Calendarization

Adjusting a company’s fiscal year to the fiscal year of the valuing or holding company

What is Calendarization?

The process of standardizing the reporting time periods of financial statements is called calendarization. To make comparable companies “equal,” the financial data of each company must be standardized so that there is a fair basis for comparison. For example, if you are examining a set of companies with fiscal years ending March 31, June 30 and September 30 and the company you are analyzing follows a fiscal year ending on June 30, you must calendarize based on the company you are valuing. In this case, you must adjust the other company’s fiscal years so that they end on June 30 for ease of comparison.

When publishing financial reports, most companies base their financial statements on a fiscal year ending on December 31. However, some companies may follow a fiscal year ending on different dates, i.e., March 31, June 30 or any other time of the year. However, when a company intends to benchmark its performance against comparable companies, it must account for any difference in the fiscal year. Comparing financial data of various comparable companies with variations in their fiscal year will result in inaccurate results. Some companies experience peak months at certain times of the year, and if some months are excluded, it is likely to give a false impression of the company’s financial data.

 

Calendarization

 

Formula

The formula for financial data calendarization is as follows:

 

FY Formula

 

Where:

FY is Fiscal Year

Month # is the month that the company’s financial year ends

 

Fiscal Year vs. Calendar Year

Some countries base their fiscal years on the standard calendar year while others follow a different fiscal year as determined by the government. The calendar year starts on January 1 (New Year’s Day) and ends on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), and with 365 days or 366 days once every four years. The main types of calendar years are the Islamic and Gregorian Calendar. The latter is the most commonly used calendar year around the world.

On the other hand, a fiscal year is a period of 12 months that is used to calculate and prepare annual financial statements by companies and governments around the world. Key financial statements such as balance sheet, cash flow statement and profit & loss statement cover a specific period that’s been chosen as the official accounting period. The accounting period must be prepared for a period of 12 consecutive months. This helps a company to obtain important financial statistics and understand how they are performing at the end of the year.

The most commonly used fiscal years by companies and governments around the world include:

  • January 1 to December 31
  • April 1 to March 31
  • July 1 to June 30
  • October 1 to September 30

Countries such as the China, Japan, Germany, Singapore, France, Russia and the United Arab Emirates use the Gregorian calendar (January 1 to December 31) as their fiscal year. India, Canada, and the United Kingdom follow a different fiscal year, which runs from April 1 to March 31. The United States Federal Government’s fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30, while the state governments set their own fiscal year. Governments use the fiscal year timeline to prepare budgets and create laws so that taxpayers submit their returns within the stated financial period. In most countries, businesses are allowed to adopt a different fiscal year different from the government.

 

Consolidation of Financial Statements and Fiscal Year

Calendarization of financial statements also occurs when a parent company is presenting consolidated financial statements to its stakeholders. The parent company must consolidate all financial statements, including those of its subsidiary companies. If the subsidiary companies use different fiscal years from that of its parent company, they must be adjusted to the parent company’s fiscal year. Consolidating financial statements with different fiscal years would not make sense, and would result in inaccurate financial statistics.

For example, assume that a parent company ABC owns two subsidiaries X and Y and its fiscal year begins from April 1 to March 30 while the subsidiaries use a fiscal year beginning on July 1 to June 30 and January 1 and December 31, respectively. When consolidating the financial statements of these three companies, the first step is to adjust the reports of subsidiaries X and Y to the fiscal year running from April 1 to March 30. The parent company will also be required to make a note disclosing that the subsidiaries’ financial statements were prepared for the fiscal year to allow for consolidation.

 

Calendarization vs. Last Twelve Months (LTM)

Both calendarization and Last Twelve Months (LTM) are used during comparable analysis. Comparable companies analysis involves comparing the operating metric of public companies in a peer group with those of a target company. Companies in a peer group are categorized based on factors such as industry, size, leverage, and growth characteristics. A comparable analysis is essential when performing company valuations.

While calendarization adjusts financial statements data for a fiscal year, LTM takes the preceding 12 months for a financial metrics such as earnings, EBITDA or revenue. Although the last 12 months may be a relatively short period to evaluate a company’s performance, it is a valuable tool to determine the company’s most recent performance and current trends. The LTM figures are more recent than the annual financial reports, and therefore a more reliable tool since it eliminates short-term misleading metrics like quarterly reports.

When using LTM figures, investors should differentiate the figures as coinciding with the company’s most recent reports for the fiscal year. The LTM refers to the preceding 12 months from the time the financial statement is dated. For example, if the financial statement is dated June 2017, the last 12 months covers the period starting from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017. However, calendarization adjusts the fiscal year to the fiscal year of the parent or valuing company so that there is a “clean” basis for comparison.

 

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