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Cost-Benefit Analysis

What is Cost-Benefit Analysis?

Cost-Benefit analysis is the process of analysing business decisions.  When a decision is under consideration, the cost of an option is subtracted from the benefit of it. By performing a cost-benefit analysis the management can tell if an investment is worthwhile or not for the business.

How to Calculate a Cost-Benefit Analysis

The consideration takes in all the benefits and all the costs involved. An accountant will try to put a dollar figure on all the elements of the cost-benefit analysis. For example a retailer may consider moving the store to a vacant building on another street. The obvious benefit may be that sales will be higher when in the new premises going on figures from other stores. Costs involved may show a different story. Rent may be higher in the new building, taxes may be too and if the building is bigger, then utility costs may rise above that of the existing premises. With a larger customer base there may be a need to hire more staff; existing staff may look for salary increases as travel time rises or parking costs are higher on the new block.

By weighing up the return of the increase of sales with the costs of operating from the new premises the storeowner is doing a cost-benefit analysis. The result will be a major influence in the final decision. The outcome of any cost-benefit analysis should tell the storeowner if a project is worth pursuing or rejecting. It should also tell the owner the costs to the existing store of not pursuing the proposed changes.

Risks Involved

Any cost benefit-analysis comes from many calculations. The storeowner should get all costs and benefits into their analysis to avoid risk. If in doing the cost-benefit analysis the storeowner makes omissions the implications may be huge. For example by not including the cost of hiring more staff the store may be in line for a shock, even if sales do increase.

The cost-benefit analysis will also need to look at future costs to reduce risk; for instance any plans the city may have for the new street. If they plan to outlaw street parking in the area in four years time then the cost from less footfall will need considering. On the other hand there may be a plan to freeze taxes in the district, a future benefit to the store in knowing that there are not any increases on the way.

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