Definition of year to date (accounting): The cumulative financial result from the start of the latest accounting year until the present day.
What is Year to Date (YTD)?
Year to date is the name for a period of time without a fixed meaning. Its context depends on when the present day falls within the financial year.
Year to date is often abbreviated to YTD for the sake of brevity, particularly when used in financial charts and tables to quickly set the context for a figure. For example:
This month: £450,900
About financial years
A financial year, or accounting period, is the calendar over which a company measures and reports its results.
It is common for a company to use the ordinary calendar year beginning January as their financial year. This means that their year end is the 31 December.
However, companies have the free choice to start their financial year at any point. Many UK businesses choose to have a year-end of 31 March or 30 April. 30 September is also not uncommon.
Having an obscure financial year-end can help lower accounting and professional service fees, because it may move the timing of the preparation of accounts and tax returns to outside of the busiest period for accounting professionals.
Year to date or YTD may refer to the calendar year, or it may refer to the financial year. This should not be assumed when a company has a financial year-end which differs from the calendar year.
How is the phrase year to date used in a sentence?
“The YTD turnover as per the general ledger is £35,000.”
How does the definition of year to date (YTD) relate to investing?
As an investor in company stocks & shares, you may hear references to ‘year to date’ when reviewing interim financial statements or trading updates provided by management teams.
As you read management accounting books, you’ll notice that all management information is expressed as a current month, or a year-to-date measure. I.e. live versus cumulative performance.