Fiscal Quarters Definition

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 29, 2023

How Many Quarters in a Year?

There are four quarters in a year.

A quarter refers to a three month period (i.e. one quarter of one year) on a company's financial calendar, that establishes a period for financial reports and dividend payments.

Most financial reporting is done on a quarterly basis since this increment of time is a sweet spot, where data is less prone to the spikes and dips of smaller time frames, and investors receive timely updates on company performance.

Financial quarters are typically expressed as "Q"followed by the quartile number;

1.) The first quarter is Q1

2.) The second quarter is Q2

3.) The third quarter is Q3

4.)The fourth quarter is Q4

Making the four quarters of the year.

Quarters may also be represented along with their relevant year, as in Q1 2020 or Q1/20.

Investors rely on quarterly earnings reports to determine financial trends which influence investment choices.

Consequently, companies take quarterlies very seriously, since it has a big impact on investment/stock value.

What Does Quarterly Mean?

Publicly traded companies are required to file quarterly reports with the Securities Exchange Commission, or SEC.

Quarterly reports are often audited to create confidence in the report, however an audit is not required.

A "fiscal quarter"(or business quarters) is one-fourth of a fiscal year, which is a defined 12-month period for tax and accounting purposes.

For most businesses, the fiscal year starts on January 1st and ends on December 31st; however, some businesses begin and end their fiscal year on different dates.

Get in touch with us!

If you would like more information about how your finances could be doing better with help from someone who understands what they are talking about, reach out to a financial advisor in Los Angeles County, CA or visit our financial advisor page if you live outside the area.

Our team can create custom plans tailored just for you so that your money goes exactly where it needs to go.

Quarter (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4) FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

Discover Wealth Management Solutions Near You

Find Advisor Near You