Data entry tasks tend to be low on the totem pole regarding business operational priorities. However, data entry is still one of the most critical day-to-day operations for companies across the industry. Everything from customer and sales data to financial information relies heavily on data entry, meaning a single error can have huge ramifications for your company.
Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid data input errors and promote accuracy to prevent them, and your company can more efficiently reduce entry errors and enhance data integrity across your enterprise., automate workflow or assist mobile transactions ensures the data entry does not get overlooked or forgotten.
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COMMON DATA ENTRY ERRORS
No matter how much your employees double-check their work, mistakes always slip through the cracks. Though your staff should understand the importance of accuracy for your company’s operational efficiency, fatigue or simple slip-ups can result in the occasional error. The most common of these mistakes are transcription and transposition errors:
• Transcription errors: These types of errors occur when information is input the wrong way and tends to be more common when transcribing words rather than numerical data. This kind of mistake includes typos, repetition and deletion. Transcription is an especially common problem when employees type quickly — if they hit the wrong key, it’s too easy for them not to notice. This kind of error is also common in word processing programs that automatically correct words within specific contexts, such as Microsoft Word.
• Transposition Errors: This type of mistake occurs when information is input in the wrong order and tends to happen when people type numbers rather than words. For example, instead of typing 123, the employee types 132. Again, this is a frequent error for employees who type too quickly to notice mistakes as they go.
Although most employees make these mistakes in good faith, their errors can still change strategies around your data; it’s more important than ever to reduce human error in data entry. Below, we’ve outlined how to avoid document input mistakes through managing your employees, as well as how to make data input faster and more efficient through process management.
1 .Preventing Errors Through Employee Management
Avoiding errors often comes down to the employees, as they are the ones usually making the mistakes. While you have to expect some mistakes now and then, significant errors should never be the norm within your company. Fortunately, your business can take some necessary steps to help make sure your employees are equipped to minimise the mistakes on their end.
2. Provide a Good Working Environment
Discomfort, fatigue and other factors can severely impair an employee’s ability to work accurately. Eyestrain can result in employees’ vision becoming impaired, while fatigue from muscle strain can lead to them pressing the wrong keys. To help combat these problems, your company should:
- Provide employees with comfortable and healthy space.
- Offer them regular breaks to refresh and reset before they return to work.
- Buy ergonomic chairs and wrist support to help reduce muscle fatigue.
3. Hire Sufficient Staff
The longer and more often you overwork employees, the more frequent those mistakes will be. In addition to causing problems for your company, this constant overload can make employees resentful, contributing to employee turnover. To keep everyone happy, keep enough people on staff to handle the amount of work the company needs to get done.
4. Prioritize Accuracy Over Speed
While speed is a good thing to emphasise to keep workflow going, accuracy is of more on accuracy as their primary objective by setting accuracy goals for your team. These should be realistic goals upon which managers base employee evaluations. Though work speed should also be evaluated, the majority of the focus should be on doing the job correctly if you want to foster a more accuracy-oriented work environment.
5. Use Software Tools
When possible, make the most of the software on hand. Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, among other similar software tools, helps reduce the amount of work for your data entry employees by automatically extracting data.
While this doesn’t get rid of their job entirely, it helps your employees by reducing their workload, reducing the chances for them to make mistakes and allowing them more time to read and analyse the data. Other useful software tools include automatic error reports, which can check the input data to make sure it fits specified parameters. For example, if an entered social security number falls short of the required nine digits, a pop-up on the system can alert the employee to the error so they can fix it immediately.
6. Double-Check Work
Reduce Data Entry Errors and Enhance the Data Integrity Through Process Management
While employees tend to be the primary perpetrators of mistakes, inefficient or redundant processes can be equally to blame. By streamlining your company processes, you can begin reducing human error in data entry.
7. Identify Primary Sources of Inaccuracies
One of the first steps to fixing your processes is identifying where the sticking points are. Look at data entry errors, statistics, and patterns to determine the primary internal and external sources of data inaccuracy. Finding these patterns can help point the sources of error, which you can then go about fixing with changes to either processes or management techniques.
8. Use Data Profiling
Data profiling, in essence, is the process of analysing data to make sure it is:
This type of analysis helps find defects in the presented data by sensing values that fall outside of an accepted range or established pattern. Data profiling programs identify these potentially incorrect values and keep them from flowing downstream by flagging them for review. This helps prevent companies from working with possibly incorrect data.
9. Reduce Data Redundancy
Entering information is a time-consuming process for your employees, so lessening the amount of useless data one need to input, can benefit them immensely. One of the best ways to do this is by regularly reviewing and revising your forms and documents to check that all the requested data is relevant and necessary for your business processes.
10. Standardize Processes
Standardizing both your data collection and data entry processes helps improve your overall accuracy and consistency. By maintaining standard procedures during operation, allow them to work both quickly and accurately. In addition to being helpful for your employees, standardisation is necessary if you’re looking to automate any of your data entry processes.
11. Enable Automation
Entering data manually is expensive in both labour and company resource allocation. Additionally, the monotony of the work makes it a highly error-prone job with a high turnover rate.
12. Regularly Update Automated Systems
If you do use an automated system, make sure you upgrade the system on a regular basis. Data harvesting and analytic functions are often updated by their programmers to fit current industry standards. Without these updates, automated programs are more likely to make mistakes or become vulnerable to viruses or malware. To avoid these problems, update your software whenever a new version comes out. At the very least, update your software when significant updates come out to fit new standards within your industry.
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