March Madness – How to Manage March Fiscal Year End Madness

Strategy Plan One

March 13, 2012 

March madness - fiscal year endMarch Madness – Fiscal Year End

In countries such as the UK(April 5th), Canada, India and Japan, many businesses are tied to their own Federal government fiscal year end of March 31st.  In the US, the fiscal year end is September 30th (so you have some time to plan here).  Whether you rely on government services and resources, or if you are a supplier or contractor to government, these fiscal boundaries can have significant impacts on your operations.

Most government agencies have financial mechanisms in place to only allow goods and services to be acquired and received in the fiscal year that the resources occur in.  This means any delay in services or goods through the fiscal year must then be concentrated in the last quarter, and most likely the last month of the government fiscal – September or March in cases of the countries listed above.  Marching madly into March madness would be an understatement.

March madness - fiscal year endMarch Madness – Relying on Government Services & Resources

The first suggestion if you rely on government services and resources, would be to avoid delays and proceed early on in the fiscal year… don’t wait until March or fiscal year end.  Government programs such as business contribution and grant programs have money dedicated to fiscal years, and must provide these amounts to the recipients before fiscal year end.  The trickle effect is that the end eligible recipient must also acquire the business goods and services within the fiscal year boundaries to be within the conditions of the grant and contribution agreement.

If you are a legal recipient of a government service or financial resource, work with your government agency early on in the fiscal year to activate agreements, to enable you to implement your project and spend the money in an adequate time frame.  This will allow you to plan and manage your project around any wrinkles that may occur.  Reporting back on fiscal year activities and spending is critically important to government agencies.

March Madness – Supplier or Contractor to Government

As we all know, government programs and procedures are ripe with problems, and public servants are left scrambling to implement poorly designed public programs.  With poorly designed programs, weak procedures around the government procurement of good and services raise their ugly heads.  These challenges in government agencies give way to significant deviation is budgetary spending.  Some government departments are left scrambling to spend at fiscal year end instead of reporting back that less than the budgeted was spent.

Suppliers and contractors experience an extreme high volume of requests for goods and services at fiscal year end.  In addition to this, the public service demands cost effective and timely services from lists of pre-approved suppliers and contractors.  Those contractors who know the system have adapted to this March madness and will be geared up to adequately supply government with their needs.

March Madness Example

In one example, a small business supplier was asked to fulfill 400 office furniture requests to fully outfit 400 offices, within the last week of the fiscal, across many Federal government branches.  This constituted 60% of the small firm’s annual business.  You can imagine the logistics behind 400 purchase orders, the staff, transportation, etc… all to be delivered to and received by government by March 31st at11:59pm at the latest.

Helpful hints to Alleviate March Madness Pressures

  • Work early on in the fiscal year and integrate operations around the fiscal year end boundaries
  • Be part of the solution and offer suggestions to improving government year end procedures
  • Be a specialist in procurement (firms actually train government agents on streamlined procurement procedures, as government has a higher turn-over rate of employees)

Fiscal year end deadlines are quickly approaching for some countries; US firms take note (you have half of a year to jump on it).

Strategy Plan One

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One


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