Cash-Basis Accounting

By Entrepreneur Staff

Cash-Basis Accounting Definition:

An accounting system that doesn't record accruals but instead recognizes income (or revenue) only when payment is received and expenses only when payment is made. There's no match of revenue against expenses in a fixed accounting period, so comparisons of previous periods aren't possible.

The cash method is simple in that the business's books are kept based on the actual flow of cash in and out of the business. Income is recorded when it's received, and expenses are reported when they're actually paid. The cash method is used by many sole proprietors and businesses with no inventory. From a tax standpoint, it's sometimes advantageous for a new business to use the cash method of accounting. That way, recording income can be put off until the next tax year, while expenses are counted right away.

The cash method may also continue to be appropriate for a small, cash-based business or a small service company. You should consult your accountant when deciding which accounting method would be best for your company.

More From Accounting

Cash Flow

The difference between the available cash at the beginning of an accounting period and that at the end of the period. Cash comes in from sales, loan proceeds, investments and the sale of assets and goes out to pay for operating and direct expenses, principal debt service, and the purchase of asset

Cash Flow Statement

A financial statement that reflects the inflow of revenue vs. the outflow of expenses resulting from operating, investing and financing activities during a specific time period

Cash-Basis Accounting

An accounting system that doesn't record accruals but instead recognizes income (or revenue) only when payment is received and expenses only when payment is made. There's no match of revenue against expenses in a fixed accounting period, so comparisons of previous periods aren't possible.

Accountant

A person whose work it is to inspect, keep or adjust accounts