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Home | Blog | Data Entry Best Practices All Businesses Should Know

Data Entry Best Practices All Businesses Should Know

By Lorraine O.

Updated on April 30, 2024

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Quality and comprehensive data is the game’s name for data entry. There are many reasons why data quality is important, may it be in our daily lives or businesses. The goal here is always to get accurate data, as this information is essential in creating strategic business decisions. You could prevent data entry errors from occurring and achieve excellent and valid data by incorporating the data entry best practices during the data entry processes.

 

Keep reading as we’ll show you data entry best practices and how they can help your business achieve its goals.

 

Understanding the Importance of Data Entry Best Practices

 

Data entry, the seemingly simple task of transferring information into a digital format, forms the foundation of any data-driven organization. While it may appear straightforward, maintaining accuracy and consistency can be challenging, especially when dealing with large volumes of diverse data.

Errors can creep in due to human oversight, inconsistencies in formatting, and lack of standardized procedures. These errors can have significant downstream consequences, such as:

 

  • Misinformed decision-making: Inaccurate data can lead to flawed interpretations and misguided business decisions. For example, skewed sales figures might influence incorrect product stocking or marketing strategies.
  • Inefficient operations: Errors in customer data can disrupt order fulfillment, billing, and communication, hindering operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Compliance risks: In industries with strict data regulations, inaccurate information can lead to hefty fines and reputational damage.

 

Therefore, implementing data entry best practices is not just a matter of maintaining tidiness; it’s a strategic investment in ensuring the integrity of your data, streamlining processes, and, ultimately, safeguarding your business growth.

 

Best Practices for Data Entry

 

In doing data entry tasks, you must know how to produce accurate data. With this, here are some of the data entry best practices for a more effective process:

 

Organize Data Efficiently

A good data entry always starts with well-structured data. Imagine the information you gathered is disorganized or not in the standard formatting. It may result in errors as the agent may find it difficult to read or understand. One way to get accurate data is by knowing how to organize data collection. Prevent having data that are not properly arranged. Sort it into different fields or categories when collecting. Ensure that it is complete and well-formatted based on your needs. Establishing a pattern before entering the data may also help reduce errors.

 

Keep a Data Entry Log

Running a data management process is also knowing that a data entry log is important. They should note all necessary instances. It includes missing, inaccurate, unclear data, errors, and difficulties they encountered during the process. A data entry log can be used sooner or later as a tool to observe the areas for improvement. This way, you can prevent the same mistakes from occurring in the future.

 

Establish Goals and Standards for Data Entry

One of the most important data entry best practices is to have accuracy goals and standards. It should be based on the business’ expectations before starting the data entry process. It should be compatible with the type of data entry project. Different projects may require a unique level of data accuracy.

Every organization has its own different set of data entry standards and best practices. Some have higher demands than others. These enable businesses to guide the agents accordingly. It may also help them be familiar with the direction they need to take and the important things they must comply with as they continue the process. 

But you should not only set data accuracy goals and standards. It is also a must to implement these and continuously monitor them. In addition, it should also be up to date, depending on the things that need improvement and the requirements.

 

Leverage Labels and Descriptors

It would be better if the agents, if possible and applicable, create a label for each type of data per row or column, indicating what it is exactly, where it came from, and how it was gathered. You can use these labels and descriptors by putting additional information like the source, date, version of the data, and such.

Make Use of Automation in Data Entry

Businesses doing data entry management processes might supplement automated data entry systems when they have higher volumes of projects. Why not make use of the growing trend in data entry technology anyway? Make the most out of it, as automation helps minimize the costs. It also helps ensure rapid processing of the increasing amount of data. 

But remember that you still need actual people to achieve and increase the accuracy of data, as the absence of a human interface may create additional errors. Even automated data validation or correction programs may sometimes be inefficient in determining some errors. You can’t always rely completely on automated systems and programs, but you can use them for faster turnaround time. It could also lessen the burden on your people. 

 

Detect the Errors Early

What better way to prevent data entry mistakes than tracking the errors and their source early? This technique is one of the best data entry practices that can help you save time and cost, as errors detected late will cost another chunk of your time in re-inputting and checking, or worse, it could delay the completion of the project. It may also cause a huge backlash as even the littlest mistake could lead to wrong business transactions, which could affect the business’s reputation. Remember that a good data management process ensures errors are tracked as early as possible. 

 

Use Manual Data Entry Methods Sparingly

Indeed, automated programs and systems can rapidly process much data. But the accuracy is what we are talking about here. These do not always guarantee high accuracy of data entry, especially if not regularly updated. It is still best to partner it sparingly with manual data entry. 

According to a study by Bloomberg, 27.5% of companies have incorrect data manually input into their system because of various human errors. These cause mistakes like in accounting. But most companies still prefer to have light manual data entry methods than shifting to a hundred percent automation, as humans can detect and follow patterns. They know the goals and standards required for a specific project.

Also, manual error detection may be combined with automated ones to achieve higher data accuracy. These are the very reasons why most data entry outsourcing service providers still choose to have manual practices and labor force sparingly. 

 

Double Key Entry Verification

Also called a two-pass verification system, this is one of the most reliable methods for achieving high data entry accuracy. This method is useful to correct random and miskeyed strokes. When the double verification process is in place, every inputted data passes the eyes of two different people. Through this, the data accuracy is enhanced as it also improves the tracking and removal of data entry errors

 

Data Validation

Ensuring that the data you submit is correct by validating or double-checking it is one of the best practices in data entry management. It helps save time, cost, and effort in fixing the mistakes from the initial output. There are data validation testing tools and techniques you can use for simple checking, such as Google Docs and Excel Files.

But, like data entry, this is also more efficient when done manually by an agent right after the data is inputted by the data entry clerk. You can still use these as partner tools for your people, especially when carrying large volumes of data.

Remember that you always need to be careful in creating and handling data, as it is one of the most important assets of a business. Even a single data entry error could make a drastic result, as data-driven business decisions can make or break companies.

Strict adherence to these data entry best practices even before starting to do data entry tasks can help ensure that you are taking the right path in the data management process. It will help you enhance the data accuracy and meet your management’s goals and standards. Keep in mind that quality data is one of the keys to making successful decisions for your business.

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      Author

      Data Entry Best Practices All Businesses Should Know

      Lorraine O.

      Lorraine, the creative force behind Magellan Solutions' content, is a seasoned writer with years of experience in the outsourcing industry. She stays up-to-date on new global outsourcing trends and ideas, bringing a fresh perspective to her writing. As a strategic collaborator, she enjoys turning complex outsourcing topics into clear, engaging stories that are easy to understand.

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