Endings and Beginnings

Regardless of where your organization is in terms of your fiscal year, you can’t ignore the fact that the calendar year is quickly coming to a close. And even if your fiscal year doesn’t end for another 6 months, you might consider that yourdonors’ fiscal year – the one determined by the IRS – ends on December 31st.

If you’re a bit confused about calendar-year versus fiscal-year processing, you’re not alone. The staff on the Help Desk will be getting a growing number of calls on this issue in the coming weeks and months, so it seems like a good time for a review.

Fiscal year

This is the 12-month period of time determined by your organization’s board that is used to calculate budgets and financial statements. Sometimes it follows the calendar year, other times it is set to coincide with other schedules (like an academic year). You’ll know it’s the end of the fiscal year when your accountant begins asking for reconciliation reports and your auditor comes knocking on your door.

ResultsPlus keeps track of your current and past fiscal year giving in a special table called FiscalSummary. The currency of the data in this table rolls with the closing of your fiscal year:  the procedure clears out the data in some cumulative fields and prepares to begin accumulating data for the new year.  That’s why it’s important to run certain reports and make a backup of your database before closing the fiscal year.

One additional note on fiscal year-end processing in ResultsPlus:  if you are using the Giving Levels feature and you assign levels based on fiscal year giving, this data will also be cleared in preparation for assignments for the new fiscal year.

Calendar year

Obviously this is the 12-month time period which ends on December 31st but more significantly for your donors, this is the reporting time period required by the IRS for tax returns. Like your accountant, so too may your donors ask for reports summarizing data at the end of their fiscal year. If you’ve not ever done so, peruse the list of reports in the ‘Yearend’ category of the Reports menu to help make that job easier.

ResultsPlus conveniently stores current calendar-year giving in fields in the Folder table with names beginning with ‘YTD’. The currency of this data rolls with the updating of your calendar year:  the procedure wipes out the data in the YTD fields and prepares to begin accumulating data for the new calendar year. That’s why it’s important to capture this data and make a backup of your database before updating the calendar year.

For more information on both kinds of year-end processing, check out the ‘Understanding Fiscal Year-End Processing’ topic in the user assistance area of ResultsPlus.

Wishing you all good things in the new year!