“Going Forward”:  Financial Expression of the Day


Going forward into Cliché Land…

“Going forward,” adverbial phrase, henceforth; in the future.  Usage note:  When talking about a retailer’s ability to cut costs, an equity analyst, working himself into a lather of financial bullspit, might say, “We think the company will be able to ‘leverage’ SG&A ‘spend’ going forward.”

With this hideous statement, the analyst is trying to say that he or she thinks that the company will see certain operating costs as a percentage of sales drop in the future.  But stating this idea plainly simply won’t suffice, so we instead we get this claptrap, which offers a few things on which to comment:  The use of the “royal we,” for example, implies that the analyst has a whole team behind him working diligently to hone his predictions (frequently not the case, often it’s just our analyst backed by one overworked recent college grad, whose lack of sleep has given him a Draculian pallor; and sometimes the analyst has no junior support whatsoever, perhaps because no one is willing to work for him, making his use of “we” all the sillier).  With the “royal we,” the analyst tries to avoid going out on a limb all by himself in case his forecast is wrong, which it probably is about half the time.  Then there’s “leverage,” which, apparently unbeknownst to our speaker, is a noun and should stay that way (in much the same way that “incentive” should never have become “incentivize”).  Conversely, “spend” is next, which is a verb, should stay that way, but has been twisted here, in vomit-inducing fashion, into a noun (just like “ask,” a verb that some language-abusers employ as a noun to mean “something that a person requests”).  Finally, we come to “going forward,” which unfortunately is now being used by people outside Wall Street.  For example, when the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies signed Michael Beasley to a training camp deal in September, the team might have said, “He can move between guard and forward going forward.”

According to Constant Agony, the Jesse Jackson Professor of Linguistics at State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg:  “Because ‘going forward’ has moved into the mainstream, the financier is sure to abandon the term because one of the reasons he uses Wall Street-speak is to signal to people that he speaks in a secret code used only by those who, to paraphrase Joe Biden, are big effing deals.”  


One thought on ““Going Forward”:  Financial Expression of the Day

  1. Pingback: “Agnostic”: Financial Expression of the Day | Bud Fox News

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