on free cash flow. Free cash flow is how much cash a business creates following all cash outflows.
Accounting policies significantly impact financial statements because they include non-cash expenditures. Free cash flow measures profitability.
Here is the formula for finding free cash flow.
Free cash flow equals interest expense plus cash flow from operations, then subtracts tax shield on interest expense, and then subtracts CAPEX (capital expenditures).
Although, there are other ways you can calculate your free cash flow, too. Here are two more formulas.
Free cash flow equals [(1-Tax Rate) x EBIT] plus non-cash expenses, minus liabilities/change in current assets, and then subtract CAPEX.
Free cash flow equals interest expense plus net income, minus tax shield on interest expense plus non-cash expenses, minus liabilities/change in current assets, and then subtract CAPEX.
All these formulas will do the trick. Which one you use should depend on the information you have readily available.
Calculating Discounted Cash Flow
You can use this formula after you determine your free cash flow. Remember, the DCF relies on the discount rate. Here is the basic formula.
Discounted cash flow equals FCF1 divided by (1 plus r)¹, plus FCF2 divided by (1 plus r)², plus FCFn divided by (1 plus r) n.
Here are the different free cash flow figures and how you find them.
- FCF is the free cash flow for any given year
- FCF1 is the free cash flow for year one
- FCF2 is the free cash flow for year two
- FCFn is the free cash flow for each additional year
“N” stands for each additional year. “R” is the discount rate.
Why You Need DCF For Business Value
Discounted cash flow analysis is how you can provide a case for a company or asset’s present value and how much it could make a buyer in the future. You want to tell a story that your company or asset is making a certain amount today but will be much more worthwhile in the future. Investors and buyers want to see proof of business growth.
Projections can only go so far. Five to ten years is a typical timeframe for estimating future value.
The DCF Valuation method is sensitive to assumptions. Any minor tweak can make a tremendous fluctuation.
Get the Best Brokerage Service
If you are unsure about your discounted cash flow analysis, ask a professional to help. Fusion Business Services has been helping organizations for years determine their DCF and their business sales options.
They begin with an in-depth planning session that is totally confidential. If you have something on your mind regarding your business value, the professional at Fusion Business Services has the answers.
Contact Fusion Business Services today to learn more.