If your company uses accrual basis accounting, what do you need to know?

When it comes to recording income and costs in accounting, there are two methods: cash basis and accrual basis. While cash basis records transactions when money is exchanged, accrual basis records them when they are earned or incurred, regardless of whether money has exchanged hands or not.

Businesses that use accrual-based accounting can record income and expenses as soon as they are earned or spent, even if payment hasn’t yet been received or paid. This enables a more accurate representation of the business’s financial activities and performance over a specific period. According to the accrual basis, for instance, if a business offers services to a customer in June but doesn’t get paid until July, the revenue would be recorded in June when the service was supplied. However, organizations that use accrual-based accounting need to keep a few things in mind.

Accounts Receivable

Customers’ outstanding balances for delivered but unpaid products and services are known as accounts receivable. No matter when the money is received, revenue is recorded using the accrual basis of accounting when it is earned. This implies that if a company has accounts receivable, it has recognized revenue but has not yet received the money. Companies must maintain track of their accounts receivable and make sure they’re getting paid on time. Late payments can hurt a company’s cash flow and possibly result in write-offs for bad debt.

Accounts Payable

The total amount owed by a business to its suppliers or vendors for goods or services that have already been provided but not yet been paid for is known as accounts payable. In other words, if a company has accounts payable, it has recognized an expenditure but hasn’t yet made the payment. To prevent late fees or penalties, businesses must monitor their accounts payable and make sure they are paying their invoices on time.


The goods or supplies that a company has on hand and plans to sell are considered inventory. In accrual basis accounting, the cost of inventory is recorded as an expense when it is sold rather than at the time of acquisition. As a result, companies must monitor their inventory levels and make sure they’re not keeping anything that’s out-of-date or not selling. If an organization’s inventory is overstocked, it may hinder cash flow and result in losses if it needs to be discounted for sale.


Depreciation is the progressive decrease in asset value. it is recorded as a cost in accrual basis accounting throughout the asset’s useful life. Businesses must maintain track of their assets and make sure that their depreciation calculations are accurate. Depreciation overstatements or understatements can produce false financial statements and affect a company’s ability to secure finance.

Prepaid Expenses

A business’s prepaid expenses are those that it has already paid for future products or services that it will get. Prepaid costs are recorded as an asset when they are paid for under accrual basis accounting, and as an expense when the products or services are received. Businesses need to maintain track of their pre-paid costs and make sure they are deducting them within the appropriate period. If this isn’t done, financial statements may be incorrect which might affect a company’s capacity for decision-making.


Accruals are expenses that have occurred but haven’t been paid for or recorded. Although accruals are recorded as expenses when they are incurred under accrual basis accounting, it doesn’t matter when the money is received. Businesses must thus monitor their accruals and make sure they are appropriately documenting them. Failure to do so might result in false financial statements and affect a company’s ability to get finance.

Timing Differences

Timing differences occur when revenue or expenses are recognized in different periods due to the timing of when cash is exchanged. As an illustration, a company might get paid for a good or service in one year, but the revenue might not be recorded until the following year. Businesses must be conscious of timing variances and make sure that they are accurately recording them in their accounting systems.

Accurate Record-Keeping

Businesses that use the accrual method of accounting must maintain accurate records. To guarantee that income and costs are recognized at the appropriate times, all financial transactions need to be recorded and tracked. Accounts receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory Levels, Prepaid Expenses, and Accruals are some of the things that need to be monitored. You can use some reliable bookkeeping service to do so.


Reconciliations include comparing financial records to make sure they are correct and comprehensive. This involves comparing the balances on the bank statements, the accounts payable, the accounts receivable, and the inventory. Businesses should do frequent reconciliations to verify the accuracy of their financial records and to spot any inconsistencies or mistakes.

Tax Reporting

Companies that utilize accrual accounting may be required to pay taxes on revenue that has already been recognized, even though the cash has not yet been received. Businesses must keep precise records of their revenue and spending in order to properly declare them on their tax returns. Failure to record income and expenses correctly can result in tax fines and have a negative influence on a company’s financial condition.


In conclusion, companies that employ accrual basis accounting must pay close attention to several factors, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, depreciation, prepaid costs, accruals, timing variations, proper record-keeping, reconciliations, and tax reporting. To guarantee that financial statements are accurate and comprehensive, precise tracking and recording of financial transactions, frequent reconciliations, and correct tax reporting are essential. Failure to do so may result in erroneous financial statements, have an influence on decision-making, and have penalties or other financial repercussions. For organizations employing accrual-based accounting to preserve financial integrity and make wise financial decisions, these factors must be managed properly.