This is a question that puzzles many people because, unlike individuals, who must file their taxes to the IRS every year within the exact same time period (by April 15), companies have the benefit of deciding when their fiscal year begins and ends.

There are a couple of things to know:

  1. Corporations must declare their fiscal year-end (or beginning) when they first form. They can't just change it from year to year.
  2. Unlike individuals, corporations must submit quarterly reports of their financial figures to the SEC.

However, the main reason companies choose different fiscal year-ends is that their industries fluctuate at various times. Thus, by being able to adjust the timing of their earnings reports, companies can minimize the negative seasonal effects that occur within their specific industries. For example, a company that has to buy inventory during the summer months probably won't want to report its earnings during this time because the inventory purchases will decrease its earnings.

To learn more about earnings reports, check out Surprising Earnings Results, Research Report Red Flags and Types Of EPS.

  1. Why do companies postpone earnings announcements?

    During the course of a fiscal year, a company will report earnings on a total of four separate occasions: three quarterly ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the first day of the first quarter?

    The first day of companies' fiscal years varies based on industry cycles. The timing is especially important because annual ... Read Answer >>
  3. When does Q2 start for most companies?

    Learn about the fiscal year of different companies and when the second quarter begins. Explore why analysts often prefer ... Read Answer >>
  4. When is earnings season?

    Earnings season is the period of time during which a large number of publicly traded companies release their quarterly earning ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between a quarter and a year in finance?

    Examine the difference between a fiscal quarter and a fiscal year. Learn why investors examine both quarterly and annual ... Read Answer >>
  6. If I have a number of stock shares and that company reports earnings of X amount ...

    Simply? Yes and no.Part of the answer to your question is "no" because when a company reports $X of earnings per share in ... Read Answer >>
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  1. Fiscal Year-End

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  2. SEC Form 10-KT

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