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Beware When Creating the Application Calendar Using a Fiscal Year

Posted by Alan on April 16, 2008

For the current PerformancePoint project I am on, the client runs a fiscal year that ends June 30th.  This is the first project where the client has not been on a calendar year.   I learned a valuable lesson today that will end up costing me about two-thirds of a days worth of work due to the fact that once the calendar is created, there are no changes allowed (whose stupid idea was that anyway?!?!).

When you are creating the calendar for the application you will see a screen like this (click on the images for larger versions):

  Calendar Setup 1

Usually I have been removing the word “Year” from the prefix purely for cosmetic reasons:

Calendar Setup 2

The reson for this was no one wanted to see time displayed as “January Year2008”.  Everyone is used to seeing it as “January 2008”.

This is fine and dandy when you are using a calendar year but not having a prefix gets a little ugly when using a fiscal year and how modelers and users will see dates.   For instance if you get rid of any type of year prefix in the Modeler you will see:

Time Dimension without FY

What is wrong with this is the potential for confusion.  For instance, take the year “2007” at the top.  This is “Fiscal Year 2007”, not “Calendar Year 2007”, so there is our first potential area of confusion as it is easy for a user to forget that they are working on a fiscal year.  Next, look down at “Q3 2007” and you will see “January 2007”.   This will cause big-time confusion in my opinion.   When we see “January 2007” is actually referencing the month of January for the Fiscal Year 2007.  However, if you think this through, what users who are used to working with a fiscal year would expect to see is the month displayed as January 2008 even though we are in FY2007.   And think of the additional confusion due to how things are displayed from within Excel:

 Time Dimension without FY in Excel

Now, in the database the dates are all fine and what we see as “January 2007” is being stored as the dates 1/1/2008 through 1/31/2008.  This issue is all a visual and user interface related.   So for now on, when I have a client who is on a fiscal year I will be setting up the calendar as shown below:

Calendar Setup 3

And therefore will have a Time Dimension that hopefully avoids confusion and looks like this:

 Time Dimension with FY

 Hopefully this post will help you avoid the same pain that I went through.   



One Response to “Beware When Creating the Application Calendar Using a Fiscal Year”

  1. Damo said

    Thanks for the tip!

    I wish they allowed Fiscal Years to display something like ‘FY08/09′, FY09/10’ etc. Would make it far easier for the end user.

    Oh well the change to the prefix is a good start.


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