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What Is the Major Benefit of the ROI Technique for Measuring Performance?

Original post by Victoria Duff of Demand Media

ROI is one way to measure profitability.

Most corporate managers work within a budget. Their task is to make the money they spend produce the best results possible. They constantly are presented with different ways to spend their allocated money and approach the analysis of these opportunities as investments in the success of their department or organization. The first thing they want to know is what will be the return on investment, or ROI. Using the projected ROI, the manager is able to compare and choose among different opportunities.

Figuring ROI

The formula for figuring ROI is net operating profit divided by total operating assets. Net operating income is the income that comes from the operations of the company, before interest and taxes. Operating assets are cash, accounts receivable, inventory, plant and equipment, and all other assets involved in the current operations of the organization. Operating assets don't include investments made for future use or price appreciation.

Operating Assets

If net book value, which is net of depreciation of the cost of assets, is used as the operating assets figure, the ROI will tend to increase over time, because depreciation decreases the net operating assets' value. If the gross cost of the assets is used, the actual return on the dollar investment can be seen. When using net book value, depreciation accounts for the age of equipment; however, it also discourages replacement of that equipment because the cost of new equipment will cause ROI to drop.

Benefits of ROI

Using ROI to measure productivity establishes a conceptual framework for measuring the degree of success of an organization or investment. It assigns accountability for the performance of decisions by management regarding where to invest money in the pursuit of corporate goals. It also provides a set of results that can be compared, analyzed and shared throughout the organization.

Use of ROI

Measuring ROI using a static formula gives you an idea, over time, of the direction of your company's performance. It is a benchmark that can be compared year-over-year to determine if the company is improving its performance. Just taking net profits as an indicator of performance ignores the cost of those profits. They may rise on a year-over-year basis, but without including how much was spent to create those profits, you can't know if your operations are becoming more efficient or if you are merely paying more for each dollar of profit.



About the Author

Victoria Duff specializes in entrepreneurial subjects, drawing on her experience as an acclaimed start-up facilitator, venture catalyst and investor relations manager. Since 1995 she has written many articles for e-zines and was a regular columnist for "Digital Coast Reporter" and "Developments Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley.

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