Magazine article The CPA Journal

Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results

Article excerpt


By Paul R. Niven

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002; $45.00; ISBN 0471078727

Reviewed by Micbael J. Fischer, PbA CPA, St. Bonaventure University

Since Robert Kaplan and David Norton first introduced the balanced scorecard in 1992, it has come to be heralded as one of the 75 most influential business ideas of the 20th century. But despite the number of books and articles published during the past 10 years describing the concept and its benefits, relatively little has appeared that describes the nutsand-bolts of successfully developing and implementing a balanced scorecard. Paul Niven succeeds at filling this gap.

Niven is well qualified to advise readers on the practical issues of developing and successfully implementing a balanced scorecard system. He initially gained experience with the development and implementation of a balanced scorecard system at Nova Scotia Power, Inc., in the mid1990s. Since then, he has consulted on successful balanced scorecard projects in a wide variety of organizations, including large public companies, public sector agencies, and nonprofits.

The balanced scorecard was initially conceived primarily as an improved organizational performance measurement tool, one that sought to overcome many of the perceived limitations of traditional, historically-- focused, accounting-based metrics. The balanced scorecard has since evolved-particularly in those organizations where it has been most successful-to be an integral part of an enhanced strategic planning and management system.

After a conceptual overview and description of its benefits, Niven systematically describes the start-to-finish development and implementation of a balanced scorecard. This description begins with the process of gaining organizational sponsorship for the project, selecting and recruiting team members, and setting up organizational communications. This essential discussion sets the tone for the remainder of the book.

Given the centrality of organizational strategy to the balanced scorecard, Niven fittingly starts the detailed portion of the book with a description of organizational mission, values, vision, and strategy. …

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