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rolling forecast

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A rolling forecast is an add/drop process for predicting the future over a set period of time. Rolling forecasts are often used in long-term weather predictions, project management, supply chain management and financial planning.

If, for example, an organization needs to anticipate operating expenses a year in advance, the rolling forecast's set period of time would be 12 months. After the first month had passed, that month would be dropped from the beginning of the forecast and another month would be added to the end of the forecast. A rolling forecast's first in/first out (FIFO) process ensures that the forecast always covers the same amount of time. Because a rolling forecast window requires routine revisions, it is sometimes referred to as a continuous forecast or an iterative forecast  

Rolling forecasts can be contrasted with static forecasts and recursive forecasts. Static forecasts use a count-down process. A static forecast for an organization’s yearly operating expenses, for example, would still cover 12 specific months -- but once those 12 months had passed, the first forecast would be discarded and an entirely new forecast would be created for the next 12 months. Recursive forecasts, on the other hand, simply add more time to the initial forecast while keeping the same start date.

See also: fiscal year

This was last updated in November 2013

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