Accrual Versus Cash Basis of Accounting

358 Words2 Pages
ACCRUAL VERSUS CASH BASIS OF ACCOUNTING The accrual-basis of accounting means that the financial transactions that change a particular company’s financial statements are recorded in the accounting periods in which the business events occur. This is done even if cash was not actually exchanged. For example, this makes use of the revenue recognition principle, which states that companies recognize revenues when earned, even if cash was not received. The revenue recognition principle is therefore used in the accrual basis of accounting. Likewise, under the accrual basis, companies recognize expenses when incurred (the matching principle), even if cash was not paid. An alternative to the accrual basis is the cash basis. Under cash-basis accounting, companies record revenue only when cash is received. They record expense only when cash is paid. The cash basis of accounting is prohibited under generally accepted accounting principles. Why? Because it does not record revenue when earned, thus violating the revenue recognition principle. Similarly, it does not record expenses when incurred, which violates the matching principle. Illustration 4-2 compares accrual-based numbers and cash-based numbers. Suppose that Fresh Colors paints a large building in 2009. In 2009 it incurs and pays total expenses (salaries and paint costs) of $50,000. It bills the customer $80,000, but does not receive payment until 2010. On an accrual basis, Fresh Colors reports $80,000 of revenue during 2009 because that is when it is earned. The company matches expenses of $50,000 to the $80,000 of revenue. Thus, 2009 net income is $30,000 ($80,000 $50,000). The $30,000 of net income reported for 2009 indicates the profitability of Fresh Colors’ efforts during that period. If, instead, Fresh Colors were to use cash-basis accounting, it would report $50,000 of expenses in 2009 and $80,000 of revenues

More about Accrual Versus Cash Basis of Accounting

Open Document