A rolling budget is a budget that is continually updated to add a new budget period as the most recent budget period is completed. Thus, the rolling budget involves the incremental extension of the existing budget model.
A rolling budget calls for considerably more management attention than is the case when a company produces a one-year static budget, since some budgeting activities must now be repeated every month. In addition, if a company uses participative budgeting to create its budgets on a rolling basis, the total employee time used over the course of a year is substantial. Consequently, it is best to adopt a leaner approach to a rolling budget, with fewer people involved in the process.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Rolling Budget
This approach has the advantage of having someone constantly attend to the budget model and revise budget assumptions for the last incremental period of the budget. The downside of this approach is that it may not yield a budget that is more achievable than the traditional static budget, since the budget periods prior to the incremental month just added are not revised.
Example of a Rolling Budget
ABC Company has adopted a 12-month planning horizon, and its initial budget is from January to December. After a month passes, the January period is complete, so it now added a budget for the following January, so that it still has a 12-month planning horizon that now extends from February of the current year to January of the next year.
A rolling budget is also described as continuous budgeting.