Difference between Accrual-based Accounting and Cash Based Accounting

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The accrual-based accounting and cash based accounting are the primary accounting methods.

Definitions of Cash Accounting

The base if cash accounting is that gratitude of revenues and expenses occurs when the real receipt or disbursement of funds takes place. That is income or loss is just recognized when there exist either inflow or outflow of money in reality. In most cases, this method is only used by sole traders, freelancers and other authorities who identify their income whenever there is an inflow of cash and report expense when some money goes out of their entity.

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Definition of Accrual Accounting

The Accrual Accounting is also known as the mercantile system of accounting. This method of accounting is the base of the present-day accounting.  In Accrual Accounting, transactions get logged immediately they take place. Income or any generated cash get recorded directly it is earned, and expenses get posted immediately they are incurred. For receipt payment, this process is regarded as the most effective the most appreciated type of accounting as it can fulfill the criterion of matching the expenses of a specific accounting period with the revenue generated.

The fundamental difference between accrual accounting and cash accounting is the timing when both the income and expenses get posted in the accounting books. In cash-based accounting, items get posted when the actual cash transaction happens regardless of the exact time when the profits are earned or expenses incurred.  Therefore, if your organization delivered goods or serves to a client, and you operate within credit for 30 days that is you will get paid for delivery after 30 days of delivery.  Regarding cash accounting, the income from this distribution will get in the records once you receive payment from the client, whether before or after the 30 days.  On accrual accounting, in the above case, income will be recorded as soon as the goods get to the destination or services rendered.


The cash-based accounting can be quite misleading compared to accrual accounting.  In cash accounting, the exact timer you receive cash can be much later than when you rendered the services or delivered the products.  The accounting method has a very narrow business view. It has no control over complex non-cash transactions.  There is a possibility of some operations to be left or forgotten. On the other hand, accrual accounting is a more accurate presentation custom. It gives a real or genuine picture of the position of the organization or business regarding monetary value. This is because everything gets recorded as it happens and there is no possibility of anything being left out.

Ease of use and it’s nature

The cash accounting method is straightforward to use, very less recording happens, and therefore fewer journals are required. However, it does not create accurate reports for estimating future sales and expenses. On the other hand, accrual-based accounting is very hard to maintain. Everything gets into the documents as it happens and therefore requires more journal entries which cost accounting. Even though it creates very accurate records, the amount of cash collected during the accounting period cannot be tracked.

Accrual-based Accounting vs Cash Based Accounting

Accrual-based Accounting VERSUS Cash Based Accounting

Accrual-based Accounting and Cash Based Accounting in a Nutshell:

The difference in the occurrence and recognition of revenue as well as expenses is the main among the two methods of accounting.

The small businesses usually use the cash accounting, Nonprofits organizations, and many other small organizations.

On the other hand, accrual accounting is mostly used by the big enterprises as the transaction occurs faster.

When choosing the accurate method for your business, you must discern where business stands and the between the two accounting methods.


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