What Are Non-cash Expenses? Meaning and Types

Non-cash Expenses

Non-cash expenses have no link with actual cash transactions, but you should record them in the income statement. Depreciation is a common example of a non-cash expense. When you debit the depreciation amount in the income statement, it reduces net profit without affecting the cash flow.

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What Are Non-Cash Items In Income Statement?

Non-cash items are part of a business’s net income, but they do not affect the cash flow. These are financial items such as depreciation and amortization. These items affect the income statement by showing lower earnings without having an impact on cash flow.

Businesses determine their profit and loss through the income statements and also report it to their investors. You can measure your income through non-cash transactions ( including equipment) using an accrual accounting method.

Example:

  • On June 8, 2020, you bought a printer for your business and paid $2,000 in cash. According to an estimate, the printer may have a useful life of five years. You create an annual depreciation expense of $400 for the next five years.
  • In 2020, you recorded a depreciation expense of $400 on the income statement and an investment of $2,000 on the cash flow statement.
  • The next year, you must record a depreciation expense of $400 on the income statement. There is no investment to record on the cash flow statement.
  • It continues till depreciation from this printer is zero.

A non-cash expense, in this case, is $400, which is to record as depreciation, but there is no cash flow on this expense. The business should record the capital cost of the asset only once in the cash flow statement. A business should report its actual earning of five years by distributing its cost across these years.

What Are Non-Cash Transactions?

Some of the common non-cash transactions are:

  • Provision for discount expenses
  • Deferred income taxes
  • Asset write-downs
  • Provisions for future losses
  • Depreciation
  • Amortization
  • Unrealized gain
  • Unrealized loss
  • Impairment expenses
  • Stock-based compensation

These are part of a business, but they do not affect the cash flow.

What Are Non-Cash Fees?

It is an expense against earnings but without involving cash. The balance sheet includes the non-cash fees against non-cash items. For preparing the cash flow statement, you need to subtract the non-cash items from the income statement.

Example:

The business owes the money that is in accounts receivable but not received yet. The income statement must record this amount. At the time of preparing the cash flow statement, you can exclude the non-cash items.

A business needs to record non-cash expenses, but it is important to know that these transactions involve estimates.

Example:

Those products that require warranty repairs need calculations such as:

A company will set aside a non-cash item as an allowance. A high estimate of allowance decreases the income, whereas a low estimate can lead to other problems. That is why a company should carefully deal with non-cash items. 

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