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Accounting for Managers: Interpreting Accounting Information for Decision-Making, Canadian Edition by Eckhard Schumann, Sandy M. Kizan, Paul M. Collier

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READING 1

Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System

by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

Editor's Note: In 1992, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton's concept of the balanced scorecard revolutionized conventional thinking about performance metrics. By going beyond traditional measures of financial performance, the concept has given a generation of managers a better understanding of how their companies are really doing.

These nonfinancial metrics are so valuable mainly because they predict future financial performance rather than simply report what's already happened. This article, first published in 1996, describes how the balanced scorecard can help senior managers systematically link current actions with tomorrow's goals, focusing on that place where, in the words of the authors, “the rubber meets the sky.”

As companies around the world transform themselves for competition that is based on information, their ability to exploit intangible assets has become far more decisive than their ability to invest in and manage physical assets. Several years ago, in recognition of this change, we introduced a concept we called the balanced scorecard. The balanced scorecard supplemented traditional financial measures with criteria that measured performance from three additional perspectives—those of customers, internal business processes, and learning and growth. (See the exhibit “Translating Vision and Strategy: Four Perspectives.”) It therefore enabled companies to ...

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