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Re: Quarter()
Posted by: Grant Wray
Date: November 30, 2016 10:51PM

I think we shall have to agree to differ on what the "common understanding" of the word Quarter is when relating to annual periods. I would say people hear it all the time on the news, "Apple has reported a third quarter drop in profits", "Google has reported advertising revenue is up this quarter on last year". Thus understood in the financial reporting sense it means "3 months", but what is the first quarter of the year varies wildly. The fact that the Wikipedia article had the definition of quarter changed by someone to relate to US Government fiscal year quarters only underlines the point that there is no common understanding. This "3 month" understanding ignores the 13-week use of a fiscal reporting quarter.

There is also a legal definition of a "calendar quarter" pertinent to Pennsylvania employment law defined in FOLLETT V. W.C.A.B. (MASS. MUT. L. INS.) (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 1988). The judge makes reference to Webster's definition of a "calendar year" and determines the meaning of "calendar quarter" (finding that Jan, Feb & Mar dates fall within the first calendar quarter). However the function is NOT "CALENDAR_QUARTER()", merely QUARTER().


To keep it relevant to documentation, I say there's no harm in including clarification of the meaning of the return value. Such as "The month part of the date is used to derive the value of the quarter such that January, February and March return 1, April, May and June return 2 etc".

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