DD/MM/YY, MM/DD/YY, YY/MM/DD or HH/MM/DD

It amazes me that in this age where just about every piece of information on earth has been digitized on to computers that we have not standardized the date, which is absolutely critical to any accounting system, if not life in general. The British and the Australians say DD/MM/YY, the Yanks and Canadians say MM/DD/YY, the Japanese say YY/MM/DD. So if you are looking at a document with a date of 11/9/13, it could be the 11th day of September 2013, the 9th day of November 2013 or the 13th day of September 2011, depending who wrote it. But wait, in Japan it gets worse, they not only use YY/MM/DD but they also have their own calendar starting with the accession of each emperor. The Heisei period started in 1988 and so 11/9/13 could now be the 11th year of the Heisei period, the 9th month and the 13th day, which would be the 13th September 1999.

With a little bit of extra effort, all this confusion can be avoided by writing the year in full, e.g. 11/9/2013 or 2013/9/11 or H25/9/13. Unless you are a Yank or a Canadian as writing 9/11/2013 still means September 11th 2013 to them but 9th November 2013 to the British. To me, this seems to be deliberately confusing the issue, illogical and in the minority so please, Yanks and Canadians, I think it’s time to DD/MM/YY.

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