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Common Data Entry Errors and How to Reduce Them

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Data EntryAccurate data entry services are critical for any organization to manage data and carry out their business operations in a smooth way. Inaccurate data entry, whether while taking notes or when entering information into an Excel spreadsheet, leads to loss of time, wasted resources and even lost business and lawsuits. Data entry requires thorough attention to detail, as documents arrive in different formats and styles, with confidential details.

Recently a data entry error even resulted in Chapel Hill public housing being graded low and categorized under ‘Troubled Performer’ Public Housing Designation. The error came from a staff, who entered “one piece of key information in an incorrect box on the reporting form used in early reporting with unaudited numbers” that resulted in the Officials from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development including Chapel Hill in the “Troubled Performer” category of HUD rankings.

When it comes to manual data entry, the most common errors include the following.

Misspelling of names or other important information

“Tyron Rodney Jur” instead of “Tyron Rodney Jr”

Wrong date format while entering data in Excel

Name Birth Date Age
XYZ 15/05/1987
5/15/1987
May-15-87
5/16/1987

Data misinterpretation

Replacing the letter “O” with the number zero

Missing values

Name Birth Date
ABC NA
DEF 5/14/1987
FGH 5/15/1987
HLJ 5/16/1987
JKL 5/17/1987

Entering data in the wrong field

Name Birth Date Location
ABC 5/13/1987 NY
DEF 5/14/1987 AL
FGH 5/15/1987 CA
HLJ 5/16/1987 NY
JKL NY 5/17/1987

What can be done to reduce these errors?

  • Stringent quality checks – Double-checking the data entered helps in reducing errors and eliminates the need for re-entering the data. Regular checks will also help identify areas of improvement.
  • Train employees – Make sure to train them on the importance of the data they are handling and let them know the consequences of compromising any data. Ask them to focus more on accuracy than on speed.
  • Provide enough time and allow breaks – Even if your operators have good data entry skills and expertise, there are always chances of mistakes when they are loaded with a bunch of tasks. Provide a comfortable working environment and offer them regular breaks to refresh and reset before they return to work.
  • Update automated systems – If your firm relies on automated tools such as Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology for data collection or analysis, make sure to update those systems regularly. Also, protect automated systems against viruses and malware or it may result in errors.
  • Find the source of data inaccuracy – Check the data entry errors that occurred, statistics, and patterns to determine the primary internal and external sources of data inaccuracy. This helps to make necessary changes to both the processes as well as management techniques.
  • Consider outsourcingOutsourcing data entry and management tasks to an experienced data entry company will help businesses get the accurate data they are looking for, along with reduced operational costs, effective data management and secured processing.

Data entry outsourcing companies use the latest advanced software and have experienced data entry professionals to provide data entry in a simpler but more efficient way with better accuracy rate. While entering data in Excel, Data Validation feature can be used eliminate inappropriate data.

Read our next blog to learn more tips on how to reduce data entry errors in Excel.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.