Designing the Balanced Scorecard in MS Excel. How to create Excel-based KPI.

We get the same question almost every day: “How can I build a Balanced Scorecard in MS Excel?”
We thought about creating a tutorial to explain everything you’d need to know: the basics of Excel, creating formulas, formatting cells… Then we realized, we’d need to create an hour-long video manual.

So instead, we decided on a simpler solution.  We’ll show you how to get a Balanced Scorecard set up in Excel in just two minutes—without all that effort!
Here’s what you need to do:

1) Visit our website, www.BSCdesigner.com.  Go to the Download section.  And download the free trial version of BSC Designer Pro.

2) Install and run the software.  Use the “Add Category” button on the toolbar to create the basic structure of your scorecard, and the “Add Indicator” button to create the Key Performance Indicators which will monitor your business performance in each category.  You can even create sub-categories, for a multi-level scorecard.  With just a few clicks, you can create a complete Balanced Scorecard like this.

3) Open the “Reports” menu, and click on “Export to MS Excel.”  BSC Designer asks if you’d like to create a performance-based report, or a progress-based report.  For now, just choose the default option.

4) Click OK, and you’re done!   Your scorecard is exported into MS Excel.

Notice that this is not just a simple text export.  On the contrary, these cells include all the formulas you need.  If you change the value in one cell, all the related cells will be updated automatically.

For instance, if I change my value for one group’s performance, you can see, my company’s total performance is updated accordingly.  You can even change the relative weight of an indicator, to increase or decrease its role in your scorecard’s overall value.

Right here at the top, you’ll even see a summary of all of your top-level categories, your business’s performance in each one, and the total performance of your whole scorecard.
And how long did it take to set this up?  Less than two minutes!

Still, there is room for improvement.

Using a Balanced Scorecard in Excel is handy, because most computers already have Excel or some other spreadsheet installed.  The problem is, scorecards in spreadsheets are hard to manage, hard to update, and hard to share.
Imagine if you need to add a new indicator, or a new sub-category!  You’d need to have advanced knowledge of MS Excel.  And what if you need to share the values of some of your indicators with your colleagues?  It’s possible, but it’s certainly not practical.  MS Excel isn’t Balanced Scorecard software; this is not what it was designed for.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that won’t cost you anything.  Just try our freeware edition, BSC Designer Light.  Its functionality is limited, but it will allow you to design, update, and share your Balanced Scorecard.  It’s an easy way to get started using the Balanced Scorecard, and it’s a perfect solution for beginners and small companies.
For a more powerful solution, consider BSC Designer Standard.  Instead of only using a Balanced Scorecard to measure the current state of your business, our Standard edition allows you to track your business performance through time.  Analyze the historical value of your indicators.  Plan for the future.  Specify baseline and target values, and measure your progress toward your goals.

And BSC Designer PRO gives you even more functionality.  Customize the performance formulas for your Key Performance Indicators.  Import and delegate indicators from one level of your organization to another, so your whole team can work together more effectively.  You can even generate strategy maps, diagrams, and reports, so you can plan your business goals and share your progress with investors and other stakeholders.

So, should you build your scorecard in Excel, or use BSC Designer software?  Here’s our recommendation.
Start with MS Excel, or with our freeware edition, BSC Designer Light.  Get used to working with the Balanced Scorecard.  See how it works, how it can help your company, and what automation tools you might need.
Then, once you understand your needs, upgrade to BSC Designer Standard or BSC Designer PRO.  If you decide to use BSC Designer Standard, you can always upgrade to BSC Designer PRO later on.

In our experience, once people start using the Balanced Scorecard in Excel, they upgrade to our BSC Designer software in one to two months.  So, we look forward to seeing you among our customers a month or two from now!
If you need any help getting started, we’re ready to assist you at www.BSCdesigner.com.