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What is Fiscal Planning?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 16, 2024
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Fiscal planning is a kind of business planning that runs according to a fiscal financial year. With fiscal planning, the year that the accountant or planner calculates on is not the traditional calendar year that starts on January 1. Using the fiscal year, business leaders can engage in fiscal planning to help them with various aspects of corporate or small business accounting.

Businesses of all sizes undertake fiscal planning for a variety of reasons. Some use it to mitigate some of their tax liabilities. Others find it easier to calculate revenue according to their most lucrative seasons, or use a fiscal year based on annual industry trends. Regardless of why businesses use fiscal planning, many world governments consider it a normal part of business accounting, and anticipate that the reports coming from various businesses will be structured according to a fiscal year.

Other aspects of the fiscal year allow for more precise cancellations for a given period of time. For example, some businesses use the fiscal year so that their accounting year can always end on the same day of the week. In this situation, a fiscal year might have a varying number of weeks to conform to the calendar year over the long term, where some fiscal years might be composed of 53 weeks, and others composed of 52 weeks. This kind of alternative calendar setup is somewhat similar to payroll systems that pay out to employees with 26 pay periods per year, rather than calculating according to the calendar year, and handing out two paychecks per month.

Different nations have different norms for the fiscal year. In the United Kingdom, fiscal planning might include a year that goes from April 6 to April 5. In the United States, the conventional fiscal year is from October 1 to September 30. Each country has their own rules about how fiscal planning can affect annual tax returns for a business, and what kind of financial reporting is acceptable in various regulatory systems where business leaders have an obligation to disclose aspects of their internal accounts to governments or to the public.

In general, lots of professionals in human resources or other areas see fiscal planning as part of a modern convention that recognizes some of the trickier aspects of calculating business revenues and expenses. Many aspects of business have been significantly modernized in the last century, from payroll to capital investment; that helps a business to augment its returns from products or services, which are core elements of the business. Even small businesses are often pursuing greater complexity using modern software tools, accessible third-party accounting services, and other “financial labor saving” methods. Items like fiscal year planning are likely to be taught in small business education programs to help business start-up leaders acquire the skills and knowledge that are common to those in leadership positions at more established corporate businesses.

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