Apple has just released its Second Quarter Results. They appear to define their "second" quarter (Q2) of 2021 as ending at the end of March, and their "first" quarter (Q1) of 2021 as ending at the end of the previous year i.e. December 2020.

Why do they define their quarters to be three months ahead? Is there a particular benefit in doing it this way? I would expect Q1 to be January-March and Q2 to be April-June. Additionally, is this something they have chosen to do, or is this a regulation that they have to adhere to?

  • I can't answer your question but I know that a lot of U.S. government agencies have a fiscal year that begins in September just like Apple. It is fairly common for organizations to have a fiscal year that doesn't match the calendar year.
    – Nosjack
    Apr 30 at 12:19

The US federal government has a Fiscal year that starts on October 1st. Some US state governments run the fiscal year starting on July 1st.

It isn't just government. One company I used to work for ends their fiscal year on the last Friday of January. But to make it even more confusing on Friday 29 January 2021 the 2021 fiscal year came to an end. We are now in the 2022 fiscal year, even though it is early in CY 2021.

They can pick any date they want to start their year. They report based on the dates. Some pick a date so that the year ends just after the busy season. Others pick a date so that the year ends in the slow season.

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