IRR vs ROI Differences
When it comes to calculating the performance of the investments made, there are very few metrics that are used more than the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Return on Investment (ROI).
IRR is a metric that doesn’t have any real formula. It means that no predetermined formula can be used to find out IRR. The value that IRR seeks is the discount rate, which makes the NPV of the sum of inflows equal to the initial net cash invested. For example, if we are going to get $20,000 at the end of the year due to the completion of a project, then the initial cash we should invest, keeping in mind that the rate of discount is 15%, is $17,391.30 ($20,000/1.15).
The above example makes it clear that IRR calculates the discount rate, keeping in mind what the future NPV is going to be. The rate that makes the difference between current investment and the future NPV zero is the correct rate of discount. It can be taken as an annualized rate of return.
ROI is a metric that calculates the percentage increase or decrease in return for a particular investment over a set time frame.
ROI is also called a Rate of Return (ROR). ROI can be calculated using the formula: ROI = [(Expected Value – Original Value) / Original Value] x 100
ROI can be calculated for any type of activity when there is an investment, and there is an outcome from the investment that can be measured. But ROI can be more accurate for a shorter period of time. If ROI has to be calculated for several years to come, then it is quite difficult to accurately calculate a future outcome that is so far away.
ROI is much simpler to calculate and hence is mostly used ahead of IRR. But, the improvement in technologies has made IRR calculations to be done by the use of the software. Hence IRR is also used frequently nowadays.
IRR vs. ROI Infographics
Here are the top 4 difference between ROI and IRR
IRR vs. ROI Key Differences
Here are the key difference between ROI and IRR –
 One of the key differences between ROI vs. IRR is the time period for which they are used for calculating the performance of investments. IRR is used to calculate the annual growth rate of the investment made. Whereas, ROI gives the overall picture of the investment and its returns from beginning to end.
 IRR takes into account the future value of money, and hence it is a metric that is very important to calculate. In contrast, ROI doesn’t take the future value of money while doing the calculations.
 IRR needs more accurate estimates so that the calculation of the performance of the investment can be done accurately. IRR is also a complex metric that is not easily understood by many. On the other hand, ROI is quite simple, and once all the necessary information is available, the calculation of ROI can be easily done.
So, what are the major difference between IRR and ROI?
IRR vs. ROI Head to Head Differences
Let’s have a look at the head to head the difference between ROI and IRR.
Basis for comparison between IRR vs. ROI  IRR  ROI 
Used  To calculate the rate of return on investment, especially for the shorter duration of time.  To calculate the performance of the investment over a certain period of time. 
Calculation 
The discount rate that makes the difference between current investment and the future NPV zero. 
ROI = [(Expected Value – Original Value) / Original Value] x 100 
Strengths 
IRR takes into account the time value of money. It is used for calculating the annual growth rate.

ROI can tell the total growth rate from beginning to end of the investment period. 
Weaknesses  Require more work to accurately calculate IRR.  ROI doesn’t take the future value of money into account while doing the calculation. 
IRR vs ROI – Conclusion
Two of the most used metrics for the calculation of the performance of the investments are ROI vs. IRR. So, basically, the metric that is going to be used for the calculation of investment returns depends on the additional costs that are needed to be taken into consideration.
ROI vs. IRR has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. So, many firms use both the ROI vs. IRR to calculate their budgets for capital needed. These two metrics are most importantly used in decision making when it comes to accepting a new project or not. This shows the importance of these two metrics.
Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to the top differences between IRR vs. ROI. Here we also discuss the ROI vs. IRR key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles –
Dr. Hamid Chaudhry says
Very valuable information. The difference is very well presented with example and formula.
Dheeraj Vaidya says
Thanks for your kind words!
Dr. Hamid Chaudhry says
Very valuable information
Dheeraj Vaidya says
Thanks for your kind words!