5 Steps to Help Your Company Reduce Manual Data Entry
Save your organization hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars while improving employee productivity and engagement.
When it comes to manual data entry, we’re all in agreement: it’s tedious, time-consuming, and still puts a wrench in many people’s workdays. Reducing manual data entry should be a priority for any modern business that wants to improve its accuracy and efficiency.
Manual data entry takes away time that could be used for more impactful tasks. If accuracy is of utmost importance to your company (and it should be if you want a successful company), you don’t have a choice. You must do away with manual data entry, or at the very least reduce it as much as possible.
This blog post will highlight five steps that you can take to reduce manual data entry in your company. Before we get to those steps, let’s dig a bit deeper into why most businesses are moving away from manual data entry.
The Financial Implication
Manual data entry necessitates hiring a lot of employees. Hiring and maintaining employees is often the highest cost of running a business. According to Paycor, labor costs can constitute as much as 70% of the total cost of doing business. Then there’s also the issue of human error and inaccuracy. Typically, manual data entry involves:
Manually entering data from paper forms to databases.
Copying/pasting data between different software tools.
There’s always a margin of error involved in these tasks. Those seemingly simple mistakes can build up into significant discrepancies or lead to wrong conclusions after the data is analyzed. If you are operating a data-driven business, such errors can have serious financial implications.
Manual data entry is often tedious and repetitive and can make employees lose focus and limits their creativity. It is not hard to predict what happens when employees are bored with the tasks assigned to them. Productivity takes a severe beating, and the pressure to deliver is felt across the organization.
So, what can your organization do to reduce manual data entry? Here are some steps you should take.
How to Eliminate Manual Data Entry
Identify the cause
The first step towards finding a remedy is diagnosing the problem. You might put a lot of effort into achieving digital transformation in your business but still find it difficult to eliminate or significantly reduce manual data entry from your business. What could be the cause? To find out, audit your business tools and processes and find the points at which data is generated but not automatically sent where it should be. The following issues could be the causes:
Lack of integration between your business applications
Manual data collection
Use of multiple tools and software that serve the same purpose
Use of paper forms or fillable PDFs
Establish a plan
The solution to manual data entry is automation. By automating repetitive tasks and processes, you can increase efficiency and accuracy across the board, reducing costly errors and making more room for growth. To do so, you need to choose the right type of software, and before you can do that, you need a structured plan.
Begin with a checklist of requirements you will require in a new solution, map out your current business processes and ask employees who would be end-users of this solution to identify any gaps or inefficiencies in your existing processes.
Consult with an implementation partner
Introducing new software and automating your processes will set your business up for long-term success, but only if it’s done correctly. If your in-house IT resources are already overworked or lack implementation experience, hire an implementation partner to make use of their wealth of knowledge and expertise. Your implementation partner will also be able to provide you with support, resources, and employee training.
Manage expectations and train your employees
Often, when employees get used to their routines, they feel threatened or uncomfortable when new changes or software is introduced. Reassure your employees that the software is there to make their jobs more efficient, and allow them to take on more valuable tasks. Address any concerns they have and make sure to keep them informed throughout the process. You also need a training program in place to ensure your employees are comfortable navigating the new software and have some kind of support available when issues arise. Implementing any big change in an organization is never a smooth sail. However, open communication and a strong change management plan will make it much more manageable.
Establish Operating Standards
You might put a lot of effort into automating data entry and re-assuring employees, but old habits die hard. You might see some employees fall back into manual data entry even when solutions are available. This is where you need to set clear and concise operating standards that everyone should follow. Here are some guidelines that you can use to establish operating standards as far as data handling is concerned:
All departments and everyone in the company should be using the same business software and tools.
No paper process should be used where there is a paperless alternative.
All data collected should be stored in one central location.
All teams should have knowledge and access to all systems, tools, and software that the company uses.
Operating standards can be different from one company to the other. They depend on the kind of business you are engaged in. The endgame is to ensure your investment in the eradication of manual data entry bears some fruit. That only happens when everyone in the business embraces the solutions you’ve introduced.
What are the Benefits of Eliminating Manual Data Entry through Automation?
The benefits of eliminating or even significantly reducing manual data entry in your organization are numerous. You’ll be able to
Increase overall efficiency as automation saves you a lot of time and reduces turnaround times, making it easier to meet deadlines.
Enjoy more cost savings, measured in the number of human hours saved. As employees free up their time, they can focus on more revenue-generating tasks.
Deal with fewer errors, which can take time to fix and negatively affect client satisfaction and experience.
Increase employee satisfaction, as they are free from repetitive tasks and can focus on more challenging projects. It may also improve retention rates.
Stay competitive and grow your business as you can keep up with competitors and have more time to shift the focus to opportunities and revenue-building tasks.
Dynamics 365 Business Central Can Help Eliminate Manual Processes
In particular, accounting and finance departments are often the ones that feel the negative impact of manual data entry. But they don’t have to be. A business management solution such as Dynamics 365 Business Central could help you automate processes and help you connect your operations using a single cloud-based solution. With automated workflows, you can effectively manage accounting tasks and eliminate manual processes. It offers more than just automation – it also connects finance, sales, service, and operations teams under one platform helping your team adapt faster and deliver results.
Contact the Kwixand Solutions team to learn more about how Business Central could transform your organization.