Happy Festivus

Happy Festivus, Everyone!  If you’re unaware of the origins of Festivus, I must insist that you watch this educational video on the historical origins of this holiday for “the rest of us”!  And then laugh.  Seriously.  

My family’s been celebrating Festivus since this Seinfeld episode aired in the 90’s, so it’s become quite an entrenched tradition.  A little less formal than many of the other holidays, it’s a great reprieve to relax a bit when preparations for the rest of the “Holiday Season” can get so uptight and stressful… So get the aluminum pole ready, “‘Cause I got a lotta problems with you people!”  =)

Actually, I don’t.  Our readers here are great.  But I do still have a grievance this year.


My 2013 Grievance: FY = CY

Growing up, there were always two separate calendars.  The school year, which started in August, and the calendar year that started in January.  This was great.  Because when everything got crazy at the end of the school year (and it really could get crazy!) it was fine because that was all you had to worry about.  There were no major holidays or events requiring travel and excessive shopping and bad gift giving.

Now, though, it’s different.  Mr PoP and I both work at companies that (like most in the US) run their fiscal year to coincide with the calendar year.  That means everything having to do with the year end (sales, using budgets, setting budgets, tax moves, etc) gets crammed into the last few weeks of the year… a time when the whole world seems to be saying “spend time with your family”.  Well, that’d be nice… if it weren’t (literally) the busiest time of the year at work.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way.  A fiscal year is just defined as any 12 month period.  Heck, the entire country of Australia is structured on a fiscal year running from July – June!  How awesome would that be?

So that’s my grievance.  Corporate America, have a heart.  (But maybe this is asking too much…) Change your fiscal year end to a more sane time of the year (June 30 or September 30 feel like great contenders), and spare your employees some extra headaches this time of year.


What’s your 2013 grievance?

26 comments to Happy Festivus

  • Good points. I never really thought about the fiscal calendar running the same as Jan-Dec. I thought most medium to large companies have a controller or an accounting department that stays on top of their finances all year long. Maybe most are under-staffed or not preparing properly.
    FinanceQA recently posted..How Can I Choose The Right Car Insurance Deductible?My Profile

    • No matter how on top of things the accounting department is, fiscal year end requires the coordination of many moving parts, all of which are trying to maximize their objectives.
      The sales department wants to book as much business on this year as possible so they beat the previous years’ numbers.
      Any tax avoidance moves (taking losses, write downs, etc) generally are done as late as possible in the year so you know they will be beneficial, and also done with the most information possible.
      Departmental budgets towards the end of the year are usually in one of two places – either sitting flush with tons of excess that needs to be spent lest it be taken away from the department in the year following, or running on fumes since the budget was mostly exhausted months before and funding either has to be finagled from elsewhere or not gotten before the opening of the next FY.
      Even in well-run businesses, FY is just a pain in the ass and will always be for a business that’s got multiple moving parts, no matter how much prep goes into it.

  • Mrs. Pop who gets to tell the others how they have been disappointed by them, and of course the ultimate feat of strength when you must wrestle. One of the best episodes ever.
    Charles@Gettingarichlife recently posted..Get Rich With Real Estate: Strategic Ways To Finance PropertiesMy Profile

    • In my family, anyone with a grievance could grab the pole and make it known… but really, my uncle always had the best grievances. It was kindof a compliment if he singled you out for grievances. =)

  • Mama PoP

    Living in the world of academia, you can mostly ignore the financial side of the biz unless you are in administration. Then it’s a headache, but we really do run our fiscal year so it ends on June 30. That is when the rest of the operation is very quiet (summers at a university are very laid-back) so no one really even notices that lots of lower-level people are frantically spending the remainder of their budgets so the higher-ups don’t steal what is left. Maybe they scheduled the year that way on purpose!

    • It also makes sense that the academic FY would correspond with the academic calendar. =)

      • Debbie M

        At the college where I work, the fiscal year ends August 31, the same time the catalogs expire, so that’s two things that have to be ready at the same time, though I think most staff only have to deal with one or the other. It’s still better than having it end December 31 when most people aren’t even there (we generally get Christmas to New Years off except for some people who have to be on the “skeleton crew” and some who have to be on call). Summer is generally less hectic at colleges (except that ours has orientation sessions all summer, so the academic advisors are crazy busy, but most of them don’t have to do much with catalogs or budgets at that time).

  • Maybe they do that for tax reasons?

    I don’t know. It does suck. Happy Festivus though! =)
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Earn a 5 Night Vacation With Flights for FreeMy Profile

    • I’m sure that there are loads of different reasons for it (taxes and clean reporting are probably top on the list), but there are companies that are on a different FY, so it is possible! =)

  • One of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes. I know my wife works as a CPA and her November/December is extremely busy as companies plan out their tax strategy for the coming year. No grievances here…I’m just going to go pin my son. :)
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted..Knowing When to Give Yourself a Blogging BreakMy Profile

  • I know! When I entered the corporate world, I was so surprised to learn that different companies have different fiscal years. It makes the whole business of corporate finance more confusing that it needs to be. Let’s all end in February. Nothing else happens in February.

    Who won the feats of strength this year, Kitty POP?
    CashRebel recently posted..Candy canes and trying new stuffMy Profile

    • I’d vote for a February fiscal year end!

      Kitty PoP practices for the feats of strength every day… but it’s hard to get over the fact that we weigh more than 10x as much as he does =)

  • No big grievances from me, after an insanely busy year I’ve got the entire week of Christmas off of work. Except for the fact that our building’s power went out this morning so I was on the phone with them trying to get the servers and internet back up, on backup power…. felt like a double shift!!
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..Man Club: My New Favorite Christmas TraditionMy Profile

  • Well, due to our seasonal patterns our academic year is the same as the calendar year :)

    Fiscal year has never really bothered me as someone in the creative industries, so things like sales targets don’t affect me personally and I don’t handle budgets or anything like that.
    eemusings recently posted..Link love (Powered by girl talk and opshopping)My Profile

    • I hadn’t realized your academic calendar was swapped from ours – but if you want a long summer break, I guess it definitely makes sense =)

  • So true. This one client of ours is trying to cram everything in this last week when so much could have been done in the fall. And they are saying stuff like this to us, “well I hope you plan on working over the weekend to get us this, that, and the other thing.” One editor volunteered to work Christmas day. Uh, no! Give an inch and they take a mile. I may not have one single plan on that day, but I WILL be taking it off anyway. Geez!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Merry Christmas/Taking a BreakMy Profile

  • We totally celebrate Festivus! It’s one of my favorite episodes!
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted..Holiday Road Trip: Gas Savings Tips From DadMy Profile

  • It is very hard to cram everything in at the end of the year. In our practice we often wait until November or December to see where we will be with taxes and buy needed equipment if we are going to owe Uncle Sam, but it’s really hard to get service with some companies, so it’s a catch 22. Also, people wanting to get in by the end of the year for deductible or flex plan reasons can get a bit insane. We try to help people spend their money if they want, but why wait until December 28th to try and get in? I honestly have no complaints this year, but that would be it if there was one. Happy Festivus!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..What Do You Really Want for Christmas?My Profile

  • In my first procurement position, our fiscal year ended June 30th and you know what? It really was a lot better than having your craziest time during December, like it is now. I completely agree with your idea: let’s get everyone on a sensible rotation.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Use Value and Exchange ValueMy Profile

  • I don’t like when other people get a discount or bonus that is denied for me.

    The local Bulk Barn has an every day 10% student discount and a weekly senior’s day discount and what do I get? Nothing.

    The same goes for better credit card bonuses that I don’t qualify for. People who make more money get better reward cards.

    I know a few gentleman who could use a Mansier/Bro for Christmas.
    jane savers @ solving the money puzzle recently posted..A Proud Mom Money Moment At The Grocery StoreMy Profile

  • When I was a tax accountant, I HATED companies that didn’t have the fiscal year coincide with the calendar year, but as a person, I totally understand why it sucks.

    I love the idea of Festivus! I’ve heard of it before but I still haven’t watched the full episode. Maybe we’ll add it to our holiday celebrations next year.
    Erin @ My Alternate Life recently posted..2013, A Year In ReviewMy Profile

  • Around here, most companies have a fiscal year coinciding with the federal government’s fiscal year (Oct-Sept). Our company is calendar year, and I asked my boss why that was – and basically, the IRS assumes you’re on a calendar year (because they are), and you need a “reason” to change from that. Reasons being: primary customers are not on a calendar year, academic calendars, etc. It was a pretty interesting discussion.

    My father was an accountant for a company that did CY=FY, and I remember him being stressed out around the holidays – kinda sucks. You’d think “spending time with your family” would be a good enough reason for the IRS…
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Debt Paydown Milestone – No More Credit Card Debt!My Profile

  • […] were also a little scared to do this at the end of last year when work was hectic. Losing access to Mr PoP’s cell phone and email during the end of Q4 would have been more […]