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Accounting Rate of Return (ARR)

Accounting Rate of Return (ARR)

What Is the Accounting Rate of Return (ARR)?

The accounting rate of return (ARR) is a formula that mirrors the percentage rate of return expected on an investment or asset, compared to the initial investment's cost. The ARR formula partitions an asset's average revenue by the company's initial investment to determine the ratio or return that one might anticipate over the lifetime of an asset or project. ARR doesn't consider the time value of money or cash flows, which can be a fundamental part of keeping a business.

Understanding the Accounting Rate of Return (ARR)

The accounting rate of return is a capital budgeting metric that is valuable to rapidly work out an investment's profitability. Businesses use ARR essentially to compare numerous projects to determine the expected rate of return of each project, or to assist with settling on an investment or a acquisition.

ARR factors in any conceivable annual expenses, including depreciation, associated with the project. Depreciation is a useful accounting convention by which the cost of a fixed asset is spread out, or expensed, annually during the helpful life of the asset. This allows the company to earn a profit from the asset right away, even in its most memorable year of service.

The Formula for ARR

The formula for the accounting rate of return is as per the following:
ARR=Averageโ€‰Annualโ€‰ProfitInitialโ€‰InvestmentARR = \frac{Average, Annual, Profit}{Initial, Investment}

Instructions to Calculate the Accounting Rate of Return (ARR)

  1. Compute the annual net profit from the investment, which could incorporate revenue minus any annual costs or expenses of executing the project or investment.
  2. On the off chance that the investment is a fixed asset like property, plant, and equipment (PP&E), deduct any depreciation expense from the annual revenue to accomplish the annual net profit.
  3. Partition the annual net profit by the initial cost of the asset or investment. The consequence of the calculation will yield a decimal. Increase the outcome by 100 to show the percentage return as a whole number.

Illustration of the Accounting Rate of Return (ARR)

For instance, a business is thinking about a project that has an initial investment of $250,000 and conjectures that it would generate revenue for the next five years. This is the way the company could work out the ARR:

  • Initial investment: $250,000
  • Expected revenue each year: $70,000
  • Time span: 5 years
  • ARR calculation: $70,000 (annual revenue)/$250,000 (initial cost)
  • ARR = 0.28 or 28%

Accounting Rate of Return versus Required Rate of Return

The ARR is the annual percentage return from an investment in view of its initial outlay of cash. Another accounting device, the required rate of return (RRR), otherwise called the hurdle rate, is the base return an investor would acknowledge for an investment or project that repays them for a given level of risk.

The required rate of return (RRR) can be calculated by utilizing either the dividend discount model or the capital asset pricing model.

The RRR can shift between investors as they each have an alternate tolerance for risk. For instance, a risk-loath investor probably would require a higher rate of return to make up for any risk from the investment. It's important to use numerous financial metrics including ARR and RRR to determine assuming an investment would be worthwhile in view of your level of risk tolerance.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Accounting Rate of Return (ARR)


The accounting rate of return is a simple calculation that doesn't need complex math and is useful in determining a project's annual percentage rate of return. Through this, it permits managers to compare ARR to the base required return without any problem. For instance, on the off chance that the base required return of a project is 12% and ARR is 9%, a manager will know not to continue with the project.

ARR proves to be useful when investors or managers need to rapidly compare the return of a project without expecting to consider the time period or payment schedule but instead just the profitability or lack thereof.


Regardless of its benefits, ARR has its limitations. It doesn't consider the time value of money. The time value of money is the concept that money available right now is worth in excess of an indistinguishable sum in the future due to its potential earning capacity.

As such, two investments could yield uneven annual revenue streams. On the off chance that one project returns more revenue in the early years and the other project returns revenue in the later years, ARR doesn't assign a higher value to the project that returns profits sooner, which could be reinvested to earn more money.

The time value of money is the fundamental concept of the discounted cash flow model, which better determines the value of an investment as it looks to determine the current value of future cash flows.

The accounting rate of return doesn't consider the increased risk of long-term projects and the increased vulnerability associated with long periods.

Likewise, ARR doesn't consider the impact of cash flow timing. Suppose an investor is thinking about a five-year investment with an initial cash outlay of $50,000, however the investment yields no revenue until the fourth and fifth years.

In this case, the ARR calculation wouldn't factor in that frame of mind of cash flow in the initial three years, while in reality, the investor would should have the option to endure the initial three years with no positive cash flow from the project.


  • Determines a project's annual rate of return

  • Simple comparison to minimum rate of return

  • Ease of use/Simple Calculation

  • Provides clear profitability


  • Does not consider the time value of money

  • Does not factor in long-term risk

  • Does not account for cash flow timing

## The Bottom Line

The accounting rate of return (ARR) is a simple formula that permits investors and managers to determine the profitability of an asset or project. In light of its usability and determination of profitability, it is a convenient device in simply deciding. Be that as it may, the formula doesn't think about the cash flows of an investment or project, the overall course of events of return, and different costs, which assist with determining the true value of an investment or project.


  • ARR is not the same as the required rate of return (RRR), which is the base return an investor would acknowledge for an investment or project that remunerates them for a given level of risk.
  • ARR is calculated as average annual profit/initial investment.
  • ARR is regularly utilized while thinking about numerous projects, as it gives the expected rate of return from each project.
  • One of the limitations of ARR is that it doesn't separate between investments that yield different cash flows over the lifetime of the project.
  • The accounting rate of return (ARR) formula is useful in determining the annual percentage rate of return of a project.


What Are the Decision Rules for Accounting Rate of Return?

At the point when a company is given the option of various projects to invest in, the decision rule states that a company ought to acknowledge the project with the highest accounting rate of return as long as the return is essentially equivalent to the cost of capital.

How Does Depreciation Affect the Accounting Rate of Return?

Depreciation will reduce the accounting rate of return. Depreciation is a direct cost and reduces the value of an asset or profit of a company. Thusly, it will reduce the return of an investment or project like some other cost.

What Is the Difference Between ARR and IRR?

The primary difference among ARR and IRR is that IRR is a discounted cash flow formula while ARR is a non-discounted cash flow formula. A non-discounted cash flow formula doesn't think about the current value of future cash flows that will be generated by an asset or project. In such manner, ARR does exclude the time value of money by which the value of a dollar is worth more today than tomorrow since it very well may be invested.