Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Using the IRR Function.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 27, 2015)
The IRR function is provided by Excel so you can calculate an internal rate of return for a series of values. The IRR is the interest rate accrued on an investment consisting of payments and income that occur at the same regular periods. In the values provided to the function, you enter payments you make as negative values and income you receive as positive values.
For instance, let's say you are investing in your daughter's business, and she will make payments back to you annually over the course of four years. You are planning to invest $50,000, and you expect to receive $10,000 in the first year, $17,500 in the second year, $25,000 in the third, and $30,000 in the fourth.
Since the $50,000 is money you are paying out, it is entered in Excel as a negative value. The other values are entered as positive values. For instance, you could enter –50000 in cell D4, 10000 in cell D5, 17500 in cell D6, 25000 in cell D7, and 30000 in cell D8. To calculate the internal rate of return, you would use the following formula:
The function returns an IRR of 19.49%.
The ranges you use with the IRR function must include at least one payment and one receipt. If you get a #NUM error, and you have included payments and receipts in the range, then Excel needs more information to calculate the IRR. Specifically, you need to provide a "starting guess" for Excel to work with. For example:
This usage means that the IRR function starts calculating at –5%, and then recursively attempts to resolve the IRR based on the values in the range.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3209) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Using the IRR Function.
Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!
The primary method of rounding values is to use the ROUND function in your formulas. Here's an introduction to this ...Discover More
Need to sum up different ranges of cells? One of the tools you can use is the handy SUBTOTAL function, described in this tip.Discover More
The MODE function is used to determine the most frequently recurring value in a range. This tip explains how to use the ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.