Course Outline
Join PRO

What is the accrual method?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Accrual Method

The accrual method of accounting reports revenues on the income statement when they are earned even if the customer will pay 30 days later.

The accrual method of accounting also requires that expenses and losses be reported on the income statement when they occur even if payment will take place 30 days later.

The accrual method of accounting, which is also known as the accrual basis of accounting, is required for large corporations. (The cash method of accounting may be used by individuals and some small companies.) The accrual method and the associated adjusting entries will result in a more complete and accurate reporting of a company’s assets, liabilities, equity, and a more accurate reporting of its revenues, expenses, and earnings during each accounting period.

Example of the Accrual Method

Assume that a company sells $48,000 of merchandise on May 15, but allows the customer to pay on June 15. On May 15, the company will credit its income statement account Sales and will debit its current asset account Accounts Receivable. (When the customer pays on June 15, the company will debit Cash and will credit Accounts Receivable.)

Assume the company had a $10,000 plumbing repair done on May 31 and is told the amount will be $10,000 but the bill will not be received until June 3 and payment will be due on June 13. On May 31, the company will debit Repairs and Maintenance Expense for $10,000 and will credit the liability account Accrued Expenses (or Accounts Payable). (On June 13, the company will credit Cash and will debit the liability account.)

Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your job
  • Get hired for a new position
  • Understand your small business
  • Pass your accounting class
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews

Features

PRO

PRO Plus

Features
Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Explanations
Quizzes
Q&A
Word Scrambles
Crosswords
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Flashcards
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of
Achievement

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus