Understanding Modified Cash-Basis in Accounting Pros Cons

Understanding Modified Cash-Basis in Accounting Pros Cons

Understanding Modified Cash-Basis in Accounting, Pros & Cons

Modified cash basis is an accounting method that combines elements of cash and accrual accounting. It aims to provide a clearer financial picture by recording long-term assets on an accrual basis and short-term assets on a cash basis. The goal is to avoid the costs associated with switching to full accrual accounting.

Key Takeaways:

– The modified cash basis combines cash and accrual accounting.

– Long-term assets are recorded on an accrual basis, while short-term assets use the cash accounting method.

– Accrual methods offer better business performance insights, while cash basis records help keep costs down.

– The modified cash method is for internal use only and does not comply with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

– Public companies must use the accrual method for financial statements, with some exceptions for GAAP.

Understanding Modified Cash Basis:

To understand how modified cash basis works, it’s crucial to understand traditional bookkeeping practices. Cash basis accounting recognizes income upon receipt and expenses upon payment, making it simple. In contrast, accrual accounting recognizes income upon fulfillment and records expenses regardless of cash movement.

The modified cash basis combines elements from both cash and accrual accounting. Short-term assets, such as accounts receivable and inventory, are recorded on a cash basis. Longer-term assets, like fixed assets and long-term debt, are recorded on the balance sheet and include depreciation and amortization on the income statement.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Modified Cash Basis:


– The modified cash basis balances short-term and long-term accounting items by combining techniques.

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– Accrual methods provide better business performance insights, while cash basis records help control costs.

– Complete accrual accounting records are time-consuming.


– The modified cash basis is inadequate for formal reviews by auditors, investors, or banks.

– It cannot be used for financial reporting compliance with IFRS or GAAP.

– Publicly traded companies must report financials using the accrual method.

– Companies with average annual gross receipts under $25 million can choose either cash or accrual for tax reporting.

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