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The 4–4–5 calendar is a method of managing accounting periods. It is a common calendar structure for some industries, such as retail, manufacturing and parking industry.

The 4–4–5 calendar divides a year into 4 quarters. Each quarter has 13 weeks which are grouped into two 4-week "months" and one 5-week "month". The grouping of 13 weeks may be set up as 5–4–4 weeks or 4–5–4 weeks , but the 4–4–5 seems to be the most common arrangement.

When a 4–4–5 calendar is in use, reports with month-by-month comparisons or trend over periods do not make sense because one month is 25% larger than the other two. However, you can still compare a period to the same period in the prior year, or use week by week data comparison.

Its major advantages over a regular calendar are that the end date of the period is always the same day of the week, which is useful for shift or manufacturing planning, and that every period is the same length.

One disadvantage of the 4–4–5 calendar is that it has 364 days (7 days * 52 weeks), so approximately every 5 years there will be a 53-week year, which can make year on year comparison difficult.

52–53-week fiscal year Edit

The 52–53-week fiscal year is a variation on the 4–4–5 calendar. It is used by companies that desire that their fiscal year always end on the same day of the week. Any day of the week may be used, and Saturday and Sunday are common because the business may more easily be closed for counting inventory and other end-of-year accounting activities. There are two methods in use:

Last Saturday of the month at fiscal year end Edit

Under this method the company's fiscal year is defined as the final Saturday (or other day selected) in the fiscal year end month. For example, if the fiscal year end month is August, the company's year end could fall on any date from August 25 to August 31. Currently it would end on the following days:

  2006-08-26   2006 August 26
  2007-08-25   2007 August 25
  2008-08-30   2008 August 30  (leap year)
  2009-08-29   2009 August 29
  2010-08-28   2010 August 28
  2011-08-27   2011 August 27
  2012-08-25   2012 August 25  (leap year)
  2013-08-31   2013 August 31
  2014-08-30   2014 August 30
  2015-08-29   2015 August 29
  2016-08-27   2016 August 27  (leap year)
  2017-08-26   2017 August 26

The end of the fiscal year would move one day earlier on the calendar each year (two days in leap years) until it would otherwise reach the date seven days before the end of the month (August 24 in this case). At that point it resets to the end of the month (August 31) and the fiscal year has 53 weeks instead of 52. In this example the fiscal years ending in 2008 and 2013 have 53 weeks.

Saturday nearest the end of month Edit

Under this method the company's fiscal year is defined as the Saturday (or other day selected) that falls closest to the last day of the fiscal year end month. For example, if the fiscal year end month is August, the company's year end could fall on any date from August 28 to September 3. Currently it would end on the following days:

  2006-09-02   2006 September 2
  2007-09-01   2007 September 1
  2008-08-30   2008 August 30    (leap year)
  2009-08-29   2009 August 29
  2010-08-28   2010 August 28
  2011-09-03   2011 September 3
  2012-09-01   2012 September 1  (leap year)
  2013-08-31   2013 August 31
  2014-08-30   2014 August 30
  2015-08-29   2015 August 29
  2016-08-27   2016 September 3  (leap year)
  2017-08-26   2017 September 2

The end of the fiscal year would move one day earlier on the calendar each year (two days in leap years) until it would otherwise reach the date four days before the end of the month (August 27 in this case). At that point the first Saturday in the following month becomes the date closest to the end of August and it resets to that date and the fiscal year has 53 weeks instead of 52. In this example the fiscal year ending in 2011 has 53 weeks.

The 52–53 week method is permitted by generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, as well as by the US Internal Revenue Code (IRS Publication 538).

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