Publication Details

Watts, T., Baard, V. & McNair, C. J. (2009). Untying the Gordian knot: small business and the strategy balance scorecard. Northeast Region AAA 2009 Conference (pp. 1-35). American Accounting Association: Cambridge, MA.


Research confirms that small business (SB) is important for the dynamics and stability of the economy; the size, composition, and quality of employment; and the socio-political structure worldwide. Given this significance it is surprising that SBs have not taken advantage of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). Research suggests it is because the BSC was designed for use in medium to large organizations and does not provide the correct “fit” for SBs. This paper 1) identifies performance dimensions applicable to SB, 2) develops a model, the Comprehensive Performance Management System (CPMS), which overcomes some of the major problems of previous measurement models, and 3) develops a proactive approach to continuous improvement by SB by making PMS-based information available and usable in planning and decision making. The result is one model of control that can be adapted to any organisation. The CPMS was modified to capture the characteristics of a service organization and tested using the USCGA. The results suggest that the CPMS can be used in both public and private service settings as well as “for profit” manufacturing organizations. A SB prototype of the CPMS was also developed. This Performance Measurement Pyramid for Small Business (PMPSB) is a contraction of the CPMS, reflecting the unique needs of SB.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Northeast Region AAA 2009 Conference