fiscal year

noun
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of fiscal year

:an accounting period of 12 months

Examples of fiscal year in a Sentence

  1. Sales were up in the last fiscal year.

  2. Our fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.

First Known Use of fiscal year

1843


Financial Definition of FISCAL YEAR

fiscal year

What It Is

A fiscal year is an accounting period of 365(6) days that does not necessarily correspond to the calendar year beginning on January 1st. The fiscal year is the established period of time when an organization's annual financial records commence and conclude.

How It Works

A company's fiscal year will always reflect the date of the calendar year in which it ends. For example: The financial operations of the federal government are carried out in a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. Therefore the government's fiscal year for 2008 would begin on October 1, 2007 and end on September 30, 2008.

Why It Matters

The key thing to remember is that a fiscal year doesn't necessarily correspond with the calendar year. Although it may not seem like very important, when a company starts its fiscal year can have an impact on its fundamental analysis. This is especially true of cyclical companies.

Consider a retailer that has an incredible first quarter. An investor may look at that company and think it will probably post even higher earnings during the end of the year, during the holiday season. However, if that company started its fiscal year in September, then its first quarter earnings will have already encompassed the higher sales that accompany the holiday shopping season, and the remaining three quarters will most likely be a little lower.


FISCAL YEAR Defined for English Language Learners

fiscal year

noun

Definition of fiscal year for English Language Learners

  • : a 12-month period used by a government, business, or organization to calculate how much money is being earned, spent, etc.


Law Dictionary

fiscal year

noun

legal Definition of fiscal year

:an accounting period of 12 months

Learn More about fiscal year


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fiscal year? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

money or riches

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!