Definition of Fiscal Year

What is the definition of the term "fiscal year"? What does the term "fiscal year" mean?

A "fiscal year" is a 12 month period that is designated for accounting purposes.

Definition of Fiscal Year - Calendar IllustrationFor instance, a company may designate the end of its fiscal year as October 31st. This would mean that its first quarter (Q1) would start on November 1st.

When calculating an annual statement, accountants would look at the period between November 1st and October 31st, as this would constitute the company's fiscal year.

In the United States, the fiscal year ends on September 30th. So, if you hear that the United States posted a deficit of $1.1 trillion in the 2011 fiscal year, this would mean that the United States posted a deficit of $1.1 trillion between October 1st and September 30th of the following calendar year.

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