Welcome to the Digital Age, where data is digitally stored. The accuracy of data relies strongly on how well it has been entered into the computer. Data entry specialists input large volumes of data into computers for its easy access, safety, and for future reference. The same applies in the case of startups. Startups need to focus on data entry, as it is crucial to the decisions that will be made regarding the growth of the business.
Speed is essential to keep up to date with the volume of data, and to reduce the backlog of unaccounted data. However, speed should not be the key focus, since maximum accuracy is what is desired. Errors in data entry arise mostly due to pressure on the data entry professional to meet strict deadlines. Small inaccuracies in data entry can have a snowballing, detrimental effect on key decisions from the management. Decisions made on the premise of false data can reduce the company’s overall revenue, or affect its expansion plans.
Data inaccuracy is highly detrimental to every establishment, and especially to startups who are struggling to find their footing and maintain their hold in the industry. To sustain the integrity of the data available to startups, there are a few basic methods that can be adopted to optimize the data entry process. Some are listed below.
1. Mark out the root cause of inaccuracies
A long term solution to any problem has to first find the source of the problem. You will need to discover where the majority of the data errors occur. The data entry and data management process has different points where the error can be introduced - it could occur at the point of entering the data, or as it is moved from one storage device to another.
When the weak link is identified, accuracy can be restored to the system. The source of errors in data accuracy can be internal or external; and these have been grouped into three primary sources, namely data movement, data decay, and incorrect values.
2. Establish reasonable and achievable targets
The goals and objectives of any establishment should be written out. The management holds the responsibility of identifying the capabilities of staff. By efficient communication and interaction, the management should be able to control the number of tasks each staff member can handle and avoid overloading them. A close-knit relationship between the management and the staff will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Try this and see the difference for yourself!
3. Strike a balance between speed and accuracy
Speed and accuracy are the two relevant features in data entry. Investing too much in one ruins the other. It is up to the organization to decide what level of speed and accuracy is required. Whether your business is classed as large or small, you may face a similar problem when it comes to dealing with speed and accuracy. Businesses that figure out an efficient way of dealing with this problem tend to stay above their competitors. The management should refrain from handing stiff deadlines to employees as this can adversely affect their accuracy. One way this problem can be taken care of is by outsourcing the data entry process to a reliable data entry company.
4. Set the data entry accuracy rate for your business
It may be unrealistic to achieve 100% accuracy, especially when you are constrained by time. However, a company can set its acceptable data entry accuracy rate. This is calculated as a percentage of total data entry. Irrespective of the accuracy rate you choose for your organization, the result should be consistent and verified regularly. Data entry accuracy can be verified through different means, including double key data entry verification, sight verification, program edits, field validation, and post-processing reports, among others.
5. Upgrade to the use of software
The process of data entry is becoming simpler with the development of advanced software that can capture data directly from the source, thereby reducing the amount of errors arising from data input. Some of the software can drastically reduce the workload of your employees which invariably increases their productivity. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is one of many data entry software that can convert image-based text into editable, plain text.
6. Make provision for data review
A business that relies on data entry should have a system wherein all the data is passed under a second eye before being finalized into the system. Trying to maintain speed and accuracy can be a difficult task. The second eye (reviewer) will be able to spot such errors while checking for accuracy.
7. Perform data profiling
Data archaeology or data profiling is the process whereby data is analyzed for correctness, completeness, consistency, reasonability, and uniqueness. Data completeness and correctness is a serious problem plaguing most big and small businesses. A recent study by Netprospex revealed that 72 percent of industry information is missing, while 35 – 50 percent of data records are not complete. The quality of a business’ data is judged based on the main elements including legibility, accuracy, accessibility, relevance, timeliness, and completeness.
8. Train employees about the importance of their work
Every employee in an organization should receive training, and be made aware of how their contribution is aiding the overall success of the business. When employees are not sure of the impact of their contribution, they tend to display lackluster attitudes towards their job. As a continuous process, the data entry team should be kept abreast of the latest innovations in the field pertaining to ideas that help make the process easier and faster.
9. Provide a comfortable workspace and a friendly work environment
The better the workspace and work environment, the more relaxed your employees will be, and this will reflect in their work. The work environment should be ergonomically designed. Employees should be given adequate breaks during the day to help them refresh their mind. A healthy mind will be sharper and better equipped to stay focused for a longer time. The office environment should feel like a home away from home.
10. Obtain data from reliable sources alone
There are times when the source of the error does not come from employees, but from the source of the data itself. The source of internal and external data should be scrutinized to make sure they are accurate and complete. When particular data can be sourced from more than one place, the business is encouraged to use both and try to compare them. The biggest problem of getting altered data is that irrespective of how much time the data entry team has put into it, the result will remain unreliable. Business decisions made on this premise are bound to run into problems sooner or later.
11. Review your process regularly
Irrespective of how good your current process is, there is always room for improvement. Startup businesses should have a flexible system which offers regular tune-ups. These can identify the areas where the data entry team is lagging behind, and where the most errors occur. This can help you to find simple but innovative solutions to existing problems.
The use of software in the data entry and analysis process of any business is paramount, especially in this era where digitalization is highly emphasized. Also, some of the software has built-in error detection mechanisms. These error detection features make software indispensable.
What are your views about the data entry process? Do you experience similar issues at your startup? How do you deal with it? Which other ways do you think startups can employ to increase data entry accuracy? Please let us know in the comments section below, and we would proudly share it with others. Write to us now!