Ask the editor: Why are fiscal years different from regular calendar years?

McKinney residents are invited to a provide feedback to the city of McKinney as staff prepares the cityu2019s fiscal year 2018-19 budget.

McKinney residents are invited to a provide feedback to the city of McKinney as staff prepares the cityu2019s fiscal year 2018-19 budget.

Government fiscal schedules are inconsistent across Texas as different entities have the ability to choose when they set budgets. The city of Katy and Fort Bend County use an Oct. 1-Sept. 30 fiscal calendar, Harris County uses March 1-Feb. 28 fiscal year, Waller County uses a January-December fiscal calendar and Katy ISD uses September-August fiscal year.

Governments and private companies alike will often select fiscal years that support their bottom line, according to the International Monetary Fund. Public agencies typically choose budget schedules to avoid “highly volatile flows of expenditure or revenue at the end of the year,” the organization said last year in its Public Financial Management Blog.

Companies can also choose their own fiscal years, and many do so to counteract when their industries fluctuate, according to Investopedia. Aligning fiscal calendars with those of private companies can make it easier for governments to forecast economic growth, the IMF said.