Why you should use the accrual method
The accrual method of accounting requires a business to post revenue when they earn it and expenses when they incur them. This method applies the matching principle, which matches revenue with the expenses that relate to the revenue. This method ignores the timing of cash inflows and outflows when computing the profit. Here’s an example that explains the accrual method:
Seaside Home Furnishings builds custom furniture. When a customer orders a dining room table, Seaside tracks the accounting activity related to the sale.
- Seaside paid $1,000 cash for the wood, metal and other materials on 30 January.
- Seaside paid $600 in cash for labour costs on 20 February.
- Seaside shipped the completed table on 5 March, and the customer paid the retail price of $2,300 on 5 March.
Using the accrual method of accounting, Seaside posted revenue of $2,300 on 5 March, along with the material and labour costs. The revenue matches the expenses incurred, generating a $700 profit.
Seaside can calculate the profit accurately because the timing of the costs is not important. It’s more important to match the revenue with the expenses incurred to generate the revenue.
On the other hand, the cash basis method distorts a business’s true profit.