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Roll Forward


In finance, roll forward refers to the process of extending the expiration or maturity of an options, futures contracts, or other short-term interest rates agreements to a future date. This is usually done by closing out the existing contract and opening a new one of the same kind, but with a later expiration date. It’s a strategy often used in options trading to maintain a position in an ongoing trade.


The phonetics of the keyword “Roll Forward” is: /rəʊl ˈfɔːrwərd/

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Concept: Roll Forward is an accounting method used to adjust the reports for a period with the data of the immediately preceding term. It is commonly implemented for the reevaluation of the available facts and assumptions about a particular entity or data. It provides a detailed analysis and real-time review.
  • Usefulness: Roll Forward is a crucial approach in the area of auditing too. Auditors use this method to verify the transactions made after the balance sheet date, ensuring the accuracy of the financial statements, examining if the recognized events are correctly recorded or not in the subsequent accounting periods.
  • Benefits: Roll Forward helps organizations make reliable future decisions by using the data from the previous financial period. It helps understand trends, patterns, and behavior of financial or non-financial data over time. This process is quite essential in analyzing the repetitive nature of business transactions or operations.


Roll Forward is a significant term in finance and business due to its role in both accounting and financial planning. It represents the idea of moving forward with financial data from the end of one period to the start of the next. This concept enables businesses to update their records and maintain a continuous chain of figures. It’s crucial to auditing processes as it allows auditors to check the consistency of the organization’s financial data over time. Furthermore, for financial models, anticipation of future performance is commonly based on historical data, and the roll forward procedure helps companies in predicting upcoming operational and economic shifts. Thus, the roll forward concept aids businesses in ensuring the accuracy, reliability, and predictability of their financial data, facilitating budget planning, audit, and analysis.


The term “Roll Forward” primarily serves as a valuable process in both the finance and business sectors, especially in the auditing and planning areas. It involves extending the ending balance of a particular accounting period (month, quarter, or year) to the next accounting period as the opening balance. The purpose of “Roll Forward” is to provide detailed financial information on the changes that occurred over a certain period. It serves as a useful tool for analysts and management in assessing trends, forecasting future financial performance, investigating discrepancies, or checking the accuracy of financial statements.Roll Forward procedures are also utilized in the derivative trading industry, specifically options and futures markets. In these contexts, the purpose of rolling forward is to maintain an investment position by moving it from the current expiration cycle to a future one. Usually, this is done on or before the expiry date of the current contract. Doing so helps investors or traders to postpone the profit-taking or the prevention of possible losses that might occur due to the expiration of the contracts. This allows investors to maintain their market position without the immediate need for cash settlement.


1. Auditing Financial Statements: In auditing, the term “roll forward” is used to refer to procedures that extend the audit work carried out on the balance sheet cut-off date to the date of financial statements. For example, if an audit was conducted on June 30 but the company’s financial year ends August 31, the auditors would perform a roll-forward procedure to examine the transactions and activities in July and August to ascertain that they are recorded appropriately.2. Asset Management: A portfolio manager with a futures contract that is near expiration can roll forward into a contract with a later expiration to maintain the portfolio exposure. For instance, if the manager holds a gold futures contract set to expire in the current month of March, they roll forward by simultaneously selling the March contract and buying a similar gold contract expiring in June.3. Tax Planning: Companies often roll forward tax losses from one year to the next. Suppose a business incurred significant losses in 2020 which it could not deduct in its corporate income tax return due to insufficient taxable income. The company can roll forward these losses to offset taxable income in future years, reducing the tax bill for these future periods.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is ‘Roll Forward’?

In finance and accounting, Roll Forward refers to a method of extending the maturity or settlement date of an open position or contract. This is typically executed by closing an existing position and then simultaneously opening a position of the same type and size with a later expiry date.

When is ‘Roll Forward’ typically used in business?

Roll Forward is commonly used in futures and options trading. Traders roll forward their positions when the contract is about to expire and they want to maintain the position without taking delivery of the underlying asset.

Does ‘Roll Forward’ have implication on cost?

Yes, rolling forward can have cost implications. Depending on the market conditions, the price of the new contract may be higher or lower than the old contract, which can create a cost or benefit for the trader.

How does ‘Roll Forward’ differ from ‘Roll Back’?

While ‘Roll Forward’ refers to extending the maturity date or settlement of a position, ‘Roll Back’ , in contrast, is a term commonly used in database management. It signifies reverting the database to a previous state in case of errors or system failures. These terms belong to different contexts within business operations.

Is ‘Roll Forward’ only used in futures trading?

Although it’s majorly used in futures trading, ‘Roll Forward’ can also be used in options trading and any other types of securities or derivatives where contracts have expiry dates.

How often do traders typically roll forward positions?

The frequency of rolling forward positions differs according to trading strategies, market conditions, and contract expiry dates. Some traders may roll forward contracts daily, others may do it monthly, quarterly or as per their specific need.

What are the potential risks associated with ‘Roll Forward’?

Risks associated with roll forward can include fluctuations in the cost of the new contract, potential losses if market conditions change unfavorably, transaction costs resulting from closing and opening positions, and operational risks related to the process of rolling forward.

Related Finance Terms

  • Closing Balance: This refers to the amount of money in an account at the end of a particular period.
  • Budget Forecasting: A method used in accounting to estimate future income and expenses.
  • Audit Procedures: The processes, or steps, through which an organization’s financial statements are reviewed and evaluated for accuracy and compliance.
  • Financial Reporting: The process of producing statements that disclose an organization’s financial status to management, investors, and the government.
  • Accrual Accounting: An accounting method where revenues and expenses are recorded when they are incurred, regardless of when the money is actually received or paid.

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