What is an Annual Basis?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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The annual basis is the name for a mathematical technique that helps to adjust figures relating to a period of less than twelve months so that they extend to cover a full twelve month period. This approach, also known as annualizing, is especially helpful when it comes to preparing statistics relevant to investments or to the anticipated revenue generated by a business for an upcoming period. The approach can also be helpful in the process of preparing a budget for the next calendar year, or making adjustments to the remainder of the current year’s budget.

When making use of the annual basis technique, the process involves taking information available for a period of a few weeks or months and extrapolating that amount to determine what the figure would be for an entire year. For example, if a company wanted to get an idea of what type of revenue it is anticipated to generate for a full twelve month period, the actual figures for the first three months of the year may be used as the starting point for the calculation. By multiplying the revenue generated in the quarter by four, the business can arrive as a good estimate of its annual revenue. This is assuming that the business can anticipate a consistent amount of revenue to be generated during each of the three remaining quarters.


Business and other types of organization often use the approach of an annual basis to aid in preparing budgets for the next annual period. By determining the anticipated total revenue for the current year, the business can begin considering various projects and budget line items that will be included in the next annual budget. Doing so can often help the organization avoid preparing a budget that is too ambitious in terms of income, thus keeping the operation in a more realistic and financially stable position.

At the same time, the annual basis can also come in handy in making adjustments to the budget for the current year. If the actual income for the first four months of the year were less than anticipated, projecting the income trend for the remainder of the year may indicate that some budget line items need to be reduced, if the organization is to remain in the black. From this perspective, the annual basis approach can go a long way toward helping a company avoid financial instability, and position it to enter the next budget period without carrying a great deal of unanticipated debt.


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