Balanced Scorecard Bsc Is A Management System Accounting Essay
The companies have used balanced scorecard that was originated by Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton in the early 1990s worldwide. But still a lot of companies are not using it. Firstly, this paper will analyze the implementation issues of balanced scorecard to find out what are the major issues faced by the companies during implementation. Secondly, it would like to determine if the level of staff involvement during implementation would bring a significant effect to the effectiveness of BSC. a similar research will be conducted to examine if effectiveness of balanced scorecard could be influenced by the way the company communicates BSC idea/strategy among the members. One-way (top down hierarchically) communication will be compared to two-way (allow subordinated to respond) communication.
The result shows that difficulties in cascading the idea/strategy within the company and assign weighting to different perspectives topped the list as the most challenging implementation issues. Middle manager involvement in BSC implementation proofed to be very important to improve the effectiveness BSC. Then, two-way communication also makes an improvement to the effectiveness of BSC compared to one-way communication. Lastly, the companies who are not adopting BSC prefer to use financial ratios as a performance measurement.
I would like to thank god for being with me so that I can finish my final year project. I also want to express my gratitude especially for Mr. Lim Kaim Soon who supervised, guided me and gave his advice in the process of the making of this project. I also am thankful to my parents and all my lecturers who guided me during this undergraduate program. Not to be forgotten, for all my friends who have been very supportive to finish this project.
Table of Contents
Table of contents 3
Literature Review 6
Balanced scorecard (BSC) is a management system that was originated by Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton in the early 1990s, since then worldwide firms have used it. Now, BSC has evolved from simple performance system to a strategic planning and management system. The initial BSC used 4 perspectives: financial, internal business, learning & growth and customer perspective. Despite the bright idea of BSC, not every company is currently using it. BSC implementation will bring changes to the firm’s vision and how they run, and then the implementation is not an easy job. According to the past researches, many firms have chosen not to implement BSC because of the complex problems waiting ahead and many more reasons that prevent them to use it. Meanwhile, firms are finding their way to improve the effectiveness of balanced scorecard.
This study examines the balanced scorecard usage among Singapore firms and it will look into the implementation of BSC. The research is based on data analysis and the data collection will be using a survey, the questionnaire is distributed to Singapore firms through email. This paper will focus on the implementation issues and the effectiveness of balance scorecard. First of all, the implementation issues will be assessed, potential issues generated mainly from the past research, the major issues faced by Singapore firms will be identified, then necessary statistical tests will be used to produce evidence.
Effectiveness of BSC can be influenced by many factors, this paper will try to determine if level of staff involvement in implementation have an influenced to the effectiveness. This study proposes three different level of staff involvement. The first level will involve executive officers only, second level gives additional middle manager and the last will involve supervisors and/or frontline employees. Furthermore, effectiveness is going to be assessed to verify if the way the company communicates BSC within the firm will affect the effectiveness of the BSC. One (top-down) and two-way (allow subordinate to respond) communication may be will make significant difference. Communication is very important, since it can improve the understanding and enhanced the teamwork to achieve the goal and objective of the company.
BSC combining the traditional performance measurement that focuses on financial perspective with non-financial perspectives. Nowadays, businesses has turned their head to consumer and innovation oriented which will make the non-financial perspectives as important as financial perspective. Next, this study examines the performance measures used by Singapore companies and find out which perspectives are considered very important.
Lastly, it will look to the respondent who stated that their companies are currently not using balance scorecard and observe the reasons why they are not adopting it. In the meantime, it would find out their preferred performance measurement and management tools while not using BSC.
Manoj Anand, B S Sahay, and Subhashish Saha (2005), had a research on performance measurements that focuses on balanced scorecard. Their objectives was to identify the extent of usage of Balanced Scorecard by corporate India and whether they use the four perspectives in Kaplan and Norton’s (1992) framework. They also like to find out the key performance indicators for each perspective and evaluate the performance of the balanced scorecard as a management tool.
Manoj Anand et al. (2005) conducted a nationwide questionnaire-based survey including the major corporate in India. Their finding indicated that the Balanced Scorecard adoption rate was 45.28 per cent in corporate India with different motivation in the implementation of balanced scorecard including Initiating the change process in the organization, broadening of the performance measures and facilitating the integration of business plans with the financial plans. From all the perspective, financial and customers’ perspective topped the list with return on investment ratio and customer’s satisfaction for quality as the key indicator respectively. Most respondent cited that the implementation of balanced scorecard has led to cost reduction within organization.
Gerhard Speckbacher, Jurgen Bischof and Thomas Pfeiffer (2003) analyze the spread, implementation and benefits of different types of balanced scorecards. The research was on the most important publicly traded firms in German, Austria and Switzerland.
From the total sample taken from the three countries, only 26 percent companies are using BSC and only 7 percent of the firms have fully developed BSC. The size of the firm has a positive relationship with the implementation of BSC. 8 percent of the firms had used BSC but then discontinued as they felt it could not offer benefits beyond existing performance management system.
Christopher D. Ittner, David F. Larcker and Marshall W. Meyer (2003), examine how different types of performance measures were weighted in a subjective balanced scorecard bonus plan adopted by a major financial services firm. Their hypotheses on the weights placed on different type of measure indicating that “subjectivity” factor will make the scorecard “unbalanced” as most of the weight placed on the financial measures. This will lead the superiors to choose irrelevant criteria for predicting future performance and desired results. High level of subjectivity in Balanced Scorecard will lead to favoritism in determining bonus and rewards. Their analysis shows that implementation issues are may be far more important than scorecard’s technical attributes in influencing the success or failure of the balanced scorecard.
Kittiya Yongvanich and James Guthrie (2007), proposing a study about the usage of balanced scorecard among Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) listed companies, effects on financial performance and perceived gained. They classified the balanced scorecard into three categories with the first is the basic function of BSC and the third category is the most integrated and advanced BSC.
Kittiya Yongvanich et al (2007) had a 34 percent respond from the questionnaire that they mailed to the companies. The result of the study shows that most of the companies use the four perspectives and they use it in the way that Kaplan and Norton (2001) suggested. The usages of different type of BSC have no significant difference, it include the benefits gained and satisfaction level. The employment of cause and effect relationship is around 33 percent of the corresponding companies. Finally, the study found that the three types of BSC have no significant difference in term of impact and satisfaction level of financial performance.
Jamshed Mistry and Balgobin Nandram (2005), study the relevance of non-financial measures in representing the strategic alignment and firm performance in eCommerce environment context. A set of 11 financial and non-financial metrics are used in a Latent Class model to rank-order a set of eCommerce companies into clusters of best and worse performing companies and the validity of these clusters is first established. Information from the brief case histories of the companies that remained active, clearly underscore the importance of the customer-centric and innovation dimensions for eCommerce companies. They found that technology, continuous innovation and offering personalized service to customer are necessary to stay competitive in eCommerce environment. From their analysis of three companies that went bankrupt, internal process play a major part in the failure including speed, quality and responsiveness to the customer.
Dennis Campbell, Srikant Datar, Susan Kulp, and V.G. Narayanan (2002) wrote a paper about how a performance measurement system can be used to evaluate its operating strategy, identify potential problems with its strategy and devise plans to mitigate these problems. The research conducted on Store24, which is a privately held and major convenient store retailer in New England.
Statistical analysis has been done to test the relationship identified in Store24 balanced scorecard in order to learn the benefits and weaknesses of the differentiation strategy. The outcome shows that there is no significant relationship between differentiation implementation and financial performance. It also reveal the result of the strategy differed among the stores with crew skills as the key factors. Dennis Campbell et al (2002) showed that balanced scorecard could be used not only to communicate strategy and measuring performance, but also to test strategy performance.
Ben K. Agyei-Mensah (2010) was aware that the business environment has changed while the importance of non-financial perspective catches up with financial perspective, then understanding the firm’s performance become essential. The author investigates how to implement balanced scorecard and Economic Value Added (EVA) in a small sized financial services company to improve its performance. Implementing the two performance measures can be difficult task because it means putting the firm in a transformational stage. Ben K. Agyei-Mensah found that from nine out of ten cases, communication failures are the key in the way of implementing balanced scorecard. The failure key factors are lack of understanding of the proposed transformation for change, lack of trust to the management who responsible for the change and self-interest of the employees about the job safety issues.
Mary A. Malina and Frank H. Selto (2001) study the effectiveness of balanced scorecard as a management control and strategy communication device. The study offers a model of control and communication applicable to the BSC. Archival data and empirical interview is used to assess the control and communication effectiveness of the BSC. The researcher got the interview data via telephone from the respective managers and distributors from U.S Fortune 500 companies. The findings are that the managers respond positively to BSC measures that improve their performance by reorganizing their resources and activities. More importantly, the managers believe that improving BSC will lead to improve their business efficiency and profitability and react favorably to BSC as comprehensive measure of performance that reflects the needs of effective management. Communication still one of the obstacles in the way of BSC implementation, because mostly they only have one-way communication (top-down). The authors suggest to improve dialogue within the firms (two-way communication) as a possible solution.
Alexandros Garefalakis et al. (2009) wrote about implementation of balanced scorecard for Gas Company of Greece which has an obsoletes performance measurement system. The author’s aim is to develop a more comprehensive and efficient procedures through which the managers can develop future strategies and goal. For analysis, the authors obtained the data from interviews and questionnaire. The necessary point in their finding is that focus on customer, financial and rearrangement of internal processes play a major part in development of the company, while people, tangible and intangible knowledge will be a good support for the company.
A research conducted by Teemu Malmi (2001) aimed to find out the reason why companies in Finland adopt BSC and how they applied it. The data used for analysis taken from semi-structured interviews of seventeen organizations in Finland. The finding shows that BSC used in two different ways, firstly it used as management by objectives, secondly it used as a mere information system. Further research show signs that companies do not fully understand to use the cause-effect relationship in balanced scorecard.
This paper focuses on three main questions, which is inspired by the past research. Firstly, it will address the problem that the company has been facing while the implementation of the balanced scorecard. Secondly, it will find out if certain factors may influence the effectiveness of the BSC. Lastly is to determine the performance measures used by the companies.
In order to fulfill the objective of this paper, data analysis is pretty important, but it will not be enough to just answer without evidence. Then, inference test will be used to generate evidence such as t-test, ANOVA.
A survey-based research has been chosen to generate necessary data to support the analysis about BSC. The questionnaire developed for this study mainly came from the prior researches. Then, the questionnaire distributed to the companies through e-mail.
The early questions will require the respondent to describe which firm they are working at, then the question will ask whether the respondents are aware about BSC and also the statement if their company is currently using BSC, followed by how long the company has been using it. Question 4 and 5 directing the respondent to continue to question 9 to 10 if the answer is his/her companies are not using BSC and continue the survey until question 8 if their company is currently using the balanced scorecard
The next questions will go deeper to the internal of the companies. The information of officials involved in the BSC implementation will be very useful since every official will make an impact in the effectiveness of the BSC, especially the top and middle manager. BSC described by Kaplan & Norton uses four perspectives, according to Manoj Anand et al. (2005) research, companies has developed and put additional perspective into their scorecard since the importance of the perspective to every firm in a particular industry will be different.
The next questions will require the respondent to give ratings on the multiple choices. The problems while implementation of BSC will be reviewed, this is consistent with Christopher D. Ittner et al (2003) who stated that implementation issues is very important to the success or failure of the BSC.
Subsequently, the respondent will be asked to rate the performance measures used based on their companies’ practices. This will reflect how the company has used different perspectives according to how important these measures for them. It also used to compare the importance between financial and non-financial measures used by the companies. Manoj Anand et al. (2005) stated that the team’s finding was financial measures still topped the lists followed by customer perspectives.
Then, the next question inspired by Mary A. Malina et al (2001) research about the effectiveness of BSC for the firm. It will require the respondent to conclude either the balanced scorecard that they have been developed and used by the company has brought effective or ineffective impact to the company as a whole.
Reviewing Mary A. Malina et al (2001) which stated that the way the firm communicate their balanced scorecard objective to their members will affect the effectiveness of the BSC performance. The question asks if the firm use one or two-way communication among the staff of the company while implementing the BSC.
The two last questions dedicated to those companies who are not currently using BSC. The reason for not adopting will be a big question here and if they ever consider to implement BSC, multiple choices including the possible answers are provided with additional space if they have specified answer.
The data collected will be assessed with inferential analysis to look for answer of the main questions and objectives of this paper. Descriptive analysis will help to give a clearer picture of the data.
One-way ANOVA analysis will be used to find out if there are significant differences in the rating of multiple choices of problems faced by the firms.
H0 = There is no significant differences in the rating of problems faced by the firms
H1 = There is significant differences in the rating of problems faced by the firms
The sum of squares between groups (SSB)
The sum of squares within groups (SSW)
The sum of squares total (SST)
A follow up test using Tukey’s range test to identify whether there are problems that stand out or much more challenging than the other, with the higher means shows the most challenging problems.
H0 = all the means are equal
H1 = at least 1 mean are not equal
Further use of ANOVA and Tukey’ range test are for similar purpose, will be carried out for benefits that the firm gain by implementing BSC and the important measures used by the firm.
Two-sample t-test is used to determine whether one or two-way communication among the staff of the company will make significant difference to the effectiveness of the balance scorecard.
H0 = There is no significant difference between one and two-way communication
H1 = There is significant difference between one and two-way communication
Lastly, this paper likes to find out if there is a correlation between the staff level involvement with the effectiveness of BSC. Correlation coefficient is going to be used to assess the data.
H0 = 0
H1 = 0
Sample coefficient of correlation (r)
T-test for correlation
Tukey-Kramer method for unequal sample size
This paper analyzes Singapore companies by distributing the questionnaire to the companies and the data collection depends on the respondent only. Therefore, everything that the respondent says in the questionnaire is deemed to be the truth.
BSC Usage in Singapore
From a 150 questionnaire that had been distributed through email, 64 feedbacks have been obtained from the respondents, showing 42.6 percent response rate. Then, on 64 respondents, 27 of them confirmed that their companies are not using the balance scorecard, leaving 37 of them are using it. According to respondent feedback, the adoption rate of BSC is 57.8 percent, which is quite high compared to Manoj Anand et al. (2005) findings of 45.28 percent in India and Kittiya Yongvanich et al (2007) around 40 percent in Thailand.
Many firms tried to implement BSC, some of them had implemented it and according to Kittiya Yongvanich et al (2007) findings, some of them decided not to implement. Despite the number of companies who has successfully implemented it, they need to overcome the implementation issues first. The implementation issues is critical for implementing BSC, Christopher D. Ittner (2003) stated that implementation issues are may be more important than technical attributes toward the success or failure of BSC.
Table 1. Implementation Issues
Anova: Single Factor
1. Difficulties to cascade the idea/strategy within the company
2. Assign weighting for different perspectives
3. Developing goals, objectives and strategies
4. Lack of resources (time & finances)
5. Developing cause-effect relationship between perspectives
6. Lack of employee & middle manager support
Source of Variation
*Rating based on scale 1 to 5, with 5 is most challenging
Table 1 shows the data summary about implementation issues, the score is based on the degree of challenge rating. ANOVA has been done in order to find out if there is significant difference in the degree of challenge among the issues. Since the F-test result with 95 percent confidence level is greater than the critical value, the H0 need to be rejected which imply that there is significant difference among the issues.
Table 2. The (q) Value of Tukey’s Range Test
1-6 = Issues in respective order
c.v = 4.10
* = Significant Difference
Tukey’s range test result shows that not all the means are equal, then the significance difference among the issues is located. With the aid of table 2, the most significant difference is between 1 and 3, which is explaining that difficulties to cascade the idea/strategy within the company is the most challenging issues in implementing the BSC (greater mean), while developing goals, objectives and strategies is the least challenging.
Table 3. Implementation Issues (Rearranged*)
1. Difficulties in cascading the idea/strategy within the company
2. Assign weighting to different perspectives
3. Developing cause-effect relationship between perspectives
4. Lack of subordinates support
5. Lack of resources (time & finances)
6. Developing goals, objectives and strategies
*Arranged from most to least challenging
Difficulties in cascading the strategy, most probably experienced by the big firms in term of number of employees. It even worse for the MNCs, where the managers and employees are scattered geographically, which hamper the communication among the staff. Then it followed by assigning weightage to different perspective, which is similar to Manoj Anand et al. (2005) who found that assigning weightage to different perspective is also one of the most important problems in India.
Developing cause and effect relationship is quite challenging problem in implementation, it is difficult to link non-financial and financial measures since the time the “effect” will prevail is uncertain. This is also aligned with Kittiya Yongvanich et al (2007) who found that only around 33 percent of the respondents were employing cause and effect relationship. Lack of subordinates support can be very troublesome because a firm need teamwork from many hierarchical levels to be successfully implemented. Lack of resources probably experienced by small size firms where a single hiring is count and costly for them. Surprisingly, the survey found that developing goals, objectives and strategies is the least challenging for companies.
Effectiveness of BSC
The level of staff involvement may be influencing the BSC effectiveness as a management tool. Since, more people in hierarchical order involved, the more teamwork can be performed to achieve the objective.
Table 4. The effectiveness of BSC according to staff involvement
Anova: Single Factor
1. Executive Officers (top managers) only
2. Executive Officers + Manager (middle)
3. Executive Officers + Manager (middle) and supervisor (and/or frontline staff)
Source of Variation
Error! Not a valid link.The result of ANOVA test with 95 percent confident level found that there is significant difference among the group of staff involvement. Then a follow up test is conducted, Tukey-Kramer method is used because the sample sizes are not equal. The result can be seen in table 5 where group 1 has significant difference to group 2 and 3, which means that companies who only involve executive officers has a lower effectiveness compared to the companies who involve middle manager and supervisor in BSC implementation. There is no significant difference between group 2 and 3, which convey the importance of middle manager involvement to boost the effectiveness of BSC. It could be because middle managers’ roles are like a bridge between the top managers who set the goals and objectives and the people who actually do the everyday activities to achieve it. Based on this result, it can be seen that subordinates support play a big role to the effectiveness of balance scorecard. Furthermore, enhanced teamwork will make it easier and faster for the firm to achieve its goals and objectives.
Table 5. Tukey-Kramer Method
1 vs 2
1 vs 3
2 vs 3
Alpha = 0.05
The way the firm communicate the BSC ideas within the company also may influence the effectiveness of BSC it self. According to Mary A. Malina et al (2001), communication is one of the hurdles to implement BSC and stated that two-way communication (when subordinates allowed to give response) could be solution for the problem.
Table 6. The effectiveness of BSC according to communication
Two way communication
(Allow subordinate to respond)
Hypothesized Mean Difference
t Critical one-tail
t Critical two-tail
Alpha 0.025 (two-tailed)
T-test in table 6 indicates that there is a significant difference between one and two-way communication. The result implies that two-way communication scores a greater rating of effectiveness in implementing BSC. Once again, teamwork is important in order to implement BSC effectively. One-way communication (top-down hierarchically) is just the superior setting goal and giving order to subordinate to carry out the strategy, the teamwork could be little between them. Meanwhile, two-way communication would allow the subordinates to respond, giving feedback and suggestion, which will be very helpful to the decision makers to evaluate and/or reconstruct the strategy to be appropriate with a particular condition. Moreover, two-way communication also allowed the employees to improve the understanding about the BSC by discussing the goals and strategy with their superior, therefore with a better understanding, they can achieve a better performance result and improve the effectiveness of the BSC itself.
Table 7. BSC Performance Measures Ratings
Anova: Single Factor
1. Financial Measures
2. Cost Measures
3. Customers Measures
4. Innovation Measures
5. Quality Measures
6. Human Resource Measures on Employees
7. Operational Measures
Source of Variation
Table 7 shows the data according to the rating shows the importance of the particular measures to the respective companies. The ANOVA test result point towards rejecting the null hypothesis, which is not all means are equal.
Table 8. Tukey’s Range Test Method
c.v = 4.46
* Significant Difference
Tukey’s Range test is conducted to locate the significant difference, the result tabulated in Table 8. Based on result, financial measure (group 1) is still by far more important than the rest, make it the main concern of majority companies, since it has significant difference to the rest of the measures. The other significant differences are between 2vs4, 4vs5 and 4vs7, although the (q) values are very close to the critical value.
Table 9. Performance Measures (Rearranged*)
1. Financial Measure
2. Operational Measure
3. Cost Measure
4. Quality Measure
5. Customers Measure
6. Human Measure
7. Innovation Measure
*Arranged from most important to the least
After the performance Measures tabulated to table 9, operational measure is at the second place followed very closely by cost and quality measures. Operational measures sit at second place illustrates the business environment in Singapore where service-based businesses plays a major part in the economy, therefore on-time delivery and transaction processes could be the very important measures. Quality measures such as keeping track on customer complaint is very crucial for service-based businesses. Surprisingly, innovation measure is the least important according to the data collected, it most probably because most businesses are serviced based, unlike manufacturing that require product innovation in order to sustain competitive advantage in the market.
Reasons for not adopting
27 out of 64 respondent (42%) affirmed that the company they currently working are not adopting BSC. The most common reasons from the respondents are insufficient benefits to justify the cost and effort followed by confusing and complicated which is logical, because BSC is a complex system that comprises most of business aspects, it will take time and manpower to design and prepare it to run. Too time consuming is understandable since changing the running system of a company could take months or years. Does not have enough staff most probably associated with small size companies in term of number of employees where additional hiring is not economical to the firm’s balance sheet.
Table 10. Reasons to not adopt BSC
1. Insufficient benefits to justify the cost and effort
2. Confusing & Complicated
3. Too time consuming
4. Does not have enough staff
5. Lack of well defined vision/strategy
Companies, which are not adopting balance scorecard, have a different ways to measure their performance and define strategic decision. Financial ratios such as ROI, Residual Income, operating profit margin and EVA are still the primary choice to take place as a performance measurement system while Total Quality Management also among the favorite as a management tool.
This paper provides evidence regarding the BSC implementation among Singapore firms. The survey had a (64 respondent) 42.6 percent response rate with (37) 57.8 percent of the companies are currently using Balanced Scorecard, a favorable comparison to Manoj Anand et al. (2005) findings of 45.28 percent in India and Kittiya Yongvanich et al (2007) around 40 percent in Thailand.
Difficulties in cascading the idea/strategy within the company sits as a primary issues and it will tend to get worse for MNCs who has their employees scattered geographicly. Assigning weighting into different perspectives and developing cause-effect relationship (between perspectives) are the following major problem during implementation stage of BSC.
Level of staff involvement proofed to be an influence to the effectiveness of BSC. The test result indicate that middle managers involvement is very important to improve the effectiveness of BSC, since they are the one who linked the strategic decision makers with the employee who literally work in everyday basis to achieve the goal. The way that the companies communicate BSC strategy or ideas will also affecting the effectiveness of BSC. The result shows that two-way communication, which allows the subordinate to respond, enhanced the effectiveness of BSC. This is may be because interactive communication increases the understanding and teamwork among the employees.
A financial performance measure still sits at the top of the list, making it the most important measure. Operational, cost and quality measures are the next main measures used by Singapore firms.
The reasons for not adopting BSC is vary, but insufficient benefits to justify the cost and effort is the most common reason for Singapore firms to not adopting BSC. While, too much time consumed and confusing/complicated are very understandable reasons for every single firm. In the mean time, financial ratios such as ROI and operating profit are still preferable because those are easy to use.
Due to limited resources are accessible by this research, generalizing the outcome need to be reexamined closely. Future study may provide more accurate data and result with more reliable resources and larger sample.
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