Data Entry Practices That Can Make a Difference
The most important and essential part of the entire data management process is data entry, i.e. keying in data in appropriate fields of a database. The quality of your data entry process decides how well you will be able to manage and make use of this valuable asset.
Why is Data Entry Done?
- To create a valid and organized set of data,
- To bring all the valuable information in a specified format,
- To make it easy to access and use.
And, inputting data in the best way requires partnering with a reliable data entry services provider who caters to the growing needs of businesses by digitizing data with utmost accuracy, while maintaining absolute data security.
Making your in-house team manually enter huge volume of data can divert its attention from core business activities. This is why companies prefer to Outsource Data Entry Services as it helps in better managing and organizing data, while keeping it current, correct, and consistent. Also the time and resources that are used in manual data entry, scanning, validation and approvals can be better utilized. With quick and easy access to data, business can operate efficiently, make strategic decisions, and plan for future marketing campaigns. In order to stand apart in today’s highly competitive business environment, an organization must have access to accurate and updated information.
Through this post, you will get to know about some significant practices with the help of which organizations can achieve their business goals by efficiently carrying out their data entry projects. An experienced and proficient Data Entry Outsourcing Company always implement these practices to ensure utmost accuracy of data.
- Make Sure Data Standards are in Sync
There should be certain standards for every data entry project that the operators should follow. These standards should be in accordance with the data entry project, the input sources of data, and the data entry system that is used.
- Data Validation
The second step in data entry is to check the entered data and make sure that it is error-free. Google Docs and Excel Files (Spreadsheet tools) allow the user to control the kind of information that is entered in the database. With the help of these tools, users can keep a check on what is being entered. The use of data entry form ensures more accurate data entry in comparison with spreadsheet.
- Storing Data in the Right Format
Once the task of data entry is done, it is important to make sure that it is stored in a format that can be easily accessed anywhere and anytime. Using a proprietary file format includes a risk of losing the data. There are some good non-proprietary formats which include Unicode, ASCII that are unencrypted, open, and uncompressed, making them a wiser option.
- Knowledge & Understanding of Common & Uncommon Errors
Data entry professionals should have enough knowledge to identify common and uncommon data entry errors. There are certain errors that are common and seen quite often in excel files as they are updated by different personnel.
- Columns not in correct order
- When it comes to name, location, and contact fields, inconsistencies can lead to confusion and make it hard to comprehend
- Unrelated information in one column
These errors should be corrected in first place so that they are not repeated again. Efficient data cleansing strategies can help in doing the needful.
- Data Uniformity
Making sure that the data is entered in a uniform way everywhere and the columns and rows are filled properly. Giving different names to different columns can make it easy to understand the data and update it. This also helps in easily analyzing and transferring the data.
- What to Do With the Missing Data?
Missing data in the datasets if not identified can lead to significant losses.
Following are the ways in which incomplete data can be treated:
- Leaving the field empty i.e. to assign a NULL or NO value to it is one way of doing it.
- For numeric field- if cannot assign other values, enter 9999(a distinct value) to indicate a missing number.
- For text field- use Not Available (NA) or Not Applicable in the missing field.
- To define the missing value data flags can be placed in a separate column.
When you are present with large amount of data, you can use automation for data entry. But when accuracy is to be ensured, manual validation is required.
Maintain a Log
It is important to keep a log when doing data entry. It can help you record the errors and inconsistencies you come across during the process. By recording the number of fields which have incomplete, repeated, and incorrect information, keeping a log can help in fine-tuning the data entry process.