Purpose & Perks Of Your Business Having 13 Accounting Periods


To learn more, check out CFI’s free Accounting Fundamentals Course. Whether you opt for a quarterly, annual, or monthly accounting period, make sure it’s consistent. The primary purpose of the accounting period concept is to streamline reporting and analysis. Businesses who wish to display consistency and stability in their growth over the long term can verify this with a consistent accounting period.

  • If comparing two or more companies, adjustments may need to be made to ensure it’s an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • These reports are used for a number of purposes including; taxation, investment potential, as well as internal evaluation.
  • With 13 accounting periods, you are not adding an additional period into the mix.
  • This article and related content is the property of The Sage Group plc or its contractors or its licensors (“Sage”).
  • Sage makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness or accuracy of this article and related content.
  • This can be particularly true with private businesses who prefer to save money on audit and accounting fees.

In this example the fiscal years ending in 2011 and 2016 have 53 weeks. This is the common calendar structure for some retail and manufacturing industries. Each quarter has thirteen weeks which are grouped into one 5-week month and two 4-week months. 4- or 5-week fiscal months such as the 4 weeks ending the last Saturday of February, etc. Since the majority of businesses have their fiscal year end on December 31, that is when the accounting firms are busiest. Sometimes, businesses will pick a different year end when the accountants are less busy to get a lower rate. This can be particularly true with private businesses who prefer to save money on audit and accounting fees.

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An accounting period is used for recording and analysis purposes. It’s an established timeframe during which accounting functions are measured. A calendar or fiscal year is often used as an accounting period, but businesses might choose shorter periods of a quarter, a month, or even a week.Certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. Financial modeling is performed in Excel to forecast a company’s financial performance. Overview of what is financial modeling, how & why to build a model.

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Sage makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness or accuracy of this article and related content. Jacob has crafted articles covering a variety of tax and finance topics, including resolution strategy, financial planning, and more. He has been featured in an array of publications, including Accounting Web, Yahoo, and Business2Community. Every day, more and more small business owners make the switch to bookkeeping and accounting with FinancePal.

How long is a financial period?

In financial accounting the accounting period is determined by regulation and is usually 12 months. The beginning of the accounting period differs according to jurisdiction. For example, one entity may follow the calendar year, January to December, while another may follow April to March as the accounting period.A good accountant is an impeccable rule-follower — and there are a ton of rules in business finance. Many small business owners who attempt to do their own accounting find it to be tedious, complicated, and time-consuming. The end of the fiscal year would move one day earlier on the calendar each year until it would otherwise reach the date four days before the end of the month . At that point the first Saturday in the following month becomes the date closest to the end of August and it resets to that date and the fiscal year has 53 weeks instead of 52.For example, public companies that are required to issue quarterly financial statements have three month reporting periods. Traditional annual statements report on 12-month accounting periods. You can also think of an accounting period as the amount of time it takes to complete oneaccounting cycle. Since the purpose of a cycle is to record transactions over a period of time and report them in the form of financials, it only makes sense the one cycle equals one period. The accounting cycle opens the books at the beginning of each period withreversing entriesand closes the books at the end of a period withyear-end closing entries.

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An accounting period is a period of time that covers certain accounting functions, which can be either a calendar or fiscal year, but also a week, month, or quarter, etc. Some accounting software cannot accommodate 13 accounting periods. Check with your provider to find out if you can use a 13 period cycle in the software and if they are any workarounds for it. With a 13-month accounting period, you create an artificial month (aka a “13th” month). During the 13th month, you account for things like bad debt, write offs, and other income.The end of the fiscal year would move one day earlier on the calendar each year until it would otherwise reach the date seven days before the end of the month . At that point it resets to the end of the month and the fiscal year has 53 weeks instead of 52. In this example the fiscal years ending in 2008, 2013, and 2019 have 53 weeks. This information is significant for business owners, investors, creditors and government agencies. The time period assumption provides the stakeholders with the reliable and relevant financial information to make reliable business decisions in a timely manner.

What Is An Accounting Period?

An accounting period is the period of time covered by a company’s financial statements. Common accounting periods for external financial statements include the calendar year and the calendar quarter . It is common for these companies to also have monthly accounting periods. However, the financial statements for the monthly accounting periods are likely to be used only by the companies’ managements. It is also common for U.S. retailers to have accounting periods that end on a Saturday. The annual accounting period for these businesses may be the 52- or 53-week fiscal years ending on the Saturday closest to February 1 or any other date. The retailers’ quarterly accounting periods will be the 13-week periods, and the monthly accounting periods will be a 4- or 5-week time period.

purpose & perks of your business having 13 accounting periods

The time period of the financial statement is shown in its heading. Technically, an accounting period only applies to the income statement and statement of cash flows, since the balance sheet reports information as of a specific date.Well-crafted statements coupled with proper periodicity is critical for investors and banks to gauge the financial health of a business. In management accounting the accounting period varies widely and is determined by management. The choice of accounting period depends on the business needs and circumstances which might be complex enough to warrant different accounting periods.This makes it easier for certain companies to compare financials during different periods. With the way that financial data is processed, it’s possible for multiple accounting periods to be active at once. For example, a business might look at an accounting time period for the current month, but also aggregate data for the quarter and fiscal year. Using this concept, the business’ ongoing and complex undertakings are divided into short time periods and reported in monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements. For each time period, the business prepares and publishes financial statements.


Whatever accounting period is used should be applied consistently over time. Many businesses use 12 accounting periods per year, or one per month. However, having monthly accounting periods with varying days (e.g., 30 days vs. 31 days in a month) can throw off financial reports.For example, you would enter the cost of goods sold in the same accounting period as the revenue received from the sale of these goods. The issuance of financial statements and the time frame that the statements report in are what defines the length of the period.All businesses are allowed to define as many periods as they want as long as they meet legal requirements. The benefit of using this calendar over a regular calendar is that the end date of the period is always the same day of the week. Each accounting period corresponds to the same accounting period in the previous year and the next year. Provides a review and forecast tool for management and helps in comparative analysis. Usually, the accounting period follows the Gregorian calendar year that consists of twelve months starting from January 1 to December 31. A fiscal year consists of 12 months or 52 weeks and might not end on December 31.

purpose & perks of your business having 13 accounting periods

When utilizing accounting periods, another golden rule is the matching principle. The matching principle is a key tenet of the accrual method of accounting. It requires that expenses are reported in the period during which they were incurred; likewise, all revenue must be reported in the period during which it was earned. An accounting period can consist of any established time frame, although the most common are the week, the month, the quarter, and the fiscal or calendar year. Publicly-held companies are required to release quarterly reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission . In the U.S., some companies have annual accounting periods that end on dates other than December 31. For example, a company could have a fiscal year of July 1 through the following June 30.

Financial Statements To Which The Accounting Period Applies

Will give decision-makers, investors, and banks a large, congruent sample size from which to make judgements on a company’s financial health and outlook. Accounting practice is the process of recording the day-to-day financial activities of a business entity.Depending on your industry, it can be uber beneficial to your business and its books. And, should your business ever trigger an IRS audit, periodicity will be your saving grace. The IRS can be very unforgiving when it comes to mistakes or inconsistencies on financial statements; they have no qualms about adding fines and fees to your balance. Profit and loss statement, the cash flow statement, and the statement of change in equity.Accounting period provides business owners the perspective about the profitability of the business on an ongoing basis and helps them make informed business decisions. To enable this, the accountants have developed the periodicity concept. 13-week fiscal quarters such as the 13 weeks ending on the last Saturday in April, etc.Most companies use one year as their default period, but this doesn’t have to be one calendar year. Many companies with oddfiscal year-endsopen and close their accounting periods in the middle of a calendar year.Its quarterly accounting periods would be July 1 through September 30, etc. If a set of financial statements cover the results of an entire year, then the accounting period is one year.