Business Scaling

What is Data Entry? Everything You Need To Know

What is Data Entry? Everything You Need To Know

Did you know that poor data quality can cost organizations an average of over $12 million each year? That's a huge price to pay for something that an effective data entry professional could help avoid.

How to find the perfect data entry specialist and save millions in the process? Let us show you how. 

As staffing experts with a decade-long track record of success, we can help you understand what data entry is, its purpose, and what qualities to look for in candidates.

What is Data Entry?

Data entry is a type of clerical work that requires adding information to computers. This can be done through typing, voice recording, or other methods. 

There are many kinds of data entry tasks. They can range from typing out texts and numbers to transcribing physical documents into a computer. It also involves keeping databases up to date, ensuring the information is correct, and sorting data so it's easy to find. Sometimes, it even includes scanning documents and converting them into digital files.

Even though data entry sounds like a simple job, it plays a critical role in the digital age. If data isn't entered correctly, it can lead to big problems like lost money, missed business opportunities, and other issues.

So, in essence, data entry is all about accurately handling information to support your business’s daily operations.

What Is the Purpose of Data Entry?

Data entry aims to organize, update, and maintain data in its digital form, turning it into a usable format.

Forrester Research found that inaccurate or low-quality data can create challenges for leaders, taking away valuable time that could be used for growing the business.

Without data entry, systems would be unable to store or process any information, making it impossible to carry out many digital tasks we rely on daily.

The Difference of Automated and Manual Data Entry

Let's talk about two ways people put information into computers: automated and manual data entry. 

In a nutshell, manual data entry is all about typing in data by hand. Automated data entry, on the other hand, uses technology to speed things up.

Manual data entry


  • Easy implementation: With manual data entry, you don’t need to procure high-end software applications. You only have to train your staff in using spreadsheets right. 
  • Enhanced flexibility: Human operators can adapt to various data types and unexpected changes in data format more easily than automated systems.
  • Contextual understanding: Humans are better at understanding context, nuances, and exceptions within the data, which can be crucial for some types of data processing.
  • Reduced initial cost: Starting manual data entry operations typically requires less upfront investment compared to setting up automated systems.


  • Slower speed: Of course, manual data entry is significantly slower than automated processes, making it less efficient for large volumes of data.
  • Proneness to error: Humans are more likely to make errors, especially with repetitive tasks or large data sets, leading to potential inaccuracies. In fact, the accuracy rate for human data entry is 96-99%.
  • Inconsistent performance: Manual data entry is subject to human mood, and operators' performance can change at any time. This can be challenging for management to handle.

Automated data entry


  • Increased speed: Automated systems process data at a much faster rate. It significantly reduces the time required for data entry tasks.
  • Enhanced accuracy with large data volumes:  Automated systems can handle increases in data volume without the need to increase staff. At the same time, it makes sure of 99.99% accuracy in data entry, especially for repetitive tasks.
  • Integration: Automation tools can integrate with other systems. This allows for a more seamless data flow and processing across platforms.


  • High implementation cost: The cost of implementing automated data entry systems can be high. This includes software purchase, customization, and training.
  • More complex: Setting up and maintaining automated systems needs specialized knowledge. There’s a good chance you’ll have to coordinate with third-party specialists too, which means more costs!
  • Reduced flexibility: Automated systems can have trouble with unorganized data that don't follow the set rules.
  • Extensive maintenance: You need to stick to regular schedules to keep your technology in good shape. This includes ensuring your security measures are up to date to avoid compromising your data.

Understanding the difference between automated and manual data entry is important if you want to optimize your data management strategies effectively. Make the choice based on how much data you have and what kind of work you're doing. 

For instance, many SMBs prefer manual data entry over automated methods. They just need to find a skilled data entry specialist who can do the job right.

What Are the Skills Needed for Data Entry Jobs?

The right skills are crucial when hiring a data entry specialist. Start with your search by crafting an accurate job description. 

Make sure to include these necessary skills:

Typing proficiency

Fast and accurate typing, especially touch typing, where you don't need to look at the keyboard, is essential for a data entry specialist. This is because most data entry tasks demand quick input without errors.

Attention to detail 

Since data entry workers handle large amounts of information, being able to spot and correct mistakes is key. Even the tiniest of errors can lead to big problems, so having a keen eye for detail matters.

Data accuracy

Data accuracy encompasses more than just getting the numbers right; it includes correct spelling and grammar, and ensuring all entered information is free from errors. This level of precision is necessary to maintain the integrity of the data.

On the technical side, data entry requires specific abilities related to computer software and tools. 

  • Keyboarding and typing speed are foundational, allowing quick and accurate data entry.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Excel is a must as it’s a widely used spreadsheet program for data entry professionals. It is often used for creating, maintaining, and analyzing data. Knowing functions, formulas, and Excel data manipulation is helpful for this role.
  • Familiarity with data entry software applications designed for efficiently inputting and managing data is crucial. These tools may include data entry software specific to an industry or organization.
  • Knowledge of basic data management, such as working with databases and spreadsheets, is commonly required in data entry roles.
  • Knowledge of database management is important for effective data storage and retrieval. This includes inputting data into databases, running queries, and managing database records.
  • Experience in data validation and quality control helps ensure the accuracy and consistency of data. This skill involves identifying and correcting errors in the data.
  • Understand OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology is beneficial for converting printed or handwritten documents into digital format. OCR software scans and converts text from images or scanned documents into editable text.

What Are the Job Requirements of a Data Entry Specialist?

When it comes to sourcing a data entry specialist, the requirements can vary, but there are some common expectations. 

Education-wise, while a college degree is not a strict prerequisite, having at least a high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required. Moreover, depending on the industry you’re in, you may have to look for specific educational backgrounds. For instance, having a background in biology can be advantageous for a medical data entry specialist position.

Software proficiency is another key requirement. Being familiar with the tools of the trade, like Microsoft Excel, various data entry software, and how to navigate databases, is often necessary. This ensures you can handle the technical aspects of the job right from the start.

In certain roles, specialized knowledge, such as understanding industry-specific terminology, can be crucial. This helps in accurately processing data relevant to the field you're working in. 

Lastly, having strong language skills in the language you'll be entering data in is a must. For some positions, being multilingual can give you an edge, allowing you to work with a broader range of data.

Common Industries That Need Data Entry 

Data entry professionals are in demand across various industries. But in general, data entry clerks are 54% more likely to work at private companies.

Here are common industries that more than likely need data entry experts:

Medical and health 

Data entry is the backbone of patient records, insurance claims, billing information, and medical histories. Accuracy is critical because of the sensitive nature of health information and compliance with laws like HIPAA.

Administrative and office support

Administrative roles heavily rely on data entry. Specialists in this industry are expected to manage schedules, store contact information, record meeting minutes and other office-related data.

Accounting and finance

Data entry clerks can help record financial transactions, manage accounts payable and receivable, and maintain accurate financial records.

Government and politics

Government agencies use data entry to manage citizen records, voter registration information, and other administrative data. This sector emphasizes accuracy and compliance with data security regulations.

Retail and e-commerce

Retail companies need data entry for inventory management, order processing, and customer data management. Accurate data entry helps in tracking inventory levels and fulfilling customer orders efficiently.

Boost Your Team with Effective Data Entry Experts

Bringing effective data entry specialists into your team can make a big difference, and MultiplyMii is here to help! 

As a remote staffing company, we've worked with over 250 clients, helping them find the perfect candidates. 

What's even better? We're experts at helping you save on costs without sacrificing the quality of your work. 

Let's make your team even better together!

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