What is IRR and XIRR and how to Calculate it

How do you calculate your returns when you every year you invest different amount and at the end you receive your Money back? Suppose your invest 5000, 10000, 6000, 4000 and 6500 in 5 yrs and Get 53,000 at the end of 5 yrs then what is your Return? It’s 17.4%. The concept is called IRR. Read below to understand more:

So Here we will learn two things IRR and XIRR

What is IRR and How to Calculate it?

IRR is Internal Rate of Return and it is used to calculate the returns given some amount at a fixed interval i.e. after every 3 months or after every 1 yr. The only thing which matters is that there should be equal distance between two installments. We will learn how to Calculate IRR in Excel Sheet. You would also love to read what is NPV ( Net Present Value) .

How to calculate?

  • Enter your Investments (amount which you paid) in each row (you have to put “-” before each value)
  • Enter the Amount you Received at the end (put “+” after that amount)
  • Formula: =IRR(values)( place your values put the range of cells which contains values)  see below:

Use this Spreadsheet to calculate IRR for yourself

Things to NOTE

  • The values need to be a set of Positive and Negative Values
  • The last value is the amount you receive
  • Any amount Invested will be Negative so if you invest Rs 10000, put -10000
  • Any amount you Receive will be Positive so if you get Rs 5000, put +5000
  • All the payment or receiving of money are equidistant, Like 1st of every month OR May 15th Every year
  • All the payments are assumed to be yearly by default. If its’ some other time frame like monthly or quarterly use XIRR and put specific dates.

In the above example, the CAGR return was 17%. See this video post to understand how to calculate CAGR .

What is XIRR and How to Calculate it?

IRR does not solve one problem and that is when the payments are at Irregular interval. In that case we use XIRR. So in a Spreadsheet we put the date and the value both. See the example below:

How to Calculate

  • Put Date and Value for each row
  • At the last row put the Date and amount you received
  • Put the formula as: =XIRR(values, dates), values and dates are the cell ranges

Use this Spreadsheet to calculate XIRR for yourself

In the above example the CAGR Return was 38.96% (I have multiplied the return by 100 the actual value will be .3896)

Real Life scenario when you can use it

Scenario 1

Suppose you Invest in a Mutual Funds per month on your own , you invest on 15th of every month in year 2006

  • June 15 you invested 5000
  • July 15 you invested 6000
  • Aug 15 you invested 3000
  • Sep 15 you receive 5000 (dividend)
  • Oct 15 you invested 4000
  • Nov 15 you invested 12000
  • Dec 15 you Sell everything and Receive 35000

You can use IRR in this case and calculate your returns , the values you will be -5000 , -6000 , -3000 , +5000 , -4000 , +12000 , Calculate the IRR and put it as comments , lets see if you are correct or not ?


Scenario 2

You can also compare two business ideas using the XIRR , and decide which one is better then other . In any business concept you have to invest money and you get back some return , but these returns can be irregular and different amount every time , In that case you can use XIRR and compare the returns of both business and decide the one which has better XIRR

Note : the formula can give answers in a but different ways on Excel , OpenOffice spreadsheet , google docs or Zoho Spread sheet . Use this Spreadsheet to calculate IRR and XIRR for yourself . The spreadsheet is shared , so please dont make any changes other than “values” and “dates” .

Comments ? I would love to hear if these concepts are of use to you or can be of any help to you . is IRR a good way of measuring returns ?

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103 CommentsAdd Comment

  1. aditya M

    nice information
    keep it on

    really good


    I am unable to use XIRR formula
    its asking for a guess value in excel please clarify

    Also at many offices-Its not possible to view your video tutorials or excel spreadsheets

    Please see if you can do something


  2. Sriram

    Nice writeup Manish.

    If you are using MS-excel, you need to have analysis toolpak installed to get XIRR. Go to Tools -> Add Ins -> Analysis Toolpak

  3. Manish Chauhan


    So when you put the formula for IRR or XIRR , you put some random value like .1 or .2 also as Guess value , so formula looks liks

    =IRR(values , guess value)
    = XIRR(values , dates , guess value)

    Just put .1 or .2 in place of guess value. I hope it will work .

    To download the spreadsheet , go here :

    To download videos from youetube you can use keepwid.com tool .


    Thanks :)


  4. Anonymous

    Very Nice Information..With IRR Function You use Insurance Cash Flow…

    Manish Can You make One Excel Sheet about How To Use IRR & XIRR Formula With Complete Details ..


    Nikhil Shah

  5. Manish Chauhan


    What other information do you need ? I thought that this can be called as the "information on how IRR and XIRR can be used" ?


    Thanks :)

  6. White Lotus

    IRR/XIRR are good for relative comaparisions.

    But what does it mean in absolute terms? Does a 17% IRR mean I get 17% annualised return on an average for every installment?


    • irr is used as a concept to calculate the break-even discount rate when u have a conventional cash flow, i.e., one outflow followed by multiple inflows during the entire life of the project

      but in case of non-conventional projects, where we have multiple outflows during the life of the project, we use the concept of mirr (modified int rate of return), because simple irr will give us multiple values. using irr will give us a number of discount rates, equivalent to the number of outflows.

    • Wayan

      Can anyone give me an example of the equation to calculate the XIRR?
      I want to make an application that calculate an XIRR like excel does. I used the Secant Method to compute the cash flow, but it still have a different result than excel does.

  7. Wayan

    Can anyone give me an example of the equation to calculate the XIRR?
    I want to make an application that calculate an XIRR like excel does. I used the Secant Method to compute the cash flow, but it still have a different result than excel does.
    Any help would be appreciated

  8. @Wayan

    I think you should be using some Numerical method to compute XIRR .. There wont be just one formula where you can stuff values and get answer .


  9. sandeep

    i understand this will not work in case I’ve lumpsum invested for x yrs, right. IRR/XIRR is only for regular payments, like SIPs,yrly ULIPs etc, right ?

  10. Jayaprakash Kanreddy

    Hi Manish,

    Excellent information. How can I use this IRR/XIRR to check the return I’ve got in MF SIP invested over a period of 3 years? For example investing monthly 1k over 3 years and current value is 42k. So how much is the return, which formula should we use to calculate the return in this case?

  11. SKDhawan

    Thanks for explaining the cocept in such an easily understadable language. Please continue this as your contribution towards educating the educated illiterate.

      • Debanjan Ray

        Hi Manish,

        “Trial and error” is a mathematical (numerical) method to find solution of a equation when direct solution is either difficult or not possible. In case of finding CAGR with a SIP, the formula is Y= (X *(1+r/12)^n-1)*12/r, where Y=Present market value of Mutual Fund ( = present NAV * no. of units of Mutua Fund), r= Annual CAGR, n= no. of months of SIP. Known values are Y, X and n. Our goal is to find out r.
        Now, as you can see it is an equation of nth degree polynomial, which is difficult to solve. In numerical analysis, iterative techniques like newton-raphson method or method of bisection can be used, by guessing a CAGR value, and then calculating error (difference) between left side and right side of the above equation. Then process would be continued till the error value is well within accepted limit ( you can never get perfect solution).
        Internally XIRR also does iteration, as described in Microsoft help. Actually XIRR has three parameters: XIRR(values, dates, guess) . In general, to start any iteration, an initial value is required. This is the “guess” value i.e. the third parameter. If you do not give the “guess” value, XIRR would assume something random, and the solution can become erroneous.

        Microsoft claims “XIRR cycles through the calculation until the result is accurate within 0.000001 percent.” In your article, you have skipped to enter the 3rd parameter. This can be possible chance of variation in the example excel sheet I have given in my earlier post.

        I gave an example in the excel: a SIP on HDFC Top 200, starting from 5-Apr-2010 with Rs. 1000, in the 7th month (5-Oct-10). When I gave 57.5% CAGR manually, error value was -3.10, whereas XIRR calculated CAGR was 75.17% resulting into an error of -374.28, whose absolute value is far more than my manual method. The anomaly increases as the CAGR increases.
        I check with the SIP calculator with http://www.moneycontrol.com/ . It is also in line with excel.
        May be I am wrong; but I need to know where I am wrong. Did I use wrong formula of CAGR? But, I derived CAGR formulae from basic; it is sum of G.P. series.

        With best wishes

        • Debaranjan

          Looks like you did lot of study on this :) . good work

          I think there can be one point we are missing , we are not sure if the payments are considered at the end of the period or the starting of the period because thats the only reason I can think for the difference we are getting .


          • Debanjan Ray

            Hi Manish,
            I have considered payment at the starting of the period. So the last SIP will run for zero duration. This means in the previous example, the 7th month SIP will not have any gain. At the beginning of 7th SIP, the 1st month SIP (=X) will run for 6 months growing to X*(1+ r/12)^6; 2nd month SIP will grow to X*(1+r/12)^5 and so on. Now do a simple addition.
            At the end I can not trust XIRR; but can trust on basic mathematics of compound interest formula.
            – Debanjan Ray

            • debranjan

              I think you should go with the first principles only which is working for you , this whole topic will actually become a big project to study if we do it

              Will take up this some time later , In between if you find something insightful in your studies , let me know


            • Anand

              It’s not the question whether you trust XIRR or not. It’s like an eternal truth.

              And excel does excellent job in giving you the answer; otherwise you have to break your head in mathematical formulas.

        • Anand

          Debanjan Ray, can you just give me a small example where XIRR formula of excel returns false value?
          I want to investigate.

      • Rupert

        Dear Manish,

        Could you tell me after calculating IRR how we can tell our client about annualized return say for example he invested 5000 for 11 months (SIP) and latest value is 56504 please guide me and which is good IRR or XIRR ???

  12. Wakas

    Hi Manish,

    So going over your definations, what I understand is that we use XIRR when there are irregular intervals between the payments? (Since IRR assumes regular intervals between payments).

    So if I am calculating my returns on equal distance semi-annual cashflows, using IRR and XIRR should give me same results? Or should I not be using the XIRR at all?

    Does IRR consider investments on an annualized basis by default?

    • Wakas

      Yes .. IRR and XIRR should give the same answer incase of equi distance payments . Note that IRR will assume that the payments are per year .. incase its for monhtly basis , then all you need to do is consider the returns as monthly and then convert it to yearly returns


  13. SYAM


  14. Mike B

    If I have a series of outflows and inflows, and want to see what the rate or return is on this, can I use XIRR? I am working out a bisiness plan with monthly payments and revenues, and the net result of the costs and revenues is sometimes profit and sometimes loss.

    Must IRR/XIRR have all outflows, and the last one inflow? Or can they vary?

  15. A V Gosavi

    Dear Manish,

    I am really impressed. With your Reply that I consider IRR Or XIRR without me knowing what it is, I started searching on google, what are these terms. And before breaking my head on the mathematics involved, I got your Rejoinder to your Reply which explained what I needed with excellent analytical debate.

    Indeed great and many many thanks.

    Anand Gosavi.

  16. Raj

    Hi Manish,

    My online MF SIP portfolio tracker is using XIRR instead of IRR to show the return being generated. Any reason behind the usage of XIRR even if it’s monthly SIP plan with equal interval?


    • IRR just one case of XIRR ! .. Hence they might be using the highest standard ! .. Its like they must have implemented only XIRR so that all cases are handled, it might happen that some one is manually doing it on different dates and same algo will handle that case also , Whats the harm in that !

  17. Sweet

    Thanks guys …good information especially converting monthly to Annual IRR. which approximately equals IRR & XIRR values.

  18. kishore

    dear manish,
    you did good job….. you gave excellent information to us. i appreciate your kind information. i have question for you? can u help me out? i have some goals. and i would like to make SIP for each goal…. like car, (in 3 year, 6 lac ) flat ( 6 year, 75 lac) and retirement plan (2.5 cr.). i am working in private bank. my annual salary is 1.8 lacs. my age is 24. plz give me some information regarding how much invest in each SIP and how much amount., which kind of instruments and portfolio i will used for investment…plz help me out

  19. prasenjit

    is there any website/software which computes portfolio return(portfolio consisting of stocks,mutual funds, fixed deposits, gold etc) based on time weighted methodology rather than dollar weighted (which is similar to xirr)

  20. Amitav Paul

    I have never purchased or invested in any shares or egold or mutual funds. My earning is nominal and has no savings.Now I wish to invest a little amount in either egold or shares or mutual funds. Can you pliz help me where shall I invest to get a good return?
    I would really appreciate if you can help me out in this for one time as I am a layman when it comes to investment. Thanks.

  21. Karthikeyan

    Manish, I tried out XIRR with my mutual fund investments and wanted your insight on some observations. One of my MFs is at a loss (i.e. current value is lower than principal). When I use XIRR, the value is lower than the actual return.

    To quote an example, I invested in UTI Infrastructure in 2007-2008 in 13 SIPs of Rs. 2,500 each. The total investment is Rs. 32,500. The present value of my investment is Rs. 29,946. The absolute return is -7.86%. However, XIRR is coming to -1.64%.

    Isn’t it misleading that XIRR is showing a lower negative return? Or am I not interpreting this result correctly? Please guide me.

  22. Anand

    XIRR is showing the correct value. The value -1.64% is telling us that the value of investment is decreasing by 1.64% every year.

  23. ABC

    Date Cash Flows
    26/06/13 (160,488) 12.36% 12.94%
    26/09/13 –
    26/12/13 – IRR XIRR
    26/03/14 –
    26/06/14 –
    26/09/14 –
    26/12/14 –
    26/03/15 –
    26/06/15 –
    26/09/15 –
    26/12/15 –
    26/03/16 –
    26/06/16 –
    26/09/16 –
    26/12/16 –
    26/03/17 7,134
    26/06/17 7,293
    26/09/17 7,293
    26/12/17 7,213
    26/03/18 7,134
    26/06/18 7,293
    26/09/18 7,293
    26/12/18 7,213
    26/03/19 7,134
    26/06/19 7,293
    26/09/19 7,293
    26/12/19 7,213
    26/03/20 7,194
    26/06/20 7,273
    26/09/20 7,273
    26/12/20 7194
    26/03/21 7,134
    26/06/21 261643

    In the said cash flows which are at regular interval we are getting different IRR and XIRR . The difference is quite significant…
    Pls suggest

  24. ABC

    xirr is 12.94 and irr is 12.36%
    When the cash flows are at a constant rate – quarterly.. thought certain quarters have no cash flows

  25. Rahaman

    Hi Manish,
    How I can calculate final value using IRR/XIRR. E.g. the use case I have is, say I know the approximate IRR rate of one of my insurance policy is 6% & I am paying 10000/yr for 20 yrs. I want to get an idea how much my final return value would be. I tried some function NPV/FV in excel, but could not figure out..




  27. Puneet

    hi Manish.
    Thanks for this good article.

    I had a small question.
    To calcualte retruns on SIP or some stock scripts which i have bought over few months, can i use the WEIGHTED AVERAGE i.e. can i compare the weighted avg cost price vs current value to give me returns ?
    Basically i wanted to understand when to use IRR & when to use some other tool to calculate retrun.


  28. Vic

    Pls help with this cash flow issue. I used XIRR to determine the effective interest rate (EIR) of a loan with monthly repayment but the final balance isn’t giving zero but rather 66,927.74. Whereas using IRR, you arrive at zero as the final balance.

    Payment Date Opening bal. Interest at EIR Cashflow Closing Balance
    15-Jan-2010 (5,600,000.00) 5,600,000.00
    1-Feb-2010 5,600,000.00 88,804.03 1,000,000.00 4,688,804.03
    1-Mar-2010 4,688,804.03 115,662.41 1,000,000.00 3,804,466.44
    1-Apr-2010 3,804,466.44 103,902.88 1,000,000.00 2,908,369.32
    1-May-2010 2,908,369.32 76,867.53 1,000,000.00 1,985,236.85
    1-Jun-2010 1,985,236.85 54,218.33 1,000,000.00 1,039,455.18
    1-Jul-2010 1,039,455.18 27,472.56 1,000,000.00 66,927.74

    XIRR = 32.16%


  29. Neeraj

    Hi Manish,

    I have XIRR values and portfolio values for three Mutual funds as below:

    MF Portfolio value, Rs XIRR
    A 5,500 26.4%
    B 6,500 16.3%
    C 6,000 -20.4%

    How will I calculate portfolio XIRR?


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