What is an accounting period?

Accounting period (definition)

An accounting period is any time frame used for financial reporting. Transactions that fall within a given date range form part of the statements or reports for that accounting period.

An accounting period, or reporting period, is often 12 months. There may be different accounting periods for various business tasks. For example, you may have one for income tax, another for sales tax, and still others for business reporting.

Example accounting periods

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Annual accounting periods don’t have to start in January. Nor do monthly accounting periods have to start on the first of the month.

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Disclaimer: This glossary is for small business owners. The definitions are written with their requirements in mind. More detailed definitions can be found in accounting textbooks or from an accounting professional. Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice.