How to Reduce Data Errors
Updated: Jun 26, 2018
A single digit can cause a lot of trouble if it’s not supposed to be there. One misplaced zero can render all your hard-won data obsolete. If you want your company to have the best shot, then you don’t just need to be data-driven, you need to be accurately data-driven. Employing some simple error reduction steps is all you need to do to keep your numbers safe from as many mistakes as possible.
Start Off Skeptical
Dubiety is going to be your best friend. If you go into every analysis assuming there will be errors, and you consider double-checking to be part of your analytical process, then you’ve already won half the battle. In addition to adopting a skeptical mindset when working with your numbers, there are a few error-reducing tactics you can add to your routine.
Manual Entry Is Always Going To Have Errors
Try to avoid typing numbers whenever possible. We’re all only human. Fingers slip, extra zeros are accidentally added to sales records, and entire calculations are thrown off. When you have to transfer numbers from one document to another, always copy and paste. It’ll clear you of all culpability when it comes time to check the numbers.
Look for ‘amazing’ numbers
One of the most obvious signs that something’s wrong with your data is when a crazy high or insanely low number pops up. If you’re staring at a 600 percent revenue increase over the last week, then probably a mistake has been made somewhere along the line.
Come back to it.
Coming back to audit it important. When you’ve been staring at the same spreadsheets all day, you grow accustomed to what they say (and what they’re supposed to say). You’ll catch more errors if you give everything a once-over the next day. It can also be helpful to check things out of order. Instead of starting at the top, check your numbers from the bottom up.
Automate Error Reports
If you’re working with a data analysis company like QBIX (and you definitely should be) they can help you out by setting up software to automate error reports to alert you of anything you didn’t catch yourself.
Data is the key to growing your business, but it’s of no use to you if it’s not accurate. Keep your data as error free as possible, and get the full value out of your data-driven analyses.