What is Data Accuracy? (How to improve data entry accuracy)

Overview of Data Accuracy

Data accuracy is critical for businesses that rely on data-driven decision-making. Without accurate data, companies can make suboptimal decisions that cost them time and money.

Therefore, data accuracy is a critical metric that businesses should track to ensure they make the best possible decisions.

This blog post will explore data accuracy, why it’s essential, why data inaccuracy, and how businesses can improve their data accuracy. Stay tuned for more!

Data accuracy meaning

What is Data Accuracy?

Data accuracy is the most critical aspect of data quality. It ensures that your company’s business processes are based on reliable and appropriate information, which will lead to better decision-making capabilities in all areas, including planning, forecasting, budgeting intelligence & more!

A company’s planning, forecasting, budgeting, business intelligence, and all such activities are based on the accuracy of the data.

If the data is irrelevant or incorrect, it can disrupt the entire working system of the business.

What is data accuracy?

Data accuracy means data without error that can be used as an authentic source of information to make critical business decisions.
Data accuracy is a measurement that measures “how close the estimate of a parameter from sample data is to its true value.”

Why is data accuracy important?

Data accuracy is important because inaccurate data leads to faulty predictions. If the predicted outcomes are wrong, this leads to wasted time, money, and resources.
Accurate data increases confidence to make better decisions enhances productivity, efficiency & marketing, and helps reduce costs.

Factors that affect data quality

Data can never be 100% accurate, but it can be more or less accurate depending on how close it adheres to reality. The closer that data sticks to reality, the higher its accuracy.

In other words, data accuracy refers to the degree to which data reflects what happened in real life during a specific period.

There are two factors related to data that need to be taken care of,

  1. The data entered must be of the correct value.
  2. It must be correctly presented consistently by the expected data standards of the business and its models.

Data inaccuracy

Data inaccuracy is defined as “incorrect or imprecise data.” It can be caused by human error, incorrect assumptions, poorly calibrated equipment, or bad luck. Whatever the cause, inaccuracies can lead to wrong decisions being made, which can have serious consequences. So next time you’re staring at a screen full of numbers, take a closer look – you might find an inaccuracy that needs to be corrected.

Why does data inaccuracy occur?

Data inaccuracy occurs because of manual data entry, lack of data standardization, and data decay.

Data accuracy illustration

Manual data entry

Data entry is one of the most common causes of data inaccuracy. When information is entered manually, there is always the potential for errors. Likewise, even the most careful and detail-oriented person can make mistakes when transcribing data.

This is why it’s crucial to have systems to check for errors, such as spell checkers and data validation rules. The market is flooded with tools that can reduce the chances of such errors occurring.

Lack of Data standardization

Another common cause of data inaccuracy is the lack of data standardization. This occurs when different departments or groups within an organization use other systems or formats for storing and tracking data.

For example, one department might use all uppercase letters while another uses all lowercase letters. As a result, it can be challenging to accurately compare and analyze data from different sources.

Another example,

EU database and other countries of the world follow DD/MM/YY format to write the date. But the US database follows MM/DD/YY format to write the date.

Consider the date 11/12/2020. When it is converted to content, there will be no accuracy. Therefore, it isn’t easy to decide whether it is 11th December or 12th November.

Data decay

Finally, data accuracy can also be degraded over time due to what is known as “data decay.” This happens when information becomes outdated or irrelevant due to changes in the real-world system it represents. For example, any links stored in a database will become obsolete and inaccurate if a website changes its URL. Data decay can also occur when data is no longer used or accessed regularly, causing it to become stale.

Over time, a firm’s existing data can become redundant and lead to data decay, such as the employees’ details such as addresses or phone numbers.

Hence, the firm must ensure that it has a rigorous data team that is very dynamic and keeps a close tab on data accuracy, enhancing the company’s overall growth and performance.

How do you check the accuracy of data?

It is crucial to check the accuracy of data. Here questions may arise on how to check the accuracy of data.

Here are two tips to check your data accuracy.

Repetitively analyze data

Analyze data by different people. For example, using an excel sheet for data entry is not easy to do a repeated data analysis because it integrates the data. Hence it is better to use some high-level languages like python, SAS, etc.

Check the data with another source.

Compare the present data with another source. Sometimes it is impossible to do. However, if possible, it is the best process to check the data accuracy.

How to improve data accuracy?

Here are some tips to improve data accuracy.

  • The company needs to set an objective for data quality. Then, the organization’s top management must solve the fundamental problems troubling their data accuracy. Also, it has to set realistic goals for the data entry team.
  • Do not pressurize the data entry team. If the data entry team is under pressure, there will be a chance of data entry errors.
  • To improve the quality of data, have an accurate data source.
  • From time to time, do a data quality audit to find out prevalent issues like duplicate, incomplete information, etc.
  • The company can use the Data Quality Assurance Program to ensure that the data collected from various sources are correct and relevant. This implementation will help the firm to record valuable data and keep it.

What are the skills that an employee should have for data entry?

Balance of data entry speed and data accuracy.

You know that the data entry team members play an essential role in having accurate data. Here are a few crucial skills that the members should have. You need to consider both hard skills and soft skills.

Good concentration power

She should have a high concentration while entering the data. We know that the entry person should do that work daily and continuously.

She is a person, not a machine, and has many emotions. So there will be a chance of dropping the focus, leading to inaccurate data. Hence select a person who can avoid distractions during data entry.

Trustworthy character

She must be reliable. Because many organizations lose their client because of the data stolen, when that person is not reliable, She could easily steal your organization’s critical information.

Hence while fulfilling the data entry person, check his background thoroughly and ensure he has a trustworthy character.

Experienced with needed software

The person should have the skill to operate the required software. For example, daily, she has to work with many software programs and spreadsheet programs like excel.

The other programs generally used by him are database software, CRM software, and word processor.

So, the candidate should know all the above software and knowledge of computer hardware.

Good typing speed

It is crucial to consider the quantity of the data and quality. Hence the person should have a good typing speed with data accuracy.

You can compromise with the speed but can not compromise with precision.

Good communal skill

The data entry person will not work independently. Instead, she works with the team. The data will be distributed to the team members to enter or encode within a specified time.

In the case of outsourcing, the amount of data encoded and entered will highly affect the service provider’s revenue.

So the person in the data entry team should regularly communicate with the other team members to ensure that the work is done.

Benefits of accurate and reliable data

Here, we are listing the importance of data accuracy.

  • Helps to make a better decision: When data quality and accuracy are high, it allows the organization’s users to get better results. It also increases the confidence level of workers.
  • Increases efficiency: With the help of actual output, a company can improve its decision-making ability and increase its efficiency.
  • Saves money and time: Data accuracy helps prevent wasting money on unprofitable methods, such as sending mail to the wrong address.
  • Improves reputation: Good data quality will positively impact your brand productivity, efficiency, and reliability, which improves your brand reputation.
  • Increases productivity: Accurate data allows employees to do the work quickly and efficiently by avoiding finding and fixing data errors. Hence employees focus on their target.
  • Improves marketing: Good quality data helps you to market your products or services to the right customers, and also, you can engage customers with your brand, which improves your sales.
  • Improves customer satisfaction: Accurate information about your customers helps your marketing team deliver the products and services at the right time that satisfies your customers.

Conclusion

Data accuracy is essential for many reasons. For example, suppose data inaccuracies are found in the results of an experiment. It may lead to false conclusions about the effectiveness or safety of a new drug that could harm people who use it.

The more accurate your data set is (with few errors), the better you understand your findings and decisions.