Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the average after-tax cost of a company’s various capital sources, including common stock, preferred stock, bonds and any other long-term debt. By taking the weighted average, the WACC shows how much interest the company pays for every dollar it finances.

The internal rate of return (IRR), on the other hand, is the discount rate used in capital budgeting that makes the net present value (NPV) of all cash flows (both inflow and outflow) from a particular project equal to zero. It is used by companies to compare and decide between capital projects. For example, a company may evaluate an investment in a new plant versus expanding an existing plant based on the IRR of each project.

The primary difference between WACC and IRR is that where WACC is the expected average future costs of funds (from both debt and equity sources), IRR is an investment analysis technique used by companies to decide if a project should be undertaken. A close relationship exists between WACC and IRR, however, because together these concepts make up the decision for IRR calculations. In general, the IRR method indicates that a project whose IRR is greater than or equal to the firm's cost of capital should be accepted, and a project whose IRR is less than the firm's cost of capital should be rejected.

  1. Which is a better measure for capital budgeting, IRR or NPV?

    In capital budgeting, there are a number of different approaches that can be used to evaluate any given project, and each ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can working capital be depreciated?

    Working capital as current assets cannot be depreciated the way long-term, fixed assets are. In accounting, depreciation ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What does high working capital say about a company's financial prospects?

    If a company has high working capital, it has more than enough liquid funds to meet its short-term obligations. Working capital, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can working capital affect a company's finances?

    Working capital, or total current assets minus total current liabilities, can affect a company's longer-term investment effectiveness ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What does low working capital say about a company's financial prospects?

    When a company has low working capital, it can mean one of two things. In most cases, low working capital means the business ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does unearned revenue affect working capital?

    Unearned revenue, or deferred revenue, typically represents a company's current liability and affects its working capital ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Weighted Average Cost Of Capital (WACC)

    Weighted average cost of capital may be hard to calculate, but it's a solid way to measure investment quality
  2. Investing

    Time to Bring Active Back into a Portfolio?

    While stocks have rallied since the economic recovery in 2009, many active portfolio managers have struggled to deliver investor returns in excess.
  3. Economics

    Investing Opportunities as Central Banks Diverge

    After the Paris attacks investors are focusing on central bank policy and its potential for divergence: tightened by the Fed while the ECB pursues easing.
  4. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Pfizer Stock

    Learn the biggest potential risks that may affect the price of Pfizer's stock, complete with a fundamental analysis and review of other external factors.
  5. Active Trading

    An Introduction To Depreciation

    Companies make choices and assumptions in calculating depreciation, and you need to know how these affect the bottom line.
  6. Markets

    PEG Ratio Nails Down Value Stocks

    Learn how this simple calculation can help you determine a stock's earnings potential.
  7. Investing

    What’s the Difference Between Duration & Maturity?

    We look at the meaning of two terms that often get confused, duration and maturity, to set the record straight.
  8. Fundamental Analysis

    Buy Penny Stocks Using the Wisdom of Peter Lynch

    Are penny stocks any better than playing penny slots in Vegas? What if you used the fundamental analysis principles of Peter Lynch to pick penny stocks?
  9. Fundamental Analysis

    Are Amazon Profits Here to Stay?

    Amazon is starting to look like a steadily profitable company. Is this really the case? Should investors even be hoping for profitability?
  10. Personal Finance

    Wal-Mart vs. Target: Which One Is A Bigger Threat To Amazon?

    Walmart and Target both revealed multi-year plans to grow their businesses. Which of these two retailers is the biggest threat to Amazon?
  1. Weighted Average Cost Of Capital - WACC

    Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is a calculation of a ...
  2. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  3. IRR Rule

    A measure for evaluating whether to proceed with a project or ...
  4. Qualitative Analysis

    Securities analysis that uses subjective judgment based on nonquantifiable ...
  5. Profit and Loss Statement (P&L)

    A financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and ...
  6. Liquidity

    The degree to which an asset or security can be quickly bought ...

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center