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Construction Glossary >
Accrual Accounting
Construction glossary

What is Accrual Accounting?

Accrual accounting is a method of accounting that records financial events based on occurrences rather than on cash flow. In the context of the construction industry, this could include recognizing revenues and expenses tied to a specific project when they are earned or incurred, not when the money is actually received or paid out.For example, if a construction company orders materials for a project, under accrual accounting, the expense is recorded as soon as the order is made, regardless of when the actual payment is made. Similarly, if a customer is billed for a completed phase of the project, the revenue will be recorded even if the cash hasn't been received yet. This type of accounting provides a more accurate picture of a construction company's financial health by aligning income and expenses to the appropriate fiscal periods. It enables firms to match revenues with the corresponding costs, delivering a holistic view of a project’s profitability. However, it can also complicate cash flow management as there may be a time lag between recorded revenue and actual cash receipt.