What Are Uneven Cash Flows? Overview & 6 Facts

When the amount of cash flow is not similar for the years, meaning that one year’s cash flow is different from another year’s cash flow then it is called Uneven Cash Flow. It is also called irregular cash flow.

What Is Present Value?

Present value (PV) is the present value of a stream of future cash flows or money to be earned. It is the present worth of money relative to money in the future. Present Value is utilized in the analysis of the stock market, bond prices, financial sectors, and several investment domains.

What Is Present Value?

What Are Uneven Cash Flows?

Uneven cash flows often relate to a sequence of unequal payments made over a specific time period. For instance, one may get the following yearly payments over a period of five years: $500 US Dollars (USD), $300 US Dollars (USD), $400 US Dollars (USD), $250 US Dollars (USD), and $750 US Dollars (USD). Alternatively, if the regular payments were fixed at a specific amount, then the cash flows would be equal.

An example of an annuity would be a $500 yearly payout. In addition, unequal cash flows can be related with a variety of financial circumstances, including capital budgeting.

Understanding Uneven Cash Flows

Capital budgeting in finance is essentially the process of determining long-term investments. Managers may use a variety of financial management methods to anticipate and assess the value of sporadic cash flows connected with a given investment.

This will provide them with sufficient information to accept or reject the proposal. All sorts of investments require both fixed and irregular cash flows for valuation purposes.

Using financial formulae, financial managers determine the present value of a sequence of future cash flows. This method assists them in determining the fair value of the investment in issue.

A financial manager may determine, for instance, that the present value of a sequence of unequal cash flows is $1,000 USD. If this stream of irregular cash flows was generated by a particular asset, then he or she may determine that the highest price he or she is prepared to pay for the item is the asset’s present value, or $1,000 USD.

What Is Present Value?

Nonconventional bond payments are another example of a sequence of irregular financial flows. Non-conventional bonds, sometimes known as vanilla bonds, do not pay a predetermined coupon or interest rate on a regular basis.

These bonds include index-linked bonds, so-called because they are tied to an index, such as the consumer price index (CPI), which tracks inflation. The cash flows of these bonds mirror the changes in the underlying index.

Consider, as an example, a hypothetical index-linked bond with cash flows indexed to the CPI. Assume that the bond pays $100 USD in interest following its issue. In the subsequent year, however, if the CPI grew by a specified amount, the interest payment would also increase.

For instance, it may reach $105 USD. In a nutshell, it is difficult to accurately anticipate the cash flows associated with such a bond due to the fact that changes in CPI would result in irregular cash flows.

What to Do About Uneven Cash Flow

Your company appears to be thriving on paper. Your company’s earnings exceed its commitments, and daily sales growth is continuing. If your business appears to be strong, you may be perplexed as to why you are unable to gather enough money to pay your expenses or make payroll.

There is sometimes a disparity between earnings on paper and cash on hand. Depending on the nature of your firm, you may have months with higher-than-usual sales yet financial hardship.

Even well-established organizations might be hampered by fluctuating or unequal cash flow levels. If you would like to quit relying on debt or credit to make ends meet, here are a few strategies to alleviate your cash flow issues.

Adjust Payment Terms For Customers

The inability to collect payments from consumers swiftly is one of the primary causes of cash flow problems for businesses. If the majority of your company’s contracts feature net-60 terms, your client can utilize your product or service for up to 60 days before making payment.

Until your customers pay their invoices, your firm may be stretched thin or dependent on credit to survive. Changing the payment terms offered to consumers is a simple solution to alleviate cash flow issues.

One alternative is to require clients to pay at least a portion of the price of a service or product in advance, with the remaining due upon receipt of the completed product. While a result, your company will not be operating on debt or on empty as it strives to keep a client satisfied.

What Is Present Value?

Incentivize early payment as an alternative. Customers would likely seek to enhance or smooth their own cash flow by utilizing net-30 or net-60 terms. However, if you provide an incentive for early payment, such as a 15 percent discount, they are more inclined to do so.

Additionally, examine how your clients are paying your business. If you have a client on a net-30 payment schedule who has consistently paid early or on time, it is not worth jeopardizing or hurting the relationship.

However, if you have a client on a net-30 contract who often pays late or misses payments, it is in your company’s best interest to request half or full payment up advance or to change the terms in some other way.

Adjust Payment Terms for Your Company

When it’s your turn to be the client, it might be advantageous for your cash flow to negotiate extended payment terms. Work with vendors to see if they are willing to give net-60 or even net-90 payment arrangements, without needing upfront payments.

Make it a priority to always pay your accounts payable on time and in line with the terms of your contracts in order to keep your vendors satisfied and to prevent incurring any extra penalties or interest, which would negatively impact your cash flow.

Look for Patterns

Every business has its ups and downs. Determining when in the year your organization is likely to have a cash flow shortfall is a component of managing irregular cash flow. If summer is often a sluggish season for your firm, it may be the beginning of autumn.

In contrast, if winter is a productive season for your firm, you may find yourself rich with cash in the spring when clients settle their bills.

A virtual CFO can assist you in analyzing the cash coming into and going out of your firm, as well as recognizing the trends of cash flow, so that you can effectively plan for months in which the cash on hand is significantly lower or practically nonexistent.

Time Value of Uneven Cash Flows

The present value (PV) and/or future value (FV) of an uneven cash flow stream is determined by summing the PV or FV of each individual cash flow.

A cash flow stream is unequal when:

There are uneven quantities in the sequence of cash flows, and/or there are unequal intervals between any two cash flows.

For instance, the coupon payments of a traditional bond are a sequence of even cash flows. This is because coupon payments on traditional bonds are a predetermined proportion of the bond’s face value.

That is, they are same for every coupon period. However, coupon payments for a bond with a variable interest rate are irregular. This is because coupon payments fluctuate based on the reference interest rate in the case of floating-rate bonds.

When cash flows are uneven and irregular, typical formulae for present value or future value of an annuity or present value of annuity factors tables cannot be applied.

To determine the present value or future value of each individual cash flow, we must consider the time period between the cash flow date and the valuation date, also known as the reference date, the date on which we wish to compute the PV or FV.

What Is Present Value?

Present Value of Uneven Cash Flows

In the actual world, the timing and magnitude of cash flows might vary. These financial flows are characterized as irregular or unequal.

Also known as uneven cash flows, these are cash flows that do not follow to the concepts of annuity. For instance, if a company’s cash flows are $50, $50, $40, $70, and $70, these are examples of irregular cash flows.

Therefore, when cash flows are uneven and irregular, the conventional formulae for calculating the present value or annuity are inapplicable.

In order to assess the PV (present value) of such unequal cash flows, we must calculate and determine the present value of each cash flow individually. Then, sum all the resulting values to obtain the present value of all the cash flows under consideration.

This is what makes the computation of the present value (PV) of unequal cash flows laborious and time-consuming. However, we have access to internet calculators and Excel to expedite the computation process.

Formula to calculate PV of Uneven Cash Flows

As said previously, in order to compute the PV of all cash flows, we must first determine the PV of each individual cash flow. And then sum these present values.

Use the PV Uneven Cash Flow Calculator to do calculations.

The following formula is used to determine the PV of unequal cash flows:

PV = —– + —– + —– + —– + —–
(1 + r)0 (1 + r)1 (1 + r)2 (1 + r)N

In simple words, we can put the above formula as:

PV = Sum of CFn/(1 + r)^n

In the above formula, CFN is the cash flow for the year, and n and r is the discount rate for the year. The discount rate is generally the opportunity rate or interest that an asset could generate elsewhere.


For the following five years, the cash flows of Company A are $1,500, $1,850, $2,100, $2,500, and $2,950. Assume the rate of discount is 15.75 percent. Now, compute the present value of these disparate cash flows.

Applying the above formula to the values

PV = [$1,500/(1+15.75)^1] + [$1,850/(1+15.75)^2] + [$2,100/(1+15.75)^3] + [$2,500/(1+15.75)^4] + [$2,950/(1+15.75)^5]

PV = $1,295.90 + $1,380.80 + $1,354.12 + $1,392.69 + $1,419.77

Therefore, the present value of the disparate cash flows is $6,843.27.

If you find manual computation challenging, you might use one of the many online calculators accessible on the Internet. To use online calculators, simply enter the necessary information into the appropriate fields, and the result will be instantly calculated.

What Is Present Value?

Additionally, Microsoft Excel may be used to quickly calculate the present value of unequal cash flows. To determine the present value of cash flows in Excel, the NPV function must be used. Here, you must produce a spreadsheet with pertinent information, such discount rate, cash flows, etc.

Let’s examine how to create spreadsheets in Excel in order to calculate the present value of cash flows that are not evenly distributed.

Now, the excel formula will be =NPV(B1, B3:B6) = 242.16. This will calculate and provide us with the present value of these uneven cash flows, i.e., $242.16.


Financial flows indicate an organization’s cash influx. Cash flow consistency and planning are essential for all organizations. In the actual world, however, neither the amount nor the timing of cash flows for an operating firm can be predicted with confidence.

This implies that the cash flow of one year would not be the same as that of previous years and might fluctuate from month to month, year to year, etc. This variance or volatility in normal cash flow is known as uneven cash flows.

To obtain a realistic picture of a firm, we must compute the current value of irregular cash flows. The PV computation will balance out the time and volatility of cash flows.


If the cash flows are even you have the formula: Payback Period = Initial Investment / Net Cash Flow per period If the cash flows are uneven you have: Payback Period = Years before full recovery + Unrecovered cost at the start of the year / Cash flow during the year The ClearTax Payback Period Calculator calculates the …

An uneven stream of cash flows that has greater cash flows in the beginning has a higher FV because those larger cash flows have more time to compound.

Types of Cash Flow
  • Cash Flows From Operations (CFO)
  • Cash Flows From Investing (CFI)
  • Cash Flows From Financing (CFF)
  • Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)
  • Free Cash Flow (FCF)
  • Unlevered Free Cash Flow (UFCF)
Therefore in order to calculate the PV (present value) of such uneven cash flows, we need to calculate and arrive at the present value of each cash flow separately. And then finally, add all the resultant values to get the PV for all the cash flows under consideration.
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