What are the fiscal year ends of Amazon, Target, Apple, Walt Disney, and others?

collage of various company logosA calendar year runs from January 1 to December 31 each year.  Companies are allowed to select a fiscal year that is different from the calendar year, which means not all companies’ financial statements are as of December 31.

Here is a list of a variety of companies and their fiscal years:

  • Amazon.com: Fiscal year end is December 31 (same as calendar year)
  • Target: Fiscal year ends on the Saturday nearest January 31
  • Lowe’s: Fiscal year ends on the Friday nearest the end of January
  • Apple: Fiscal year is the 52 or 53-week period that ends on the last Saturday of September
  • Walt Disney: Fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to September 30 and consists of fifty-two weeks with the exception that approximately every six years, there is a fifty-three week year
  • Microsoft: Fiscal year end is June 30
  • Hewlett-Packard: Fiscal year ends on October 31
  • Kent State University: Fiscal year end is June 30

About 60% of the largest companies use a calendar year end.[1]

Questions

  1. For each of the companies listed, give at least one reason it might have chosen the fiscal year end that it has. Use your imagination.
  2. What is the fiscal year end of your educational institution?
  3. Is a company allowed to change its fiscal year end at will? Why or why not?

[1] Harrison, Horngren, Thomas & Tietz, Financial Accounting, 11th edition, Pearson Education, 2016.
Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below. Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.

  • Student handout (pdf) (word) (contains entire blog posting + discussion questions)
  • PowerPoint file (brief article overview + discussion questions)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Prentice-Hall.

4 Responses to “What are the fiscal year ends of Amazon, Target, Apple, Walt Disney, and others?”

  1. The link on the article for the powerpoint talks about the FIFO, LIFO, Weighted average, not the difference in fiscal year and calendar year

    On Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 10:23 AM, Accounting in the Headlines wrote:

    > Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CGMA posted: “A calendar year runs from January > 1 to December 31 each year. Companies are allowed to select a fiscal year > that is different from the calendar year, which means not all companies’ > financial statements are as of December 31. Here is a list of a variet” >

  2. I was wondering if you had the answer key to the questions above? I am trying to check my work.

    • Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CGMA Reply October 31, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Hello. I do not provide the solutions, since some professors do use the blog posts as graded assignments and I have no way to control who obtains the solutions. I would urge you to consult your professor. Have a nice day.

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