Corporate fiscal year started? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

What happened to that long list of various businesses that began their fiscal year. WalMart, KMart etc. It was to begin the first monday after the first weekend of Feb, was my understanding. I have heard nothing. All went smoothly????Is this another "never happened" to add to the list?

-- Taz (, February 19, 1999


A couple of points here......

Firstly, the general public will never hear a great deal about companies internal failures. Virtually any employee of any company that size sign non-disclosure agreements stating that they will not reveal any company information to people outside the company. How well they are handling the fiscal year rollover will take time to come out and more likely in leaks rather than company statements. Same old company is going to publicly say that there computer system is buggered a matter of fact, if a director were to do that he'd likely be facing lawsuits from shareholders.

Secondly, there have been some reports of companies using stop-gap measures......artificially setting the year end as December 31, 1999 to avoid rollover problems. They see this as a means to buy some time while they finish fixing their problems.

I think good news or bad news is going to be hard to get a hold of, leading to continued speculation as to how severe the problem really is. No company is ever going to say 'We're 100% Y2K compliant' and no company is ever going to say 'Uh Oh, we're not going to make it on time'.

-- Craig (, February 19, 1999.

Thanks, Craig. A programmer told us the same thing. Those states which are soon going to be fiscal-year looking forward are rigging their dates in 1999 to buy time. Can they do it even in 2000? What would stop a company from long-term staying in the 1990's? Seems like just about anything can be rigged. Please explain; sorry, am a computer dummie, need simple language :)

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (, February 19, 1999.

There's two points here. First, some lookahead end dates are being changed from 2000 to December 1999. Secondly, whatever fiscal year problems are going on would be in the accounting department.

Here's a quote from PNG on the (non)-significance of April (and that would include Wal-Mart in February):

"Fiscal years have little to do with company or country operations. Producing products, providing services and distributing them are the elements that create commerce. Looking ahead in projections and deciding where and when you are going to post the results is keeping score...not producing, providing, or distributing."

So, expect to hear little or no news about FY rollover problems this month and in April. I even suspect we won't hear much about fiscal- year rollover problems at the state level in July.

More likely what you'll hear in July is that large companies with many vendors, such as GM, are shifting their business from non- compliant to compliant vendors. I could also imagine some controversy about whether to shut down any nuclear power plants who are still non- compliant in July. July 1 is supposed to be the deadline for nuclear plants to be remediated.

-- Kevin (, February 19, 1999.

From Corey Hamasaki

Write this down, say this to yourself, we still have over 10 months before the rollover. Yes, the failure rate is increasing as the Jo Anne Effect moves from the rare pathological phase to problems processing February transactions; each month from now on, a new batch of clueless companies will hit the wall and stagger back, eyes crossed, nose bleeding and saying, "Wha? Huh? What was that?"

The initial collection will patch their systems but some small percentage of each group will include companies that do not have the geeks to fix their JAE failures. These companies will merge, close their doors, sell out, or quietly slip away into the night.

It will be like viral loading, the difference between a 24 hour bug and Ebola. At some point, the load will overwhelm our defenses and the collapse will begin.

When the collapse occurs, it will happen so fast that we will not be able to react.

At this time, everyone knows what the risks are. Most people don't want to believe that a Y2K collapse is possible. Even the most slow-witted out there realize that there will be some kind of Y2K event but they are pushing it out of their consciousness.

Prior to the Y2K event, there will be a pre-event triggered by a psychological turnover. Perhaps a couple weeks in which the stock market loses a 1/4 of its valuation, perhaps it will be early runs on stores, or riots as has happened before in troubled areas.

As we approach the psychological singularity, the loony cries of the denial-heads will become ever more crazed and frantic. Read John Kenneth Galbraith's "1929". The parallels are clear.

Please denial butt-heads, don't argue with me, tell Professor Galbraith where he's wrong; straighten him out; give him "What fer."

-- none (, February 19, 1999.

I think the stock market has a good chance of staying up through June. In July, vendor worries and manufacturing, service and distribution lookaheads could spook the market. There's a few more months left of trying to apply this trick to accounting systems...

[the link to this is dead now, but it is from the Washington Post]

13 States, District Face Y2K Problems Unemployment Checks May be Slowed By Stephen Barr Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, December 23, 1998; Page A03

Thirteen states and the District will have to put electronic bandages on their computers next month so they can pay new unemployment insurance claims into the year 2000, Clinton administration officials said yesterday.

The federal-state unemployment program provides one of the first large-scale examples of the problems caused by the "Y2K bug." Computer experts have warned that payments for billions of dollars in Medicaid, food stamps, child welfare and other federal-state benefits could be at risk because surveys have shown that states are moving slowly on the Y2K problem.

Many of the computer systems in the unemployment insurance program, which processes claims, makes payments to the jobless and collects taxes from employers, are more than 30 years old. The systems processed more than $20 billion in state unemployment benefits in fiscal 1998 and provide crucial data on economic trends.

Persons filing claims for jobless benefits are assigned a "benefit year," which means that -- starting Jan. 4, 1999 -- unemployment insurance systems will have to be able to process dates and calculations that extend into 2000. Y2K problems may occur when computers next month try to process a first-time claim with a benefit year that covers both 1999 and 2000, officials said.

Some states that have not solved their Y2K problems will use a simple temporary fix, such as ending all benefit years on Dec. 31, 1999, while other states will use different techniques that essentially trick the computers so they will perform accurate date calculations, officials said.

If the computers are still not ready to operate on Jan. 1, 2000, states then will rely on emergency backup plans, including the writing of benefit checks by hand, officials said.

John A. Koskinen, the president's adviser on Y2K issues, and Deputy Labor Secretary Kathryn Higgins yesterday stressed that the nation's unemployment insurance system would not suffer serious disruptions.

"A year out, we know where our problems are. . . . It's an enormous help to have that information," Higgins said.

Koskinen pointed to the contingency planning for jobless benefits as a clear sign that the government will be able to maintain important services and programs, even if computer systems encounter Y2K problems.

Y2K, the computer industry's shorthand when discussing the year 2000 problem, stems from the use in many automated systems of a two-digit dating system that assumes the first two digits of the year are 1 and 9. Without specialized reprogramming, the systems will recognize "00" not as 2000 but as 1900, causing computers to malfunction or shut down.

Labor Department officials listed Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, the District, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Vermont as lagging on Y2K repairs. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also are running behind schedule, the officials said.

Delaware, according to the Labor Department, will not have all computer systems converted until the last possible moment: Jan. 1, 2000. But state officials said the most critical systems have been fixed and suggested that even experts can disagree on how to assess Y2K readiness.

The District should have its unemployment system fixed by March 31, the Labor Department said.

Overall, the repair bill could run to $490 million for the unemployment insurance systems, according to preliminary estimates.

) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

-- Kevin (, February 19, 1999.

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