Cash Basis Vs. Accrual Basis Accounting: Know The Difference

July 9, 2021    accountantinperth

Accrual basis and cash basis accounting are two ways through which individuals can record transactions. Although the methods belong to the accounting category, there is a massive difference between them. The most significant difference is within the timing in which all the transactions are registered. But both of these procedures deliver the same outcome. Individuals interested in learning more about cash basis vs. accrual basis accounting and what they have in-store can check the contents of this blog.

Cash Basis Vs. Accrual Basis Accounting: The Definition

Before exploring the difference between these two accounting methods, one must understand what exactly they are.

  1. Cash Basis Accounting

The cash-based accounting technique will recognize all the revenues once received and identify the expenses when they are fully paid. But this particular procedure does not recognize account payable and account receivable. The majority of the small businesses will choose the cash-based accounting technique because it’s pretty easy to maintain. It will help you determine when a transaction takes place, and you don’t have to track down the payment receivables and payments. 

On the other hand, this particular is also ideal for tracking down funds, which a business has at a given time. Individuals can look at the cash available at their bank account and learn about all the available resources. Since the transaction doesn’t get recorded until the funds are paid or received, the business’s income will not get taxed until it’s in the bank.

  1. Accrual Basis Accounting

Accrual-based accounting is a method where all the investments and wealth get registered when they are earned, regardless of when the funds are paid or received. For instance, you will record the revenue once a particular project is completed instead of getting paid. This technique is generally used than the cash basis method. Accrual based accounting can provide you with a realistic idea about the expenses and income.

It will provide a long-term picture of the business, which the cash accountant cannot deliver. On the other hand, accrual basis accounting will not offer any awareness of the cash flow. In other words, a business might look it’s pretty profitable, but in reality, it carries an empty bank account. One needs to carefully monitor their cash flow when they opt for the accrual-based accounting process. Otherwise, potentially devastating consequences can take place.

Significant Differences Between Accrual Basis And Cash Basis Accounting

There are several differences that individuals will encounter under cash basis vs. accrual basis accounting and to what they are, please check below.

  1. Cash accounting can easily recognize all the expenses once the money has been spent. But accrual accounting will acknowledge only the payments once they are billed. 
  2. Through cash-based accounting, taxes will not get paid on the funds, which have not been received yet. Under accrual accounting, taxes are paid when individuals still owe money. 
  3. Accrual accounting is mainly opted by businesses with a revenue of $25 million or more than that. But cash accounting is ideal when accounting for sole traders and small-size firms.

What Does The Term Record Transactions Mean?

All big, medium and small-sized businesses have to record their financial transactions within a particular ledger, which goes by the name bookkeeping. Business owners need to do so if they want to claim a tax deduction at the year’s end. One central place is required to add up all the expenses and income. Individuals can easily opt for DIY bookkeeping, which is available on the internet. Otherwise, they are free to hire an individual who has knowledge and understanding about bookkeeping. 

Special Considerations On Accrual And Cash Accounting

Companies, such as publicly-traded firms, are said to opt for the accrual accounting technique. The main reason why this particular accounting method has so much popularity because it smooths out all the earnings because it accounts for all the expenses and revenues as they get generated instead of being recorded intermittently. For instance, under the cash-based technique, the retailers will appear extremely profitable within Q4 because the consumers will buy for a holiday. 

But Q1 will not look profitable because consumer spending will decline after the holiday rush is over. Both accrual and cash-based methods have their own set of pros and cons, and each of them shows a small part of the financial health of a business. Having a good understanding of the accrual-based method and a business’s cash flow with the cash-based technique is highly essential when making an investment decision.

Example On Cash Basis Vs. Accrual Basis Accounting

Let’s say a person has a business that sells out machinery. If they sell around $5000 worth of machinery through the cash-based technique, the amount will not be recorded within the ledger until the customer makes the payment. But through the accrual process, the $5000 will immediately get registered as the revenue even if they obtain the money after several days.

The same principle is applied to the expenses as well. When an individual gets an electric bill for $1700 through the cash method, the amount will not be added until they make the payment. But the amount will become a revenue on the day the person receives the bill if they choose the accrual method.

What Is A Hybrid Accounting Method?

There are several types of businesses out there that utilize the hybrid process of accounting. They might base massive financial decisions along with things like loan applications on accrual accounting. But it will take the help of the cash-basis method of accounting to manage some of the components of their tax. There are numerous types of rules and regulations involved, so it will be better to speak with a professional accountant to gain pertinent information.

Ending Note

Accrual accounting and cash accounting are two crucial accounting forms used by small and big businesses. Both methods can provide positive outcomes. Companies must go for the one according to the type of business they run. Cash basis accounting can easily show a person how much money an individual has. Accrual accounting can provide an accurate picture of your business’s expenses and performance. For expert advice and guidance, you can always get in touch with experts like Accountant Perth.


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