Loading the player...

What does 'Fiscal Year-End' mean

Fiscal year-end is the completion of a one-year, or 12-month, accounting period. The reason that a company's fiscal year often differs from the calendar year and may not close on Dec. 31 is due to the nature of a company's needs. If the fiscal year-end is too close to a heavy selling season, the company may have a hard time producing annual financial statements and counting inventories because manpower and resources are dedicated to the sales floor.

BREAKING DOWN 'Fiscal Year-End'

Every year public companies are required to publish financial statements for review by the Securities and Exchange Commission. These documents give investors an update on company performance compared to previous years and provide analysts with a way to understand business operations. Financial statements are published at the end of each fiscal year-end. The fiscal year-end depends on the company. While most companies have a fiscal year-end at the end of December, others vary based on the industry or some other business need. Many companies operate on a non-calendar business cycle or have a supplier base that does.

Fiscal Year-End Vs. Calendar Year-End

For example, if a company has a fiscal year-end that is the same as the calendar year-end, it means that the fiscal year ends on Dec. 31. However, many companies, such as those in the retail sector, have a fiscal year that ends in January due to the heavy sales cycle during the holiday season. These companies have a fiscal year-end of Jan. 31 rather than Dec. 31. Some might say that the academic year-end is August because it starts in September. The best time for a resort to report earnings is probably after vacation season. The best fiscal year-end for any one business is generally designed with the needs of the company in mind. However, companies must decide on their fiscal year-end when they file for incorporation. It is not something that can be changed every year. It is also important to note that the timing of a company's fiscal year does not change the due date on taxes. For example, taxes, which are based on a calendar year-end, are still due on April 15 regardless of the fiscal year-end.

Analysis Considerations

Analysts rely on comparative data to identify trends and create forecasts. For example, if the analyst compares two companies with different fiscal years, it may skew the analysis, so it is important to convert one company to the other company's fiscal year. This is especially the case for companies in seasonal industries.

  1. Fiscal Year - FY

    A fiscal year is the period that a company or government uses ...
  2. Calendar Year

    The one-year period that begins on January 1 and ends on December ...
  3. Last Fiscal Year - LFY

    The last fiscal year is the most recent 12-month accounting period ...
  4. Year

    A year is a 12-month period whose start date can vary.
  5. Fiscal Neutrality

    Fiscal neutrality occurs when taxes and government spending are ...
  6. SEC Form NSAR-BT

    SEC Form NSAR-BT is used for an annual SEC filing that registered ...
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Year-End Tax Planning Tips for 2017

    Use these tips to set a course for year-end tax planning.
  2. Investing

    Microsoft Stock: An Earnings Case Study (MSFT)

    Examine Microsoft's historic and forecast earnings. Analyze the factors driving recent EPS performance and shaping consensus analyst estimates.
  3. Investing

    Apple Stock: An Earnings Case Study (AAPL)

    Discover an earnings case study on Apple, and learn about its EPS and revenue growth rates, and what analysts are projecting for Apple in 2016 and 2017.
  4. Taxes

    Start Preparing Now For Your Next Tax Bill

    By now, your accountant should be able to estimate your tax bill. If there are some surprises, you still have time to plan any last minute deductions.
  5. Personal Finance

    A Year-End Checklist for Better Financial Health

    Having a year-end financial check list can help you stay financially healthy.
  6. Taxes

    5 Year-End Tax Strategies to Prepare for 2017

    Here are five strategies to implement before the end of the year that could help lower your tax bill.
  7. Taxes

    Preparing for Potential Tax Policy Changes

    Here is a comprehensive guide to tax planning in an environment where policies could dramatically change under new leadership in Washington.
  8. Retirement

    5 Retirement Plan Moves To Make Before Year-End

    Make sure all your loose ends are tied with these simple reminders and tips for your plans.
  9. Small Business

    How To Ask For A Pay Raise

    We look at what you should and what you should avoid if you want to get the salary bump you deserve.
  10. Investing

    Disney Stock: An Earnings Case Study (DIS)

    Explore an earnings case study of The Walt Disney Company, and learn about its earnings and revenue in 2014 and 2015 and what analysts expect for Disney in 2016 and 2017.
  1. Who sets fiscal policy, the president or congress?

    Discover how fiscal policy is set in the United States, including how all three branches of government can affect a given ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are some examples of expansionary fiscal policy?

    Learn about expansionary fiscal policy – tax cuts and government spending – that are used by governments to boost spending ... Read Answer >>
  3. Why is it sometimes better to use an average inventory figure when calculating the ...

    For a couple of key reasons, average inventory can be a better and more accurate measure when calculating the inventory turnover ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Intrinsic Value

    Intrinsic value is the perceived or calculated value of a company, including tangible and intangible factors, and may differ ...
  2. Current Assets

    Current assets is a balance sheet account that represents the value of all assets that can reasonably expected to be converted ...
  3. Volatility

    Volatility measures how much the price of a security, derivative, or index fluctuates.
  4. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  5. Cost of Debt

    Cost of debt is the effective rate that a company pays on its current debt as part of its capital structure.
  6. Depreciation

    Depreciation is an accounting method of allocating the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life and is used to account ...
Trading Center