Cash accounting

Cash Accounting: Definition and Explanation

4.9/5 - (10 votes)

Cash accounting record business transactions in which cash has been received or paid. This means that income and expenses are usually recognized based on the amount of cash received (or paid) rather than the amount of assets or liabilities involved. The main purpose of the cash method is to make financial statements more accurate and concise. In this way, accountants can provide a better picture of how much money businesses have available to spend and where they are investing their resources. Let's Johnson's Blog Find out more in the following article.

What is Cash Accounting?

The cash method is an accounting method in which transactions are recorded only when cash is received or paid, rather than when the transaction is incurred. This method provides a simple, short-term view of a company's financial position, but does not accurately reflect its financial position over a period of time.

Benefits of Cash Accounting

Benefits of the cash method include:


Cash accounting is a simple method that requires no complicated calculations or record keeping, making it easy for small businesses to use.

Instant picture

It provides a clear, short-term view of a company's financial position, useful for managing cash flow and making short-term financial decisions.

Lower cost

It is less expensive than accrual accounting because it does not require tracking receivables and payable, reducing administrative costs.

Tax advantages

In some cases, a business may have a lower tax liability under the cash basis method because revenue is recognized only when cash is received and expenses when they are paid.

Better cash flow management

It focuses on the timing of cash receipts and disbursements, providing an immediate understanding of the company's cash flow situation.

Drawbacks of the Cash Basis method

The limitations of the cash method include:

Short term view

It only provides a short-term view of the company's financial position, which can be misleading over a period of time.

Not compatible with GAAP

Cash accounting does not follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), making it difficult to compare financial statements with other companies or industry standards.

Does not reflect unpaid obligations

It does not reflect accurately payable or receivables of the company, making it difficult to assess long-term financial obligations.

Does not show the impact of late fees

Deferred expenses, such as upfront, are not reflected in the cash method, making it difficult to assess the full financial impact of these costs.

Inaccurate representation of profitability

It does not reflect the times when revenue was earned and expenses incurred, potentially exaggerating or underestimating a company's profitability.

How does Cash Accounting work?

Cash accounting works by only recording transactions when cash is received or paid, rather than when the transaction occurs. The basic steps of the cash method are as follows:

  • Record cash receipts: Revenue is recognized and recognized when cash is received from customers.
  • Record cash payments: Expenses are recognized and recognized when cash is paid for goods or services.
  • Cash basis balance sheet: A balance sheet is created to show cash and assets, liabilities and shareholders' equity at a specific time.
  • Income statement on a cash basis: The income statement is prepared to show a company's revenue and expenses over a period of time, resulting in a net profit or loss.
  • Compare with bank statementCash accounts are reconciled with bank statements to ensure that all transactions are accurately recorded and that balance sheets and income statements accurately reflect the company's financial position.

Who uses Cash Basis Accounting?

Cash basis accounting is commonly used by small businesses, private companies, and individuals who need a simple method to keep track of their financial transactions. This method is less complicated than accrual accounting and is often used by businesses with limited financial and accounting resources.

Cash basis accounting can also be used by companies with limited cash flow where time tracking of transactions is not a priority. However, it is important to note that some businesses may be required by law to use accrual accounting, depending on their size and industry.

How to reconcile accounts in Cash Accounting

To reconcile accounts in cash basis accounting, follow these steps:

  • Collect all bank statements: Collect all bank statements for the period being reconciled, including statements for checking and savings accounts.
  • Compare bank statements with cash receipts and payments: Compare transactions recorded in bank statements with cash receipts and payments recorded in the accounting system to ensure all transactions are accounted for.
  • Identify and contrast the differences: Identify any discrepancies between bank statements and cash receipts and disbursements recorded in the accounting system and make any necessary adjustments to reconcile the accounts.
  • Record the adjustments: If any discrepancies are found, make the necessary adjustments in the accounting system to balance the cash accounts.
  • Update balance sheet: Update the balance sheet to reflect any changes made during the reconciliation process.
  • Review and document the process: Review the reconciliation process and document any discrepancies found and steps taken to resolve them.

It is important to reconcile the accounts regularly to ensure the accuracy of the financial statements and to detect any errors or discrepancies in a timely manner.

What is the difference between Cash Accounting and Accrual Accounting?

Cash accounting and accrual accounting are two different methods of recording and recording financial transactions. The main differences between the two methods are:

  • Time of recording: Recognition of revenue and expenses when cash is received or spent, while accrual accounting recognizes revenue when earned and expenses when they are incurred, regardless of when cash is received or paid.
  • Reflect unpaid obligations: Do not reflect receivables or payable, while accrual accounting accurately reflects these obligations.
  • Financial statements: Provides a short-term view of a company's financial position, while accrual accounting provides a more comprehensive view of a company's financial position over a period of time.
  • Compliant with GAAP: Does not follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), while accrual accounting is GAAP compliant.
  • Use: Usually used by small businesses, while accrual accounting is used by larger businesses and publicly traded companies.


Cash basis accounting method is a simple and effective accounting method, especially for small businesses. Cash basis accounting can be an ideal accounting method if you have simple business needs and limited technological resources. Please comment below if you have related questions, Johnson's Blog will help you get the best out of this bookkeeping method.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *