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Common Types of Data Entry Errors & How to Correct Them

If big data can make or break your business, data entry errors are the surefire reason your business is going to crash and burn.

We don’t mean to scare you. In fact, we’re telling you this so you realize early on that a proactive approach to data is necessary. In the long run, getting acquainted with the importance of accurate data is going to do more good for your company.

Ready to befriend quality data? Read this article to find out the most common yet avoidable types of data entry errors.

Common Types of Data Entry Errors

Data entry work, which includes encoding data across file types and researching then inputting data into a database, tends to lead to errors.

As a result of these errors, data entry becomes more of a problem than a solution for businesses. But this doesn’t have to be the case for you. To prevent this costly ordeal, start by becoming familiar with the different types of data entry errors and the data entry practices you must avoid.

Image credits to Canva

Data Entry Errors

Depending on the document you’re doing data entry for, the types of errors you encounter will vary. However, these are the general errors you might come across regardless of the kind of data entry work you’re doing. And because bookkeeping is technically data entry work, we borrowed a few types of accounting errors applicable to this article. 

Without further ado, here are the most common data entry errors you need to watch out for.

  • Misclassified data. In accounting, there’s a type of error called errors of reversed entries. This happens when bookkeeping entries are mistakenly credited or debited — in other words, placed in the wrong category. Misclassifying data can happen in any data entry activity. Information can be encoded in the wrong part of a database or filled out on the wrong part of a document.
  • Transposition errors. This type of data entry error, directly taken from the list of accounting errors, happens when a word or number encoded is wrong because of mixed up characters. While this error refers to transactions in bookkeeping, transposition errors may still happen in databases containing numbers but not transactions.
  • Duplicate data. Another similar concept in bookkeeping, duplicate data happens when an item is entered more than once in a document unnecessarily.
  • Omitted data. As the name suggests, omitted data happens when data is left out in a document. It’s also taken from the types of accounting errors.
  • Typographical errors. A typographical error is the catch-all type of data entry error. Characters can be mixed up, replaced by extraneous characters, or altogether excluded from the text. Technically, transposition errors are a subset of typographical errors, but it helps to be specific in certain cases.

Poor Practices

  • Failure to update. According to a white paper by Experian, a global information services company, outdated information is the second most common error damaging to data quality. This is why it’s important to check your data consistently. That means going over your files, fact-checking daily, and updating where necessary.
  • Inconsistent formatting of data. Maintaining a consistent style in formatting data might seem inconsequential to a few. But a simple misunderstanding in, say, date or time formats may cost you a fortune. In fact, Gartner’s research on data quality discovered that organizations think “poor data quality [is] responsible for an average of $15 million per year in losses”. And what’s a factor contributing to the poor state of data quality? You guessed it — inconsistency.
  • Not digitizing data. In the digital age, digitizing documents sounds like a no-brainer step in securing and storing data. However, while records and file exchanges commonly take place online now, a good chunk continues to rely on paper. This poor practice can lead to lost data and severe consequences for your business in the future.
  • Not having a systematized way of organizing data. Without a standardized way of recording and organizing your data, your business isn’t going to last very long. Data comes in rapidly nowadays, and you will need it to expand. You can’t simply figure out what to do with it as it comes. 
Image credits to Canva

How to Prevent & Correct Data Entry Errors

The good news is you can significantly reduce these errors with the help of both tech and human talent.

By having a balanced mix of both, your specialist and the software they use can maximally support each other toward your goal of error-free documents and databases. For this to happen, start adopting a proactive mindset when it comes to your data. Build a system that enhances your data entry specialist’s work process and encourages them to be thorough.

Because data entry errors and accounting errors tend to overlap, we recommend applying some of the smart accounting practices we talked about on our blog on the types of accounting errors.

  • Regularly visit your records
  • Digitize and track physical copies of documents
  • Automate certain areas of the process

Other Ways to Improve Data Entry Results

Aside from these, you can also implement smart data entry practices proven to increase accuracy.

According to a study on the impact of data entry methods on data accuracy, visually checking data resulted in 2958% more errors compared to when double entry was employed. This is further supported by a more recent study comparing the speed and accuracy of data-checking methods. While double entry (the process of re-encoding data) was the slowest among the group, researchers found it had the greatest rate of accuracy.

Another alternative to proactively preventing data errors is delegation. If data entry isn’t the primary focus of your business, you might want to assign this task to readily available professionals.

Enter outsourcing. Outsourcing is a smart way to make sure your data is accurate without sacrificing your company’s resources or time. With an outsourced team, you get to have a scalable team of experienced data entry specialists, plus a management team to handle them. Letting you grow and focus on your business is how outsourced data entry helps your company.

In Summary

Data entry errors are often a result of poor practices. To avoid them, you have to get acquainted with them first:

Types of Data Entry Errors:

  • Misclassified data
  • Transposition errors
  • Duplicate data
  • Omitted data
  • Typographical errors

Common Poor Practices:

  • Failure to update
  • Inconsistent formatting of data
  • Not digitizing data
  • Not having a systematized way of organizing data

For professional data entry services, why not give us a shot?

NarraSoft’s data entry specialists have years of experience under their belt. Our team is not only adept at using various tools but also knows how to ensure your data is free from error.

Interested in working with us? Start supercharging your operations today. Send us a message at sales@narrasoft.com or use our chat box or contact form to inquire or to ask for a free consultation.