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Cash vs. Accrual Accounting – What Suits Your Business Best?

Cash Vs. Accrual Accounting – What Suits Your Business Best

As the renowned author, Auliq Ice rightly said, “Not making the right decision means forgoing an opportunity.” In today’s ever-evolving financial and accounting landscape, a business’s decisions and choices determine its long-term success. One such decision is choosing the right accounting system. 

Two fundamental and most prevalent accounting methods businesses widely use are cash accounting and accrual accounting. Both accounting methods play a pivotal role in reshaping the financial reporting processes, however, it is important to choose the method that most closely suits your business requirements. In this blog, we will explore the merits of these methods and delve into practical examples relevant to your business.

Cash Accounting

Cash accounting is the recommended method for small businesses and sole proprietors as it provides a simple way to track immediate cash flow and meet daily cash requirements. Cash accounting’s primary advantage lies in directly recording business expenses and client payments, providing a clear financial snapshot for wise decision-making based on available funds. 

Cash accounting records the businesses’ revenue only when funds are received and records business expenses only when money is paid out. Simply put, under this method, transactions are recorded only when cash changes hands or is transferred from one business party to another.

Example of Cash Accounting

On January 1, 2023, Business A and Business B made a deal. Business A agreed to pay $1000 to Business B over 6 months. Using the cash accounting method, Business B will only record this transaction in the books when it receives the money in its bank account.

Despite its catalog of benefits, the cash accounting method also has some shortcomings. Cash accounting may not provide an accurate picture of the business’s financial condition when the business is engaged in long-term client or contractual projects. Following this method, cash-rich businesses might fail to record the accounts payables that exceed the cash on the books and the current revenue stream. Another notable drawback of cash accounting is that it is not accepted under the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

5 Helpful Tips on Cash Accounting

  1. Treat debit card transactions as cash for accounting purposes.

  2. Maintain a comprehensive list of all assets, including long-term assets, using an asset register in a spreadsheet.

  3. Keep thorough financial and operational records to facilitate accurate financial statements and potential audits.

  4. Consider creating a cash flow budget to support planning, incorporating anticipated future payments (e.g., rates, insurance premiums).

  5. Ensure valuations used for assets and liabilities are relevant and reliable. Maintain sufficient records to demonstrate how these amounts were determined.

Accrual Accounting

Accrual accounting, a method widely used by enterprises and publicly traded companies, provides an all-inclusive perspective on a company’s financial health. Accrual accounting records revenue when it’s earned and when expenses are incurred, regardless of the actual cash transactions. The accrual accounting method records all your business’ accounts receivables and payables to provide a comprehensive glimpse of your business’s long-term financial health. 

Example of Accrual Accounting

On January 1, 2023, Business A committed to paying $1,000 to Business B for a one-month service. Using the accrual accounting method, Business B records the $1,000 upfront, before receiving payment. Once paid, Business B debits accounts receivable by $1,000 and credits the service revenues account by $1,000. This acknowledges revenue before receiving cash. The received capital can be transferred to other accounts, like free cash, using the same double-entry method to note its origin and destination. 

With all its advantages, accrual accounting also has some drawbacks. This method introduces complexity and requires meticulous accounting for items like unearned revenue and prepaid expenses. 

Advantages of Incorporating AI into Accounting

AI-driven automation simplifies accounting by promptly addressing outstanding balances with the provided account receivables report. Docyt AI stands out as the premier accounting solution with its cutting-edge features. Our technology mitigates risks of revenue loss due to chargebacks through easy access to detailed backup documentation for dispute resolution. Docyt AI’s revolutionary technology safeguards businesses against discrepancies by reconciling earned revenue with daily deposits, cross-checking cash earned against bank deposits, and identifying potential cash theft.

Docyt’s automated revenue tracking efficiently organizes data, offering valuable insights for informed decision-making and providing a clear overview of daily earnings. 


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Aditya Rawat

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