Course Outline
Join PRO

What is an accounting period?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of 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 (January 1 through December 31) and the calendar quarter (January 1 through March 31, April 1 through June 30, July 1 through September 30, October 1 through December 31). 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.

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. Its quarterly accounting periods would be July 1 through September 30, etc.

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.

Examples of Accounting Periods

The following are some examples of accounting periods used by U.S. companies:

  • Annual calendar year of January 1 through December 31
  • Annual fiscal year such as July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023; April 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023; etc.
  • 52- or 53-week fiscal year such as the 52 or 53 weeks ending on the last Saturday of January, etc.
  • Calendar quarters such as January 1 through March 31, April 1 through June 30, etc.
  • Fiscal quarters such as May 1 through July 31, August 1 through October 31, etc.
  • 13-week fiscal quarters such as the 13 weeks ending on the last Saturday in April, etc.
  • Calendar months such as March 1 through March 31, November 1 through November 30, etc.
  • 4- or 5-week fiscal months such as the 4 weeks ending the last Saturday of February, etc.
Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Learn How to Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your current job
  • Refresh your skills to re-enter the workforce
  • Pass your accounting class
  • Understand your small business finances
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews

Features

PRO

PRO Plus

Features
Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Explanations
Quizzes
Q&A
Word Scrambles
Crosswords
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Flashcards
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of
Achievement

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus