Protect Your Business by Preventing Data Entry Mistakes
Data entry doesn't rank high on the list of most glamorous jobs, nor is it typically one of the most visible jobs if it's done right. Nevertheless, data entry is one of the most critical positions within a company, where even a small mistake could have significant, and long-term, consequences.
In 2010, Wall Street experienced a "flash crash" that deleted more than $1 trillion of investors' money. A simple error, adding a B instead of an M to a sale order, triggered a devastating ripple effect through the automated financial system. While the mistake was eventually fixed, it left a significant impression on investors.
While most data entry errors won't result in such massive consequences, even small mistakes can negatively affect an organisation's bottom line.
Here are a few ways you can help reduce and eliminate data entry errors:
- Hire enough staff
- Create a comfortable work environment
- Create a quality control process
- Choose a system that automatically stays up to date
- Identify problem areas
- Prioritise accuracy over speed
Hire enough staff
Ensure that you have enough people employed within the company to handle the workload. Data entry can be monotonous. It's easy for a finger to re-enter the same data twice or skip over a line entirely when there's a lot of information.
Having enough staff to spread out the work will help reduce errors, although this can pose a challenge for HR if there is a talent shortage. You can pressure staff with deadlines, but this is a short lived tactic and can lead to employee resentment or discontent. A viable option is automating your process to free up employees to focus on more important tasks.
Create a comfortable work environment
If your employees are happy and comfortable in the workplace, they'll take more pride in their work. Additionally, a good setup can make it much easier for your employees to stay focused. A few things you can do to create a productive environment are:
- Adequate lighting
- Provide bonuses for efficiency and accuracy
- Provide ergonomically, supportive, equipment
- Provide regular breaks (and encourage employees to get up and walk around)
Create a quality control process
Any data entry system needs quality control. The type of quality control you institute will depend on the needs of your organisation. Make double-checks a standard part of this process to help catch any errors during data entry as the repetitive nature of data entry makes it easy for mistakes to slip into systems. Creating standard practices and a quality control process is also an essential part of maintaining accuracy.
With an automated system, it is possible to manually check anything, allowing your system to learn from mistakes and improve performance.
Choose a system that automatically stays up to date
Opt for an automated system that updates automatically, especially with corrections. Using updated software tools can help alleviate some of the workloads from your employees and continuously improves ease of use. Additionally, make sure any automated systems are working on a computer protected against malware and antivirus.
Identify problem areas
Some of the most common errors to look out for include transcription errors (duplication or omission of words, names and numbers), transposition (switching letter or numbers), and inconsistent measurement formats (i.e. date, time, addresses). Train your process to pay particular attention to these potential errors so you can catch mistakes as you go.
Prioritise accuracy over speed
One of the most important things you can do to help reduce errors is to encourage accuracy over speed. It's easy to get caught up in typing information into a system quickly, therefore encourage employees to focus on accuracy over speed by maintaining a reasonable workload. An automated system allows you to have both speed and accuracy, while freeing up your employees for other tasks.
Simple mistakes can prove costly. Effectively managing data entry ensures a more streamlined strategy, resulting in better decision making. You can save time and money by utilising these tips to improve your data entry process.
If you're conscious about making data entry mistakes, we have a solution for you! Let's talk.