Accounting Method

A system of rules is applied to determine how and when revenue and expenses are recorded in an organization.


What Is an Accounting Method? 

An accounting method is a set of rules and guidelines set by a governing body. It discusses how an organization will record its business transactions in the books of accounts. The two methods available to organizations are cash and accrual methods. 

What Is Single-Entry Accounting/Cash-based Accounting?

Cash-based accounting implies that a transaction of any revenue or expense will not be passed in the books until money has actually been received or paid. Many businesses prefer it for bookkeeping due to its simplicity. It contributes to the process of measuring the organization’s real cash flow. However, in terms of the decision-making process for long-term projects, it does not play a significant part.

When it comes to paying taxes, cash accounting might be beneficial to some types of firms. You have complete control over the timing of transactions since revenue and costs are not recorded until the moment when money is actually transferred.

What Is Double-Entry Accounting/Accrual Accounting?

In the accrual method, revenue or expense transactions are recorded when accrued or incurred. It refers to the principles of accounting that are often adhered to by large organizations. 

You employ more complex accounts, such as accounts payable, long-term liabilities, current assets and inventory. In this method, revenue is recorded at the moment the transaction takes place, regardless of whether or not the cash has actually been received at that time. You are also required to record all expenses when you receive the bill.

If you want to declare your income using the accrual method for tax reasons, you are required to do so in the year that you earn it, even if you have not yet received the money. In addition, you can deduct costs in the same year that you incurred them, regardless of whether or not you paid for the charges.

How to Choose an Accounting Method?

You may use both accounting methods to make a budget. Here are some other things to think about while choosing between the two accounting techniques:

1. Size of Your Organization

Your bookkeeping requirements as a single company will differ significantly from those of a large corporation. When selecting an accounting technique for your company, bear that in mind.

2. Future Plans

Although you are running a small business today, do you have any ambitions to develop and expand? If this is the case, you could be better off selecting an accounting approach based on your business’s future growth rather than its current size. The decision you make may also be affected by hiring personnel.

3. The Organization’s Legal Framework

You must use accrual accounting if you are a large company or C corporation. It is likely that you are not a small firm if you’re generating millions of dollars annually in revenue. The accrual accounting system must also be used by any firm that is publicly traded.

What Is Modified Cash-Basis Accounting/Hybrid Accounting Method?

Hybrid accounting, often referred to as modified cash-basis accounting combines elements of accrual-based and cash-based accounting. Typically, accrual is the most difficult technique, whereas cash-basis is considered the easiest one. The modified approach offers business owners who want elements of both cash and accrual accounting a happy medium.

A company may decide to employ the modified cash-basis accounting approach to get a more realistic financial image because other techniques have certain limitations.

Benefits of Modified Cash-Basis Method

The modified cash-basis technique can better balance short-term and long-term accounting information by including elements from both cash-basis and accrual. This way, you can track both short-term elements, like utility bills, and long-term assets, like property.

Double-entry accounting is also used in a modified cash-basis system. Every input into an account in double-entry accounting necessitates the creation of a comparable and opposing entry into a distinct account.