Accrual Accounting vs Cash Basis Accounting: Which is Right for Your Business?

accrual accounting vs cash basis accounting

Are you starting a business or thinking about changing your accounting method? Choosing between accrual accounting and cash basis accounting is among the most important decisions you’ll have to make. 

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the wrong one can lead to serious financial consequences. Accrual accounting records transactions when they occur, while cash basis accounting records them when payment is received. Each method has its own unique implications for financial reporting, tax purposes, and business decision-making. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between accrual accounting vs cash basis accounting, the pros and cons of each, and how to decide which method is right for your business.

Accrual Accounting vs Cash Basis Accounting: What’s the difference?


Accrual Accounting

Cash Basis Accounting

Definition Regardless of when payment is received or processed, revenue and costs are recorded when they are earned or incurred. Regardless of when the income or expense was generated or spent, revenue and expenses are recorded when payment is received or made.
Timing Transactions are recorded in the period in which they take place. Transactions are recorded in the period in which the payment is received or made.
Complexity More complicated and requires a deeper understanding of accounting fundamentals. Less complicated and easier to grasp.
Accuracy Over time, it provides a more accurate picture of a company’s financial health. Does not provide a comprehensive picture of a company’s financial health in the long run.
Financial Statements Provides a more accurate balance sheet and income statement. In the long run, the balance sheet and income statement may not be correct.
Compliance Required for most companies that earn over a certain amount of revenue. Not required for companies with low revenue or simple financial structures.
Suitability Better suited for larger businesses with more complex financial structures. Better suited for small businesses with simple financial structures.
Tax Implications Higher taxes can result from recording revenue before payment is received. Can result in lower taxes due to recording revenue after payment is received.

By understanding the differences between the two methods, businesses can make informed decisions about which method is best for their financial reporting and management needs.

Benefits and Drawbacks 

Accrual accounting and cash basis accounting are two methods businesses can use to keep track of their financial transactions. Both methods have their benefits and drawbacks.

Accrual Accounting

accrual accounting

Benefits Of Accrual Accounting

  • It provides a more plausible view of a company’s financial health.
  • It records revenue and expenses as they are incurred rather than when money is exchanged. This can help businesses in making better-informed decisions about pricing, inventory, and investment.

Drawbacks Of Accrual Accounting

  • Accrual accounting can be more complicated and time-consuming than cash basis accounting.
  • Smaller businesses or those with limited resources may find it unsuitable.

Cash Basis Accounting

cash basis accounting

Benefits Of Cash Basis Accounting

  • Cash basis accounting is less complicated and easy to understand. 
  • It records revenue and expenses when cash is received or paid out, making it a more straightforward method for smaller businesses or those with simpler transactions.

Drawbacks Of Cash Basis Accounting

  • It can lead to a less accurate image of a company’s financial condition.
  • It does not take into account revenue or expenses that have been incurred but not yet paid or received.

Ultimately, businesses should choose the accounting method that best suits their needs and circumstances, considering each method’s benefits and drawbacks.

Which Is The Right Fit For Your Business?

Now that you know what accrual and cash basis accounting is, it’s time for the moment of truth: which is better for your business?

For businesses that operate on a credit basis, have a complicated financial structure, and have a high volume of outstanding payments or invoices, accrual accounting is the best option. It benefits businesses that have long-term agreements with clients or suppliers carrying inventories. 

Accrual accounting allows businesses to document revenue and costs as they happen and match them to the period in which they were earned or incurred, giving a more accurate picture of a company’s financial performance over time. This is especially important for businesses that must use their financial records to make decisions about future investments, expansion, or debt management.

On the other hand, cash-based accounting is a better choice for small businesses that run on a cash basis and have simple financial structures. 

It’s perfect for businesses that don’t need to keep track of inventory and normally get paid when a sale is made. As income is only recorded when payment is received, it can also lead to cheaper taxes, which can be beneficial to businesses that need to closely monitor their cash flow and expenses.

So, the choice between accrual accounting and cash basis accounting ultimately depends on each business’s specific needs and circumstances.

Larger, more complex businesses with long-term contracts, inventory, and a higher volume of credit transactions are more likely to benefit from accrual accounting. 

In contrast, small businesses with simpler financial structures and a cash-only basis may find that cash basis accounting better suits their needs. 

Manage payments easily and quickly with NTT DATA Payment Services

When it comes to accounting, businesses can use either accrual or cash basis accounting methods. While both accrual and cash-based accounting have their pros and cons, it is important to analyse both of them and understand how each one can affect your business. 

NTT DATA Payment Services offers a complete payment solution to advance both your offline and online businesses. From online payment gateway and POS machine to IVR payments, mobile applications and Bharat QR Scan and Pay, we ensure maximum comfort, convenience, and safety for all your payments.


In conclusion, whether you choose accrual accounting or cash basis accounting can significantly impact your business’s financial statements and decision-making processes. 

It is important to carefully evaluate your business needs, industry requirements, and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. By understanding the differences between the two methods and considering your business’s specific circumstances, you can make an informed decision that will benefit your bottom line in the long run. 

Remember, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of an accountant or financial advisor when making important financial decisions for your business!

Accrual Accounting vs Cash Basis Accounting FAQs

1. Which is more accurate cash or accrual?

Accrual accounting is considered more accurate because it provides a more precise picture of a company’s financial situation. It allows companies to track credit transactions more efficiently through an accounts receivable system.

2. Which accounting method is best for small businesses?

Small businesses usually prefer cash basis accounting since it is simple and quick to manage. Cash accounting requires businesses to record transactions only when cash is received or paid out, making it easier to control cash flow and understand the company’s immediate financial status.

3. Do investors prefer cash or accrual accounting?

Investors prefer businesses that keep their books on an accrual basis. It not only communicates a degree of professionalism, but it also helps them better evaluate your company.

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons