What is Fiscal Year?

Both small and large companies prepare financial statements periodically in order to assess their financial condition and results of operations. Accounting time periods are generally a month, a quarter, or a year. Monthly and quarterly time periods are called interim periods. Most large companies must prepare both quarterly and annual financial statements. An accounting time period that is one year in length is a fiscal year.

A fiscal year usually begins with the first day of a month and ends twelve months later on the last day of a month. Most businesses use the calendar year (January 1 to December 31) as their accounting period. Some do not. Companies whose fiscal year differs from the calendar year include Delta Air Lines, June 30, and Walt Disney Productions. September 30. Sometimes a company’s year-end will vary from year to year.

For example, PepsiCo’s fiscal year ends on the Friday closest to December 31, which was December 30 in 2008 and December 29 in 2009.