Summary by Erica Hutchison
Master of Accountancy Program
University of South Florida, Summer 2001
Kaplan and Norton introduced the Balanced Scorecard in 1992, because they believed that financial indicators alone were insufficient to measure performance. Managers that rely exclusively on financial measurements are encouraged to sacrifice long-term improvement for short-term performance. The Balanced Scorecard approach supplements financial measurements with non-financial measures that indicate the actions that increase future financial performance.
The Balanced Scorecard approach not only provides a measure of non-financial performance; it links the measurement to strategy. An important element of the Balanced Scorecard is identifying the goals of the company and the steps to achieve these goals. The Balanced Scorecard also reflects the change in technology and competitive advantage that came about in the 20th century. An increase in the importance of intangible assets, such as customer relationships and skills and knowledge of employees, has created the need for non-financial measurements.
It is very difficult to measure the value of intangible assets. The value of intangibles is indirect and cannot be identified as separate from the context of the organization. The value arises from the collection of intangible assets and their implementation strategy. The Balanced Scorecard approach does not try to “value” an organization’s intangibles, but it does measure these assets in units other than currency.
The Balanced Scorecard provides a framework for developing a strategy map for an organization. First, the strategic objectives are organized into four categories:
1. Financial – strategy for growth, profitability, and risk from the shareholder’s point of view.
2. Customer – strategy for creating value and differentiation from the customer’s point of view.
3. Internal business process - strategic priorities for various business process that create customer and shareholder satisfaction.
4. Learning and growth - priorities that create a climate that supports organizational change, innovation, and growth. The foundation for the strategy.
By using the strategy map, organizations create a common and understandable goal for all units and employees.
In developing a strategy map, organizations determine their goals and then work down as they plot the path that leads to the realization of the goals. For example, once the organization has financial and customer goals, they determine the internal business processes necessary to meet those goals. Once the internal business processes are determined, the organization determines the organization climate that will support the internal business process and determines a program of learning and growth.
Some organizations have already implemented scorecards that use a mixture of financial and non-financial measures. Two popular scorecards are the stakeholder scorecard and the key performance indicator scorecard.
The stakeholder scorecard identifies the major players in an organization such as shareholders, customers and employees. Then, the scorecard defines the organization’s goals for each of these different constituents. However, the scorecard does not discuss the strategies needed to achieve these goals.
The Key Performance Indicator scorecards offer a collection of financial and non-financial performance measurements that are organized into a list of perspectives. However, the overall strategy of the organization is not clear. A Balanced Scorecard enables all employees and units of the organization to understand the organization’s goals and shows them how they can contribute to reaching those goals.
Non-profit and government organizations (NPGOs) usually have trouble in determining their goal. Most of the initial scorecards of NPGOs have focused on increasing operational efficiency. “It takes vision and leadership to move from continuous improvement of existing processes to thinking strategically about which processes and activities are most important for fulfilling the organization’s mission.”
It is necessary for NPGOs to modify the architecture of the Balanced Scorecard, because financial success is not their primary objective. Many rearrange the structure to put customers or constituents at the top of the hierarchy. The financial and customer objectives should be replaced by three different high-level perspectives:
1. Cost Incurred – emphasizes importance of operational efficiency.
2. Value Created – identifies the benefits being provided by the agency to its citizens.
3. Legitimizing Support – emphasizes the importance of meeting the objectives of its funding source.
After these objectives are defined, an NPGO can define the internal processes and learning and growth that are necessary to meet the objectives.
Once organizations developed the Balanced Scorecard, Kaplan and Norton began realizing that the scorecard was more than just a performance measurement system. Because the scorecard puts the organization’s focus on the future, they soon developed their new measures into a management system. “The Balanced Scorecard provides the ‘recipe’ that enables ingredients already existing in the organization to be combined for long-term value creation.”
For the second article in this series see Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 2001. Transforming the balanced scorecard from performance measurement to strategic management: Part II. Accounting Horizons (June): 147-160. (Summary).
Other Related summaries:
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 1992. The balanced scorecard - Measures that drive performance. Harvard Business Review (January/February): 71-79. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 1993. Putting the balanced scorecard to work. Harvard Business Review (September-October): 134-147. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 1996. The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action
Boston: Harvard Business School Press. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 1996. Using the balanced scorecard as a strategic management system. Harvard Business Review (January-February): 75-85. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 1997. Why does business need a balanced scorecard? Journal of Cost Management (May/June): 5-10. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 2000. Having trouble with your strategy? Then map it. Harvard Business Review (September-October): 167-176. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 2001. The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment.
Harvard Business School Press. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 2004. Measuring the strategic readiness of intangible assets. Harvard Business Review (February): 52-63. (Summary).
Lyons, B., A. Gumbus and D. E. Bellhouse. 2003. Aligning capital investment decisions with the balanced scorecard. Journal of Cost Management (March/April): 34-38. (Summary).
Martin, J. R. Not dated. Balanced scorecard concepts. Management And Accounting Web. http://maaw.info/BalScoreSum.htm
Martin, J. R. Not dated. Simon's levers or control in relation to the balanced scorecard. Management And Accounting Web. http://maaw.info/ArticleSummaries/ArtSumSimon'sLeversofControl.htm
Martinsons, M., R. Davison and D. Tse. 1999. The balanced scorecard: A foundation for the strategic management of information systems. Decision Support Systems (25): 71-88. (Summary).
Norreklit, H. 2003. The balanced scorecard: What is the score? A rhetorical analysis of the balanced scorecard. Accounting, Organizations and Society 28(6): 591-619. (Summary).
Paladino, B. 2007. 5 key principles of corporate performance management: How do Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame, Malcolm Baldrige, Sterling, Fortune 100, APQC, and Forbes award winners drive value? Strategic Finance (June): 39-45. (Note).
Porter, M. E. 1980. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. The Free Press. (Summary).
Porter, M. E. 1996. What is a strategy? Harvard Business Review (November-December): 61-78. (Summary).
Schonberger, R. J. 2008. Lean performance management (Metrics don't add up). Cost Management (January/February): 5-10. (Note: Schonberger criticizes the KPI or scorecard approach from the lean enterprise perspective. Summary).