Accounting period

An accounting period, in bookkeeping, is the period with reference to which accounting books of any entity are prepared.

It is the period for which books are balanced and the financial statements are prepared. Generally, the accounting period consists of 12 months. However the beginning of the accounting period differs according to the jurisdiction. For example, one entity may follow the regular calendar year, i.e. January to December as the accounting year, while another entity may follow April to March as the accounting period.

The International Financial Reporting Standards allow a period of 52 weeks as an accounting period instead of a proper year.[1] This method is known as the 4-4-5 calendar in British and Commonwealth usage and the 52–53-week fiscal year in the United States. In the United States the method is permitted by generally accepted accounting principles, as well as by US Internal Revenue Code Regulation 1.441-2 [2] (IRS Publication 538).[3]

In some of the ERP tools there are more than 12 accounting periods in a financial year. They put one accounting period as "Year Open" period where all the carried over balances from last financial year are cleared and one period as "Year Close" where all the transactions for closed for the same financial year. Accounting is an art of recording classifying and summarising the financial positions of the company. It is done by the accountant.

52–53-week fiscal year

The 52–53-week fiscal year (or 4–4–5 calendar) is used by companies that desire that their fiscal year always end on the same day of the week. Any day of the week may be used, and Saturday and Sunday are common because the business may more easily be closed for counting inventory and other end-of-year accounting activities. There are two methods in use:

Last Saturday of the month at fiscal year end

Under this method the company's fiscal year is defined as the final Saturday (or other day selected) in the fiscal year end month. For example, if the fiscal year end month is August, the company's year end could fall on any date from August 25 to August 31. Currently it would end on the following days:

  2006-08-26   2006 August 26
  2007-08-25   2007 August 25
  2008-08-30   2008 August 30  (leap year)
  2009-08-29   2009 August 29
  2010-08-28   2010 August 28
  2011-08-27   2011 August 27
  2012-08-25   2012 August 25  (leap year)
  2013-08-31   2013 August 31
  2014-08-30   2014 August 30
  2015-08-29   2015 August 29
  2016-08-27   2016 August 27  (leap year)
  2017-08-26   2017 August 26
  2018-08-25   2018 August 25
  2019-08-31   2019 August 31

The end of the fiscal year would move one day earlier on the calendar each year (two days in leap years) until it would otherwise reach the date seven days before the end of the month (August 24 in this case). At that point it resets to the end of the month (August 31) 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.

Saturday nearest the end of month

Under this method the company's fiscal year is defined as the Saturday (or other day selected) that falls closest to the last day of the fiscal year end month. For example, if the fiscal year end month is August, the company's year end could fall on any date from August 28 to September 3. Currently it would end on the following days:

  2006-09-02   2006 September 2
  2007-09-01   2007 September 1
  2008-08-30   2008 August 30    (leap year)
  2009-08-29   2009 August 29
  2010-08-28   2010 August 28
  2011-09-03   2011 September 3
  2012-09-01   2012 September 1  (leap year)
  2013-08-31   2013 August 31
  2014-08-30   2014 August 30
  2015-08-29   2015 August 29
  2016-09-03   2016 September 3  (leap year)
  2017-09-02   2017 September 2
  2018-09-01   2018 September 1
  2019-08-31   2019 August 31

The end of the fiscal year would move one day earlier on the calendar each year (two days in leap years) until it would otherwise reach the date four days before the end of the month (August 27 in this case). At that point the first Saturday in the following month (September 3 in this case) 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. In this example the fiscal years ending in 2011 and 2016 have 53 weeks.

The 52–53 week method is permitted by generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, by US Internal Revenue Code Regulation 1.441-2 [4] (IRS Publication 538).,[5] as well as the International Financial Reporting Standards.[6]


  1. ^ IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements
  2. ^ "26 C.F.R. § 1.441-2".
  3. ^ "IRS Publication 538".
  4. ^ "26 C.F.R. § 1.441-2".
  5. ^ "IRS Publication 538".
  6. ^ IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements
Accounting period (UK taxation)

An accounting period is a period with reference to which United Kingdom corporation tax is charged. It helps dictate when tax is paid on income and gains. An accounting period begins whenever a company comes within the corporation tax charge, and whenever an accounting period ends without the company ceasing to be within the charge.

There are a number of rules about when an accounting period ends, and we look at each of these below.

Often an accounting period coincides with a company's period of account. This is the period for which it draws up accounts, except for a life assurance company, where it is the period for which it draws up its periodical return. However, periods of account and accounting periods do not necessarily coincide.


Accrual (accumulation) of something is, in finance, the adding together of interest or different investments over a period of time. It holds specific meanings in accounting, where it can refer to accounts on a balance sheet that represent liabilities and non-cash-based assets used in accrual-based accounting. These types of accounts include, among others, accounts payable, accounts receivable, goodwill, deferred tax liability and future interest expense.

Adjusting entries

In accounting/accountancy, adjusting entries are journal entries usually made at the end of an accounting period to allocate income and expenditure to the period in which they actually occurred. The revenue recognition principle is the basis of making adjusting entries that pertain to unearned and accrued revenues under accrual-basis accounting. They are sometimes called Balance Day adjustments because they are made on balance day.

Based on the matching principle of accrual accounting, revenues and associated costs are recognized in the same accounting period. However the actual cash may be received or paid at a different time.

Balance (accounting)

In banking and accounting, the outstanding balance is the amount of money owed, (or due), that remains in a deposit account.

In bookkeeping, “balance” is difference between the sum of debit entries and the sum of credit entries entered into an account during a financial period. When total debits exceed total credits, the account indicates a debit balance. The opposite is true when the total credit exceeds total debits, the account indicates a credit balance. If the debit/credit totals are equal, the balances are considered zeroed out. In an accounting period, "balance" reflects the net value of assets and liabilities. To better understand balance in the accounting equation.

Balancing the books refers to the primary balance sheet equation of:

Assets = liabilities plus owner's equity.The first "balancing" of books, or of the balance sheet financial statement in accounting is to check iterations (trial balance) to be sure the equation above applies, and where assets and liabilities are unequal, to equalize them by debiting or crediting owner's equity (i.e. if assets exceed liabilities, equity is increased, if liabilities, exceed assets, equity is decreased, both in the amount needed to balance the equation).

In addition to the balance sheet, the other primary financial statement (the P&L or Profit and Loss Statement) also is balanced against the balance sheet, generally by use of a "plug" such as imputed interest.

Closing entries

Closing entries are journal entries made at the end of an accounting period to transfer temporary accounts to permanent accounts. An "income summary" account may be used to show the balance between revenue and expenses, or they could be directly closed against retained earnings where dividend payments will be deducted from. This process is used to reset the balance of these temporary accounts to zero for the next accounting period.

Compensation of employees

Compensation of employees (CE) is a statistical term used in national accounts, balance of payments statistics and sometimes in corporate accounts as well. It refers basically to the total gross (pre-tax) wages paid by employers to employees for work done in an accounting period, such as a quarter or a year.

However, in reality, the aggregate includes more than just gross wages, at least in national accounts and balance of payments statistics. The reason is that in these accounts, CE is defined as "the total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an enterprise to an employee in return for work done by the latter during the accounting period". It represents effectively a total labour cost to an employer, paid from the gross revenues or the capital of an enterprise.

Compensation of employees is accounted for on an accrual basis; i.e., it is measured by the value of the remuneration in cash or in kind which an employee becomes entitled to receive from an employer in respect of work done, during the relevant accounting period – whether paid in advance, simultaneously, or in arrears of the work itself. This contrasts with other inputs to production, which are to be valued at the point when they are actually used.

For statistical purposes, the relationship of employer to employee exists, when there is an agreement, formal or informal, between an enterprise and a person, normally entered into voluntarily by both parties, whereby the person works for the enterprise, in return for remuneration in cash or in kind. The remuneration is normally based on either the time spent at work, or some other objective indicator of the amount of work done.

For social accounting purposes, CE is considered a component of the value of net output or value added (as factor income). The aim is not to measure income actually received by workers, but the value which labour contributes to net output along with other factors of production.

The underlying idea is that the value of net output equals the factor incomes that generate it. For this reason, some types of remuneration received by employees are either included or excluded, because they are regarded as either related or unrelated to production or to the value of new output.

In different countries, what is actually included and excluded in CE may differ somewhat. The reason is that the way in which workers are compensated for their labour may be somewhat different in different types of economies. For example, in some countries workers get substantial payments "in kind", in others they don't. Systems of social insurance also differ between countries, and some countries have little social insurance. One has to keep this in mind when comparing CE magnitudes for different countries.

A compensation system has to be aligned to the mission, vision, business strategy and organizational structure of a company to design the compensation plan in an efficient way to can achieve the goals. Businesses within the same organization will have different competitive conditions, acquire different business strategies, and design compensation strategies. A general compensation plan consists of three components: a base compensation, rewarding incentives, and indirect compensation in form of benefits.


A deferral, in accrual accounting, is any account where the asset or liability is not realized until a future date (accounting period), e.g. annuities, charges, taxes, income, etc. The deferred item may be carried, dependent on type of deferral, as either an asset or liability. See also accrual.

Deferrals are the consequence of the revenue recognition principle which dictates that revenues be recognized in the period in which they occur, and the matching principle which dictates expenses to be recognized in the period in which they are incurred. Deferrals are the result of cash flows occurring before they are allowed to be recognized under accrual accounting. As a result, adjusting entries are required to reconcile a flow of cash (or rarely other non-cash items) with events that have not occurred yet as either liabilities or assets. Because of the similarity between deferrals and their corresponding accruals, they are commonly conflated.

Deferred expense: cash has left the company, but the event has not actually occurred yet. Prepaid expenses are the most common type. For instance, a company may purchase a year of insurance. After six months, only half of the insurance will have been 'used' with another six months of the insurance still owed to the company. Thus, the company records half of the payment as an outflow (an expense) and the other half as a receivable from the insurance company (an asset).

Deferred revenue: Revenue has come into the company, but the event has still not occurred – it is unearned revenue. A magazine company, for instance, may receive money for a one-year subscription. However, the company has not spent the resources in producing and delivering those magazines and thus accountants record this revenue as a liability equal to the amount of cash received. The magazine company, while now having more cash on hand, also now owes a year of magazines. The amount of each magazine that gets delivered is then taken out of liabilities and recorded as revenue during the economic period in which it actually happens, not just when the company gets paid for it.

Earnings before interest and taxes

In accounting and finance, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) is a measure of a firm's profit that includes all incomes and expenses (operating and non-operating) except interest expenses and income tax expenses.Operating income and operating profit are sometimes used as a synonym for EBIT when a firm does not have non-operating income and non-operating expenses.


Expenditure is an outflow of money to another person or group to pay for an item or service, or for a category of costs. For a tenant, rent is an expense. For students or parents, tuition is an expense. Buying food, clothing, furniture or an automobile is often referred to as an expense. An expense is a cost that is "paid" or "remitted", usually in exchange for something of value. Something that seems to cost a great deal is "expensive". Something that seems to cost little is "inexpensive". "Expenses of the table" are expenses of dining, refreshments, a feast, etc.

In accounting, expense has a very specific meaning. It is an outflow of cash or other valuable assets from a person or company to another person or company. This outflow of cash is generally one side of a trade for products or services that have equal or better current or future value to the buyer than to the seller. Technically, an expense is an event in which an asset is used up or a liability is incurred. In terms of the accounting equation, expenses reduce owners' equity. The International Accounting Standards Board defines expenses as:...decreases in economic benefits during the accounting period in the form of outflows or depletions of assets or incurrences of liabilities that result in decreases in equity, other than those relating to distributions to equity participants.

Fixed capital

In economics and accounting, fixed capital is any kind of real, physical asset that is used in the production of a product but is not used up in the production. It contrasts with circulating capital such as raw materials, operating expenses and the like. It was first theoretically analyzed in some depth by the economist David Ricardo.

Thus fixed capital is that portion of the total capital outlay that is invested in fixed assets (such as land improvements, buildings, vehicles, plant and equipment), that stay in the business almost permanently—or at the very least, for more than one accounting period. Fixed assets can be purchased by a business, in which case the business owns them. They can also be leased, hired or rented, if that is cheaper or more convenient, or if owning the fixed asset is practically impossible (for legal or technical reasons).

Refining the classical distinction between fixed and circulating capital in Das Kapital, Karl Marx emphasizes that the distinction is really purely relative, i.e. it refers only to the comparative rotation speeds (turnover time) of different types of physical capital assets. Fixed capital also "circulates", except that the circulation time is much longer, because a fixed asset may be held for 5, 10 or 20 years before it has yielded its value and is discarded for its salvage value. A fixed asset may also be resold and re-used, which often happens with vehicles and planes.

In national accounts, fixed capital is conventionally defined as the stock of tangible, durable fixed assets owned or used by resident enterprises for more than one year. This includes plant, machinery, vehicles and equipment, installations and physical infrastructures, the value of land improvements, and buildings.

The European system of national and regional accounts (ESA95) explicitly includes produced intangible assets (e.g. mineral exploitation, computer software, copyright protected entertainment, literary and artistics originals) within the definition of fixed assets.

Land itself is not included in the statistical concept of fixed capital, even though it is a fixed asset. The main reason is that land is not regarded as a product (a reproducible good). But the value of land improvements is included in the statistical concept of fixed capital, being regarded as the creation of value-added through production.

Gross output

In economics, gross output (GO) is the measure of total economic activity in the production of new goods and services in an accounting period. It is a much broader measure of the economy than gross domestic product (GDP), which is limited mainly to final output (finished goods and services). In 2016, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated gross output in the United States to be $32.1 trillion, compared to $18.6 trillion for GDP.

GO is defined by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) as "a measure of an industry's sales or receipts, which can include sales to final users in the economy (GDP) or sales to other industries (intermediate inputs). Gross output can also be measured as the sum of an industry's value added and intermediate inputs."It is equal to the value of net output or GDP (also known as gross value added) plus intermediate consumption.

Gross output represents, roughly speaking, the total value of sales by producing enterprises (their turnover) in an accounting period (e.g. a quarter or a year), before subtracting the value of intermediate goods used up in production.

Starting in April 2014, the BEA began publishing gross output and gross output-by-industry on a quarterly basis, along with GDP.Economists regard GO and GDP as complementary aggregate measures of the economy. Many analysts view GO as a more comprehensive way to analyze the economy and the business cycle. "Gross output [GO] is the natural measure of the production sector, while net output [GDP] is appropriate as a measure of welfare. Both are required in a complete system of accounts."

Indian Accounting Standards

Indian Accounting Standard (abbreviated as Ind-AS) is the Accounting standard adopted by companies in India and issued under the supervision of Accounting Standards Board (ASB) which was constituted as a body in the year 1977. ASB is a committee under Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) which consists of representatives from government department, academicians, other professional bodies viz. ICAI, representatives from ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI, etc.

The Ind AS are named and numbered in the same way as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards (NACAS) recommend these standards to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). MCA has to spell out the accounting standards applicable for companies in India. As on date MCA has notified 41 Ind AS. This shall be applied to the companies of financial year 2015-16 voluntarily and from 2016-17 on a mandatory basis.

Based on the international consensus, the regulators will separately notify the date of implementation of Ind-AS for the banks, insurance companies etc. Standards for the computation of Tax has been notified as ICDS in February 2015.

Matching principle

In accrual accounting, the revenue recognition principle states that expenses should be recorded during the period in which they are incurred, regardless of when the transfer of cash occurs. Conversely, cash basis accounting calls for the recognition of an expense when the cash is paid, regardless of when the expense was actually incurred.If no cause-and-effect relationship exists (e.g., a sale is impossible), costs are recognized as expenses in the accounting period they expired: i.e., when have been used up or consumed (e.g., of spoiled, dated, or substandard goods, or not demanded services). Prepaid expenses are not recognized as expenses, but as assets until one of the qualifying conditions is met resulting in a recognition as expenses. Lastly, if no connection with revenues can be established, costs are recognized immediately as expenses (e.g., general administrative and research and development costs).

Prepaid expenses, such as employee wages or subcontractor fees paid out or promised, are not recognized as expenses; they are considered assets because they will provide probable future benefits. As a prepaid expense is used, an adjusting entry is made to update the value of the asset. In the case of prepaid rent, for instance, the cost of rent for the period would be deducted from the Prepaid Rent account.The matching principle allows for a more objective analysis of profitability. By recognizing costs in the period they are incurred, a business can see how much money was spent to generate revenue, reducing "noise" from timing mismatch between when costs are incurred and when revenue is realized.

Net income

In business and accounting, net income (also total comprehensive income, net earnings, net profit, bottom line, sales profit, or credit sales) is an entity's income minus cost of goods sold, expenses and taxes for an accounting period. It is computed as the residual of all revenues and gains over all expenses and losses for the period, and has also been defined as the net increase in shareholders' equity that results from a company's operations. In the context of the presentation of financial statements, the IFRS Foundation defines net income as synonymous with profit and loss. The difference between revenue and the cost of making a product or providing a service, before deducting overheads, payroll, taxation, and interest payments. This is different from operating income (earnings before interest and taxes).A common synonym for net profit when discussing financial statements (which include a balance sheet and an income statement) is the bottom line. This term results from the traditional appearance of an income statement which shows all allocated revenues and expenses over a specified time period with the resulting summation on the bottom line of the report.

In simplistic terms, net profit is the money left over after paying all the expenses of an endeavor. In practice this can get very complex in large organizations or endeavors. The bookkeeper or accountant must itemise and allocate revenues and expenses properly to the specific working scope and context in which the term is applied.

Definitions of the term can, however, vary between the UK and US. In the US, net profit is often associated with net income or profit after tax (see table below).

The net profit margin percentage is a related ratio. This figure is calculated by dividing net profit by revenue or turnover, and it represents profitability, as a percentage.

It is a measure of the profitability of a venture after accounting for all costs and taxes. It is the actual profit, and includes the operating expenses that are excluded from gross profit.

Net income is usually calculated per annum, for each fiscal year. It is the same as net profit but a distinct accounting concept from profit, i.e. the amount of money the company has made before its company-specific deductions are subtracted. Net income can also be calculated by adding a company's operating income to non-operating income and then subtracting off taxes."How does a company decide whether it is successful or not? Probably the most common way is to look at the net profits of the business. Given that companies are collections of projects and markets, individual areas can be judged on how successful they are at adding to the corporate net profit."

Reconciliation (accounting)

In accounting, reconciliation is the process of ensuring that two sets of records (usually the balances of two accounts) are in agreement. Reconciliation is used to ensure that the money leaving an account matches the actual money spent. This is done by making sure the balances match at the end of a particular accounting period.

Retained earnings

The retained earnings of a corporation is the accumulated net income of the corporation that is retained by the corporation at a particular point of time, such as at the end of the reporting period. At the end of that period, the net income (or net loss) at that point is transferred from the Profit and Loss Account to the retained earnings account. If the balance of the retained earnings account is negative it may be called accumulated losses, retained losses or accumulated deficit, or similar terminology.

Any part of a credit balance in the account can be capitalised, by the issue of bonus shares, and the balance is available for distribution of dividends to shareholders, and the residue is carried forward into the next period. Dividends can only be paid out of the positive balance of the retained earnings account at the time that payment is to be made.

In accounting, the retained earnings at the end of one accounting period is the opening retained earnings in the next period, to which is added the net income or net loss for that period and from which is deducted the bonus shares issued in the year and dividends paid in that period.

If a company is publicly held, the balance of retained earnings account that is negatively referred to as "accumulated deficit" may appear in the Accountant's Opinion in what is called the "Ongoing Concern" statement located at the end of required SEC financial reporting at the end of each quarter.

Retained earnings are reported in the shareholders' equity section of the corporation's balance sheet. Corporations with net accumulated losses may refer to negative shareholders' equity as positive shareholders' deficit. A report of the movements in retained earnings are presented along with other comprehensive income and changes in share capital in the statement of changes in equity.

Due to the nature of double-entry accrual accounting, retained earnings do not represent surplus cash available to a company. Rather, they represent how the company has managed its profits (i.e. whether it has distributed them as dividends or reinvested them in the business). When reinvested, those retained earnings are reflected as increases to assets (which could include cash) or reductions to liabilities on the balance sheet.

Revenue recognition

The revenue recognition principle is a cornerstone of accrual accounting together with the matching principle. They both determine the accounting period in which revenues and expenses are recognized. According to the principle, revenues are recognized when they are realized or realizable, and are earned (usually when goods are transferred or services rendered), no matter when cash is received. In cash accounting – in contrast – revenues are recognized when cash is received no matter when goods or services are sold.

Cash can be received in an earlier or later period than obligations are met (when goods or services are delivered) and related revenues are recognized that results in the following two types of accounts:

Accrued revenue: Revenue is recognized before cash is received.

Deferred revenue: Revenue is recognized after cash is received.Revenue realized during an accounting period is included in the income.

Statement of changes in equity

A Statement of changes in equity and similarly the statement of changes in owner's equity for a sole trader, statement of changes in partners' equity for a partnership, statement of changes in Shareholders' equity for a Company or statement of changes in Taxpayers' equity for Government financial statements is one of the four basic financial statements.

The statement explains the changes in a company's Share Capital, accumulated reserves and retained earnings over the reporting period. It breaks down changes in the owners' interest in the organization, and in the application of retained profit or surplus from one accounting period to the next. Line items typically include profits or losses from operations, dividends paid, issue or redemption of shares, revaluation reserve and any other items charged or credited to accumulated other comprehensive income. It also includes the Non-Controlling Interest attributable to other individuals and organisations.

The statement is expected under the generally accepted accounting principles and explains the owners' equity shown on the balance sheet, where:

owners' equity = assets − liabilities

Tax accounting in the United States

U.S. tax accounting refers to accounting for tax purposes in the United States. Unlike most countries, the United States has a comprehensive set of accounting principles for tax purposes, prescribed by tax law, which are separate and distinct from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

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