Unconventional Cash Flow

What is an ‘Unconventional Cash Flow’

A series of inward and outward cash flows over time in which there is more than one change in the cash flow direction. This contrasts with a conventional cash flow, where there is only one change in cash flow direction. In terms of mathematical notation – where the – sign represents an outflow and + denotes an inflow – an unconventional cash flow would appear as -, +, +, +, -, + or alternatively +, -, -, +, -.

The term is particularly used in discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis. An unconventional cash flow is more difficult to handle in DCF analysis than conventional cash flow since it may have multiple internal rates of return (IRR), depending on the number of changes in cash flow direction.

Explaining ‘Unconventional Cash Flow’

In real-life situations, examples of unconventional cash flows are abundant, especially in large projects where periodic maintenance may involve huge outlays of capital. For example, a large thermal power generation project where cash flows are being projected over a 25-year period may have cash outflows for the first three years during the construction phase, inflows from years four to 15, an outflow in year 16 for scheduled maintenance, followed by inflows until year 25.

Non-normal cash flow projects

When evaluating potential investment opportunities, it’s important to consider the timing of cash flows. A “normal” project is one where cash inflows occur at the beginning and cash outflows occur at the end. However, non-normal projects can have cash flows spread unevenly throughout their lifetime or even have negative cash flows in some time periods.

These unusual patterns may be a red flag for investors, as they could indicate a higher level of risk or uncertain future profitability. When analyzing nonnormal projects, it’s crucial to carefully examine the underlying reasons for the cash flow pattern and assess its potential impact on the project’s overall performance. While non normal projects can sometimes still be profitable investments, they may require additional scrutiny and consideration before moving forward.

Conventional cash flow

When it comes to managing finances, one of the most basic methods is keeping track of cash flow using conventional methods. This can involve writing down expenses and income in a paper ledger or using spreadsheets on a computer. While these traditional approaches may seem old-fashioned, they have several advantages.

First, they require minimal upfront cost and can easily be accessed without the need for an internet connection. Additionally, they offer more flexibility in terms of customization and organization. However, it’s important to regularly update and back up this data in case of loss or damage. Overall, conventional cash flow management can be a simple and effective way to keep track of finances.

Future cash flows

Managing future cash flows is an important aspect of financial planning. By projecting income and expenses, business owners can make informed decisions about investments, expenses, and budgeting. It is also important to consider potential changes in income or expenses, such as an increase in sales or the purchase of new equipment.

Additionally, forecasting cash flows can help businesses prepare for unexpected events, such as a downturn in the economy or unforeseen expenses. Overall, careful planning and consideration of future cash flows can lead to improved financial stability for both individuals and businesses.

Unconventional Cash Flow FAQ

What is a normal cash flow?

Normal cash flow comprises of initial investment outlay with net positive cash flow all through the time of the project. It is also called conventional cash flow stream.

What are unconventional cash flows?

An unconventional cash flow comprises of inward and outward cash flows over time in which the direction of the cash flow changes frequently, unlike conventional cash flow, where a change in direction of the cash flow happens only once.

What is the direction that cash flows in a company?

Conventional cash flow shows a single cash flow direction of a company. Organizational structures. Normally, cash outflows happens just once which is at the start of a project. All cash flows are inflows onwards. The outflow at the start is to fund the project.

What is the difference between projects with normal and non normal cash flows?

What is the difference between normal and non-normal cash flow streams? Normal cash flow stream – Several positive cash inflows follow Cost (negative CF). … Non-normal cash flow stream – Frequent changes of signs. Most common: Cost (negative CF), then string of positive CFs, then cost to close project.

When a project has a positive net present value it has a profitability index?

Generally, a profitability index more than 1 represents a positive NPV. A profitability index less than 1 represents a negative NPV. For example, a project that costs $1 million with a present value of future cash flows of $1.2 million has a PI of 1.2.

What is considered a good cash flow?

Greater than 1.0 – is preferred by investors, creditors, and analysts, because it implies a company can cover its liabilities for now and still have spill over. Companies with a high or uptrending operating cash flow are doing well financially.

Further Reading

  • Economic evaluation and decision method of oilfield development adjusting project – en.cnki.com.cn [PDF]
  • The impact of unconventional monetary policy on firm financing constraints: Evidence from the maturity extension program – www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]
  • Unconventional Monetary Policy and Household Debt: the Role of Cash-Flow Effects – www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]
  • Unconventional monetary policies: a re-appraisal – www.elgaronline.com [PDF]
  • A model of unconventional monetary policy – www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]
  • ECB unconventional monetary policy: Market impact and international spillovers – link.springer.com [PDF]
  • Can technology R&D close the unconventional gas performance gap? – www.earthdoc.org [PDF]
  • Unconventional wisdom on PSI, the appropriate discount rate for the tax shield – papers.ssrn.com [PDF]
  • The impact of unconventional monetary policy on the Italian economy during the sovereign debt crisis – papers.ssrn.com [PDF]