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Large Equipment Investments: Cost/Benefit Analysis Tips

Cost benefit analysis using business management software

As a business owner, there will come a time when you need to decide whether or not it’s worth it to replace a particular tool or piece of machinery. Timing your replacements is critically important. You want to get as much value as possible out of your equipment, but you don’t want to allow old or worn machinery to have a negative impact on your business.

As you carry out a cost/benefit analysis of your equipment upgrade investment, consider these points and our pro tips on how your business management software can make it easier.

Cost of Outages

When your machinery and tools break down or need maintenance, it can cause backups and delays in production. Other tools can end up being overused to compensate, which can cause them to wear out more quickly.

Weighing up the cost of maintenance with the cost of new machinery is not enough – you also need to take into account the opportunity cost associated with outages. Check your ERP software (e.g. the MYOB Exo Job Costing Module) to can get an insight into the average revenue/profit you make per job. If the combination of missed revenue opportunities from outages combined with foreseeable maintenance costs is starting to cost you more in the long run then it’s time to make the investment in upgrading your equipment.

Cashflow

Business experts often consider cashflow one of the biggest struggles for small business owners. Knowing when to replace a tool is a question not just of when the tool has ceased to be effective, it is also a question of when the business can afford to replace it. If a tool breaks down at the beginning of the tightest cash-flow season, there may be no solution but to limp along until cash is available again.

Purchasing at the wrong time can cause your business not to have the available cash you need to buy inventory, make marketing changes, or even to pay employees.

Your accounting and finance software is an invaluable asset for cashflow planning. Use it to get an insight to predict when you’ll have the available cash to make a big purchase. Sometimes it can make sense to replace a tool that is still technically functional, if the timing of the purchase is right.

Depreciation Write-offs

The 2015 Australian Budget contained a great benefit for businesses that need to replace aging machinery: an instant tax deduction for assets that cost up to $20,000. The instant deduction is only available for qualifying businesses, so make sure to read up on the deduction or speak to a professional accountant. But for businesses who turn-over less than $2,000,000 annually, an instant deduction may be a better deal tax-wise than depreciating equipment over the expected life of the machine.

If you’ve previously depreciated your assets, or if your business doesn’t qualify for the instant deduction, again your ERP functionality can help. The MYOB Exo Fixed Assets Module can help you get insight into how your taxes will be affected.