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A system of accounting that recognizes revenue and matches it with the expenses that generated that revenue. Unlike other systems of accounting, which recognize revenue and expenses in the order in which they are received, the accrual accounting convention ignores the function of time and only considers what expenses generate what revenues, even if payments have not actually been made. Companies with inventories are required to use the accrual method for tax purposes.
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accrualan expense which is outstanding at the end of a trading period and which needs to be included in the accounting results for the period. For example, an unpaid INVOICE for car repairs would be included in the expenses of the trading period in calculating profits, since the repair costs relate to that period; the unpaid bill is counted as a liability of the firm at the period end, and afterwards until it is paid, and is added to CURRENT LIABILITIES in the firm's BALANCE SHEET. See PREPAYMENT.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson