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Cash vs Accrual accounting: Understanding the difference and which method is best for your business

When it comes to managing the finances of a business, there are two main accounting methods to choose from: cash and accrual. Both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages and the choice between them will depend on the specific needs of your business. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the difference between cash and accrual accounting and help you determine which method is best for your business.

Cash accounting

Cash accounting is the simplest method of accounting and is based on the cash that comes in and out of a business. Under this method, income is recorded when cash is received and expenses are recorded when cash is paid out. This method is best for small businesses or businesses with very simple financial transactions. Cash accounting is easy to understand, easy to implement and also easy to maintain.

Accrual accounting

On the other hand, Accrual accounting is based on the economic events that occur during a specific period, regardless of when the cash is received or paid. Under this method, income is recorded when it is earned and expenses are recorded when they are incurred. This method is best for businesses that have more complex financial transactions and need a more accurate picture of their financial performance over a specific period of time. Accrual accounting is considered to be more accurate and provides a better long-term view of the company’s financial health.

Another difference between cash and accrual accounting is the timing of when income and expenses are recorded. Under the cash method, income is recorded when cash is received and expenses are recorded when cash is paid out. Under the accrual method, income is recorded when earned and expenses are recorded when incurred, regardless of when the cash is received or paid out.

It’s also important to note that businesses that use accrual accounting must also use accrual basis for tax reporting, while businesses that use cash basis for accounting can also use it for tax reporting. This is because the accrual method provides a more accurate picture of a business’s financial performance, which can be helpful for tax purposes.

In conclusion, both cash and accrual accounting have their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice between them will depend on the specific needs of your business. Cash accounting is best for small businesses or businesses with very simple financial transactions, while accrual accounting is best for businesses that have more complex financial transactions and need a more accurate picture of their financial performance over a specific period of time. It’s important to consult with your bookkeeper or accountant to determine which method is best for your business. And if you decide to change your accounting method, it’s also important to inform your tax advisor to ensure compliance with tax laws. Contact us today to help determine which method is best for your business.  


Preferred Bookkeeping and Tax Services, LLC specializes in accounting and tax preparation services. We specialize in tax return filing and tax planning for individuals, Bookkeeping and financial statements for small businesses, Corporate tax return filing. We are based in Palm Coast, Florida. Our reach goes beyond our territory by offering virtual services.

Rachel Velez, founder of Preferred Bookkeeping and Tax Services, LLC, is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) and the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) and stays current with continuing professional education courses so that our firm stays on the leading edge of ever-changing tax laws and accounting methods. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation or contact us so that we can assist you.

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