The balanced scorecard (BSC) is a management tool designed to improve the productivity of businesses. Developed in 1992 by Kaplan and Norton, it involves setting measurable objectives relating to customers, finances, internal processes, and innovation and learning. As these four areas are interlinked, improvements in one perspective should have a positive effect on the rest, as well as contributing to the achievement of the overall vision of the business. The BSC has proved popular with the large commercial organisations for which it was originally developed and has been used widely within diverse industry sectors. However, its application in small and medium enterprises has been limited, and there is little documented evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness in smaller businesses, and none for its application in veterinary practice. Here, Catherine Coates describes the concept of the BSC and uses a hypothetical veterinary practice to illustrate how it might be applied in veterinary practice.
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