Let’s talk data entry errors. Whether you’re taking notes or entering information into an Excel spreadsheet, there’s always room for those pesky human errors that could cost your restoration business time and money. As a restoration contractor, you know the troubles of balancing the books with changing estimates, purchase orders, and labor hours.
Handling all of these numbers can get extremely tricky. Having a great accountant helps, of course, but there are plenty of things us non-accountants can do to reduce human error and careless mistakes. It takes only one misread time card or purchase order to cause serious trouble for your restoration project and create extensive downtime.
Here are seven of our best tips to avoid data entry errors in your restoration business:
1. Add transparency
Whenever you’re trying to reduce administrative errors, transparency should be a significant part of the process, says Now Commerce, a B2B e-commerce blog. The more transparent your data-entry process, the more likely you will be able to find where any mishap occurred. One of the easiest ways to add transparency to your data entry process is to consistently add job notes to every work order.
When you add transparency, you increase project visibility, which will help you address mistakes from your team or the customer before it turns into a costly ordeal.
2. Be organized
A major problem for people who are seeing numerous errors slip by is that they simply don’t have great organizational skills implemented in their data entry process. Ask yourself, “How am I organizing data?” Most likely, it’s not that your company is unorganized, but instead, that it’s failing to utilize a tracking system that could be put in place to improve data entry errors.
By using digital folders and electronic filing, your restoration business will be more organized. If you’re working with paper forms for numerous insurance claims, for example, it’s easy to lose or misplace a critical piece of information. By using a restoration software platform, you can enter, send or receive claims documents and know you have them safely organized.
Additionally, if you have multiple restoration projects going on at once, it can be difficult to go back and forth between jobs. You might have to address construction updates on one project and get insurance approvals on another. As an alternative to working in an office and handling each job separately, DASH allows you to manage multiple jobs through a single mobile device, so you never have to leave the worksite.
3. Consider moving to the cloud
With manual data entry, it can be easy to mix up figures when you’re always moving between different projects. When working in the cloud, you can rest assured that every new entry will be securely saved and logged accordingly. Then, you can see time-stamped logs that you’ve made throughout the day, so you know you’re completely up to date on your claims compliance. Plus, since it’s stored in the cloud rather than a single computer, you can access it from any device, anywhere you are.
4. Prioritize accuracy over speed
Working in the cloud could also help you reduce rushed work by knowing you input data wherever you are located. According to Inc.com, rushed work is bound to have errors, so, anything you can do to cut down rushed deadlines will help your business reduce the number of mistakes.
5. Understand that human error is going to happen
No matter how hard you try to prevent data-entry errors, you have to realize you’re human and there’s always the chance of mistakes, says Vanguard Systems, an enterprise content management software provider. By stepping back from the situation, re-evaluating your plan, and adopting the mentality that errors will happen, you will be able to focus more clearly on your job process.
DASH is the highly organized and easy-to-use system platform that will allow you to enter data more confidently. Everyone makes mistakes, but with its cloud-based platform, DASH can prevent you from making double-entries and other typical administrative errors.
6. Train your employees to value data
Another good way to avoid data entry errors is to train your employees on the importance of data quality. Data entry clerks and employees are often not aware of their impact on the company and how others use that data they oversee. Staff may also not know about regulatory and compliance requirements for the restoration industry or specifically your company. Mishandling a claim or customer information could result in a loss of data, cost your business time and money, or even worse, cause a significant security breach.
Develop a system for creating, modifying and using data for your restoration business and document it. Then be sure to train all new employees on the data-entry process, keep it updated, and refer back to it when employees need a refresher.
Keeping up with training and work policy adherence can be particularly challenging in a virtual workplace environment. Be open and available, even if it’s through a virtual connection to talk to your employees to discuss ways to avoid data entry errors. Regulatory compliance courses and industry best practices online training can be a significant initial step for positioning your restoration company for success in a remote-work world.
7. Create a flexible working environment
In the restoration industry, there’s no best work environment. In fact, your workplace may even change on a regular basis. However, everyone can agree on the idea that focus is critical to avoid mistakes. In an ever-changing work environment, providing flexibility that allows individuals to customize their own style and workplace—whether that’s at home, in an office, or in the field—is vital.
Fortunately, with mobile technology and the cloud, it’s a lot easier to provide a flexible working environment than it was just a decade ago. For your employees, you could offer to telecommute on some or all days of the week or providing flexible hours to accommodate family needs, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their productivity. Other employees may be satisfied with a stand-up desk and a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Any way you choose to provide focus through a flexible working environment, remember that everyone works differently, and it’s best to celebrate that fact.
BONUS TIP: Automate data entry with software
When you know your data is being saved and processed as it gets entered, you will have a better view and understanding of your workflow. What this means is the moment that data becomes available to you through the DASH platform, you can then make necessary changes, which will ensure that you’re working with the most current information. Why is it important to have the most current and accurate information? Because as G.I. Joe taught us, “knowledge is power.”