Reporting Period

Reporting Period Meaning

A reporting period is a month, quarter or a year for which financial statement of an organization is prepared for the external use, uniformly over some time so that the financial statements are comparable and understandable by the general public or the user of the financial statements.

Types of the Reporting Period

Reporting-Period

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A reporting period generally can be prepared for the following periods-

#1 – Monthly Reporting Period

For entities with a rapidly changing environment, it is necessary to prepare a control system that provided regular details of the financial results and financial position.

#2 – Quarterly Reporting Period

For industries having a seasonal nature, their market is generally for a specific quarter. Hence, once the quarter is over, it becomes necessary to evaluate the financial position and the results from the same. For such kind of industry, a quarterly financial statement is prepared to make the financial statementsFinancial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company's management to present the company's financial affairs over a given period (quarter, six monthly or yearly). These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all levels.read more more relevant and understandable to the users.

#3 – Yearly Reporting Period

Every industry prepares a yearly financial statement to know the financial results for the while year and financial positions as on that date. Hence yearly or annual financial statements are prepared by all the companies regardless of whether they prepare quarterly or monthly financial statements.

Yearly financial statements are prepared for the same period uniformly, which either is from 1st April to 31st march or from 1st January to 31st December.

Examples of Reporting Period

  1. A very famous company in New York called A ltd., listed on New York stock exchange with an annual sales growth of $150,000,000, board of directors of which had decided to issue financial statements having monthly reporting period exclusively for its internal purposes. So, in this case, the company has a monthly reporting period.
  2. As per the Securities exchange commission(SEC), every company listed and publicly tradedPublicly TradedPublicly Traded Companies, also called Publicly Listed Companies, are the Companies which list their shares on the public stock exchange allowing the trading of shares to the common public. It means that anybody can sell or buy these companies’ shares from the open market.read more on any stock exchanges is compulsorily required to issue a quarterly financial statement within the specified period, non-following of which may lead to huge penalties and fines. This is to ensure that the companies on whom the general public is dependent on generating their income should disclose its quarterly performance to the people so that they can make their investment decisions wisely.
  3. As per IFRS 1, preparation of financial statements states that for every company for which IFRS is compulsory, must issue their general purpose financial statementsGeneral Purpose Financial StatementsGeneral-purpose financial statements are issued by the management at regular intervals. Such statements help investors and creditors interpret the business and company's financial condition to make informed investment decisions.read more with an annual reporting period.

Advantages

The various advantages are as follows:

Disadvantages

Though it is useful in the ways mentioned above, there are certain disadvantages also. The various disadvantages  are as follows:

  • It brings us a sort of rigidity to the financial statements since it is highly arbitrary. Still, the business has to use the reporting period as per IAS1 as per an annual basis.
  • Few countries follow this as per the calendar year, that is, from 1st January to 31st December, while others follow their reporting period starting from 1st April and ending on 31st. Hence the purpose of uniformity of reporting period breaks here.
  • For companies in some countries, this period is not the calendar year. Hence, even though financial statements are prepared for the reporting period, it doesn’t solve the purpose of finding out the results for every calendar year. They need to re-compute their financial results.
  • If there is a change in the reporting period, there are cumbersome and tedious procedures, as mentioned in IFRS1, to be followed, which involved huge time, labor, and money, which doesn’t make much sense.

Important Points

To change the reporting period, any of the following reasons must be fulfilled.

  • For better preparation and presentation of financial statements;
  • Required by the specific statue or act;

Hence if any of the above reasons fulfill, along with its update in notes of the financial statements, specific reporting procedures, as mentioned in relevant IFRS is to be followed to make the financial statements understandable.

Conclusion

Hence, it concludes that even though there are a few disadvantages, it becomes beneficial for the general public at large to have a common reporting period to give the financial statements of every entity comparable, useful, uniform, and understandable.

This article has been a guide to the Reporting Period and its meaning. Here we discuss types of reporting period along with examples, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more from the following accounting articles –

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