Terminology – Accounting Basics

Cash Method of Accounting

income and expenses are only recorded when cash changes hands. Financial reports only reflect cash transactions. This is a relatively simple system for simple situations. Because all obligations are not recorded until cash changes hands, this method does not provide an accurate portrayal of the financial condition of the association at any given time.

Accrual Method of Accounting

keeps track of all financial activities, including revenue as it is earned (as opposed to when it is received) and expenses as the obligation is incurred (as opposed to when it is paid). This makes possible a more accurate determination of the financial condition of the association at any point in time. Also, this is a better method for multi-year tracking of capital reserves credits and deficiencies. The primary disadvantage is the greater complexity and technical knowledge that is needed to maintain the records, understand the reports, etc.

Capital Reserves

the Board has the obligation to repair and replace major capital facilities, buildings, and equipment of the association. The ideal method of providing for these future expenses is the establishment of a capital reserves system and budget to assure that such funds are available when needed. With knowledge that the future holds predictable major expenditures for repair and replacement of facilities and equipment, the association could begin the gradual accumulation of funds through a reserve account to meet all or a portion of that expense when it comes due.