Scorecard Step-by-Step for Government and Nonprofit Agencies
Paul R. Niven
Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 305 pp; $45 (hardcover); ISBN: 0471423289
by Gerald N. Tischfeld and the staff of The Alliance Group,
Scorecard Step-by-Step for Government and Nonprofit Agencies,
the author adapts his knowledge of and experience with balanced
scorecard (BSC) in the for-profit sector to the not-for-profit
and public sectors. This well-organized book walks the reader
through the steps necessary to develop a BSC by providing
useful definitions and templates, relevant anecdotes, and
an insider’s view of a public-sector organization’s
success with the BSC tool.
book is written at an intermediate level for consultants
that provide strategic and business planning to not-for-profit
or public-sector entities. Although it might not benefit
someone with no prior experience with these entities, when
used in conjunction with other materials that consultants
may already be familiar with, the book can serve as an excellent
book begins with an overview of BSC’s successful track
record in the for-profit sector. Niven then provides a historical
appreciation of BSC, a term first coined by Robert Kaplan,
an accounting professor at Harvard University, and David
Norton, a consultant in the Boston area. With great clarity,
Niven describes how BSC can provide a framework to map and
execute strategies by serving as a measurement system, strategic
management system, and communication tool.
detailing the steps necessary to actually create a BSC and
implement strategies, the book explains rudimentary but
integral concepts necessary to establish a strong organizational
foundation, which is an essential component for any not-for-profit
or public-sector entity. In addition, the author thoughtfully
emphasizes the importance of training and communication
planning within the organization. The chapters that address
these areas provide basic but useful definitions for the
novice as well as consultants seeking a concise refresher,
along with helpful exhibits for any organization wishing
to create or revise its mission statement.
chapter devoted to strategy provides a comprehensive summary
of the 10 schools of strategic thoughts. Niven ultimately
endorses this reviewer’s personal preference, the
SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat) analysis.
In addition, the book appropriately emphasizes the necessity
and complexity of conducting a stakeholder analysis in light
of the “web of relationships” present in not-for-profit
and public organizations as compared to the for-profit sector.
Given the depth of this area, a prior understanding and
execution of strategic planning is necessary for the consultant
to fully take advantage of BSC.
next part of the book addresses how to actually develop
the BSC. The author includes a practical overview of the
four standard perspectives used to develop performance objectives:
customer; internal processes; employee learning and growth;
and financial. In addition to these standard perspectives,
the reader will find relevant anecdotes exemplifying how
an organization can supplement or rename these perspectives
in light of its particular objectives. The remainder of
this chapter provides a detailed discussion and practical
exhibits to assist in the development of the strategy map.
the final part of the book, Niven addresses the necessity
for an organization to communicate its objectives and measures
to all levels of the organization by “cascading”
the BSC. As a strong proponent of team building, this reviewer
appreciates the inclusion of this process. The book provides
a clear exhibit to illustrate how cascading can be accomplished
by developing BSCs at the highest level to the lowest level
within the organization in order to maximize the effectiveness
of their implementation. Interestingly, the author’s
inclusion of this exhibit, which was also incorporated in
his first book, Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing
Performance and Maintaining Results (CPA Journal Book
Review July 2002), demonstrates how successful tools in
the for-profit world can be easily adapted to the not-for-profit
and public sectors.
Niven thoroughly guides the reader through the development
of the BSC, he shares the success and challenges of employing
it for a public-sector entity. In doing so, he provides
a clear model for applying BSC within the public sector.
The final discussion addresses the elements necessary to
this book offers a complete roadmap for developing BSC in
the not-for-profit and public sectors. Its templates, exhibits,
definitions, anecdotes, and glossary provide practitioners
with a useful resource and reference tool. Throughout, the
author does an excellent job of incorporating real-life
situations that strengthen the tutorial components of the
book and illustrate the adaptability of BSC.
a valuable resource, the book is not a substitute for an
on-site seminar. Only through practical experience and interplay
among seminar participants can the consultant truly understand
how to develop the BSC and the importance of team building.
Along with hands-on experience such as that discussed above,
Balanced Scorecard is highly recommended to the
consultant as well as the not-for-profit or public organization
interested in taking its strategic and business planning
capability to a higher level.
Note: For more about applying the balanced scorecard
approach to public entities, see “Balanced Scorecard
for Government Entities,” by Sandra Lang, on page 48
of this issue.
N. Tischfeld, CPA, of The Alliance Group, LLC, based
in Jericho, N.Y., is a member of the NYSSCPA’s Not-for-Profit