There are different accounting methods that you can use to track your business’s finances. Two of the most popular include the accrual method and the cash basis method. The accrual accounting method involves recording transactions — both revenue and expense transactions — when they occur. The cash basis accounting method, on the other hand, involves recording transactions your business receives the payment or sends the payment. There are several pros of cons of using the cash basis accounting method.
When compared to the accrual accounting method, the cash basis accounting method is easier. You can use it by evaluating your business’s bank account. The cash basis accounting method focuses on recording transactions when your business receives payments or sends payments. If you discover a new transaction in your business’s bank account, you can record it. The cash basis accounting method is particularly easy, making it a popular choice among small businesses.
Con: Doesn’t Reveal All Liabilities
One of the disadvantages to using the cash basis accounting method is that it doesn’t reveal all liabilities. Liabilities can occur when your business purchases a product or service but doesn’t immediately pay for it. With the cash basis accounting method, you’ll only record expense transactions when your business makes a payment. Therefore, liabilities such as this may go unnoticed — at least for a short period of time.
Pro: Tax Savings
You may be able to take advantage of tax savings by using the cash basis accounting method. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doesn’t necessarily offer lower tax rates to businesses that use the cash basis accounting method. Nonetheless, it may lower your business’s taxes. With the cash basis accounting method, you can wait to record transactions when the money enters or leaves your business’s bank account.
Con: Restricted Usage
There are restrictions regarding which businesses can use the cash basis accounting method. The IRS, for instance, typically prohibits businesses from using this alternative accounting method if they are classified as a corporation You can still use the cash basis accounting method if your business is a sole proprietorship or an LLC. If it’s a corporation, though, you’ll have to use the accrual accounting method.
When choosing an accounting method, you should weigh the pros and cons. The cash basis accounting method is easy and potentially offers tax savings benefits. With that said, it fails to reveal all liabilities and it’s allowed by the IRS for some businesses.
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