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Vendors who do business with the federal government may think back to the fall of 2013 and be reminded of a sour end to the fiscal year. This was a time defined by a failure by Congress to legislate funding for FY 2014, causing the government to shut down and signaling sequestration. According to a recent article on FedPulse, those times are distant memories now and "many contractors are breathing a sigh of relief after a strong selling season."

The fiscal year end date for most federal government agencies is predictable, ending on September 30th, with a new year beginning on October 1st each year. However, when doing business with non-federal agencies, fiscal year end dates are varied. Because of the potential impact of agency spending around fiscal year end dates, we decided to take a look at the fiscal year end dates of agencies in the state, local and education (or SLED) markets in order to help government vendors better understand the purchasing cycles of their target agencies.

We analyzed the fiscal year end dates of more than 80,000 government agencies in Onvia’s Agency Center and segmented those agencies by level of government. The results were telling: The anxiety around the end of the federal fiscal year in September should not apply to vendors focusing on the state, local and education markets as agency spending cycles differ, often by many months. In our findings, the majority of SLED agency fiscal years do not align with the federal calendar. While there can be federal funding impacts on state and local contracting, SLED-focused vendors may be better served by understanding the specific spending cycles of their target agencies. Our research indicated certain patterns in fiscal year-ends (FYEs) by level of government, with state agencies and school districts having the most consistent FYEs within their own segment.

Readers can view the full analysis in the infographic below, but here is a list of key takeaways for vendors doing business in the state, local and education markets:

  • Only 8.5% of all SLED agencies have fiscal year end dates that align with the federal fiscal year.
  • The majority of school district FYEs align with the end of the school year in June - 86%.
  • State level agency fiscal year end dates also mostly fall at the end of June - 92%.
  • Cities, counties and special districts FYEs are more spread throughout the year but generally cluster in December (45-50%) and in June (25-35%). The remainder of agency FYEs spread throughout the year (15-30%).

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Agency Fiscal Year End Dates Infographic

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We hope this data helps you plan your business development, market and sales strategies with your target agencies. If you’d like to see the data sliced in a different way – leave a comment and we'll see what we can do! We encourage readers to share this infographic with your #govcon network by using the provided embed code or social buttons at the top of this blog post.