Quarterly Update – December 1997

Todd Herman

Balance is a desirable – but elusive – goal in life and business. In their book The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton describe a method to link measurements and strategic goals along four areas:

Improvements to the Learning and Growth of employees leads to improved Internal Processes, which yields higher Customer satisfaction, and ultimately produces improved Financial results.

I have begun to apply these concepts to my practice to track progress towards our strategic goals. Our Learning and Growth objectives and measures include:

  • Basic Curriculum – Percentage of firm members have completed the courses.
  • Continuing Education – Hours of CPA-level CPE achieved by firm members.

Objectives and measures for our Internal Processes include:

  • Maintaining Clients – Nonchargeable time spent developing client relationships.
  • Scheduling – Percentage of days in the upcoming month scheduled.
  • Preparing Engagement Letters – Percentage of engagement letters sent out on time.

In each process mentioned above, Lotus Notes enables us to share information and perform the process more quickly and efficiently.

These steps have been taken to ensure that we provide our Clients with High-Quality Service, Competitive Pricing, and Services Delivered Efficiently, and achieve our Financial goals.

From this experience, I found that:

  • Developing a balanced scorecard is surprisingly hard – No single step in the process is difficult, but much thought goes into determining what is truly important.
  • Coming up with appropriate measures can be tricky – Many measures needed on our balanced scorecard are newly devised.
  • Defining linkages is challenging – The linkages needed require you to validate many "cause and effect" relationships.

I believe this is a useful technique to apply to any business, because it:

  • Forces you to consider tradeoffs between short-term results and long-term growth.
  • Challenges you to link operating measures (such as cycle times) with those for outcome results (such as market share).
  • Establishes the context for other initiatives.

These concepts work equally well for a company or department. We helped a client construct a balanced scorecard so their Accounts Payable group could evaluate new processes and systems.

Even though pursuing balance is difficult, achieving balance never really happens – just when you think you have achieved balance, something will change this. But the balanced scorecard provides the framework to manage the change, and pursue balance once again.

Sincerely,

Todd L. Herman

Todd L. Herman


Client Project Update:

I am pleased to provide you with an update on our client projects. Projects we have completed over this period are...

Reviewed the Inventory Tracking and Recording for a Hosiery Manufacturer

Reviewed the inventory tracking and recording for a hosiery manufacturer, identifying procedural and systems issues affecting the accuracy of inventory information.

Implemented Key Portions of an Accounts Payable Module

Implemented key portions of the Accounts Payable, Purchasing, and General Ledger modules of an integrated financial suite, assisting the client with project management, integration, training, and process changes.

Installed Lotus Notes for an IBM AS/400 Business Partner

Installed Lotus Notes for an IBM AS/400 Business Partner, allowing this software company to share technical and marketing databases with its software partner.

Developed a Lotus Notes Travel Request Template

Developed a Lotus Notes travel requests template for a real estate company, allowing users to request flights, hotels, and cars from their Notes mail file, and automatically route requests to their travel agent.

Reviewed Salary and Staffing Information

Reviewed the salary and staffing information for key departments of a university, cleaning up data to prepare to implement a new budgeting system.

Future projects we are planning include...

Identify, Screen & Evaluate System Vendors

Identify, screen, and evaluate systems vendors for a hosiery manufacturer, helping the company replace legacy systems having significant, pervasive Year 2000 problems.

Purchasing, Accounts Payable, and General Ledger Implementation

Implement the remaining portions of the Purchasing, Accounts Payable, and General Ledger modules of a financial suite, assisting the client with process changes, project management, integration, and training.

Interview & Evaluate System Analyst Candidates

Interview and evaluate systems analyst candidates for a sock manufacturer, enabling the company to better handle a new system.

Track New Customer Programs

Design and develop a Lotus Notes database to track new customer programs for a printing company, allowing previously separate quote and order entry documents to be shared securely and to be easily tracked and updated.

Connect Job Sites & Regional Offices to Home Office

Evaluate and summarize options to connect job sites and regional offices to the home office of a janitorial services company, allowing top management to evaluate the costs and benefits of each option.

Send Product Information to Field Sales Representatives

Develop a Lotus Notes application to allow a paper products distributor to send product information to its field sales representatives, reducing the cost and increasing the timeliness of information distribution.