Yes, when calculating the Net Present Value (NPV) of a business project based on a monthly cash flow projection, you need to include the startup costs or initial investment in the first month of the cash flow projection.
The NPV analysis takes into account all cash flows associated with the project, including both cash inflows and cash outflows. The initial investment, which represents the startup costs required to launch the project, is considered a cash outflow that occurs at the beginning of the project.
When preparing the monthly cash flow projection, you should include the initial investment as a negative cash flow in the first month. This initial investment represents the cash outflow required to acquire assets, invest in infrastructure, or cover other expenses necessary to start the project.
The subsequent monthly cash flow projections will include both cash inflows and outflows for each period throughout the project’s life. Cash inflows may come from revenues, sales, or other sources, while cash outflows may include operating expenses, loan repayments, taxes, and so on.
To calculate the NPV, you will discount all the monthly cash flows, including the initial investment, to their present value using the appropriate discount rate (required rate of return or cost of capital). The NPV formula accounts for the timing of cash flows, and discounting them to present value allows you to assess the project’s profitability and its value in today’s terms.
Including the initial investment in the first month ensures that the NPV analysis captures the complete picture of the project’s cash flows, helping you determine whether the project is financially viable and whether the expected returns outweigh the costs.