Data entry is one of the necessary evils of our job. No matter what way you look at it, it is the #1 priority on our daily agenda. Why do we continue to falter when it comes to keeping consistent, well-maintained data entry policies and procedures? Time.
Creating effective data entry policies is a time intensive task. Implementing effective procedures for staff to follow will reduce the amount of headaches at reporting time.
We have previously discussed the 10 trust accounting fails that will send your landlords packing that includes sloppy and inconsistent data entry.
This blog discusses creating consistent data entry rules that will ensure your reports are clean and in an easily identifiable format every month for your clients. Good customer service means delivering reliable outputs every month – and it all starts with your data.
SETTING THE SCENE – THE PROBLEM
Problem #1 – No standard formatting
This tends to be a common feature amongst many agencies because there is no standard data entry formula across the board. Creating a procedures manual that forms part of your new staff induction process will ensure every staff member has the same data entry techniques to ensure consistency across the agency.
Problem #2 – Inaccurate reports
Messy data entry leads to inaccurate reporting on monthly landlord statements. As messy data entry such as reversals cannot be hidden on monthly statements, your clients will be left with chaotic reports to decipher.
Problem #3 – No data entry standards for quick and simple searching
Everyone has his or her own way of entering standard information. Some like names in CAPS, some like lower case. Some abbreviate Street to St, some don’t. The problem is, every minute detail comes out in the wash and into your reports therefore leaving a jumbled mess.
If you set the rules for your staff from the outset, your reports will be clean and easy to follow.
Problem #4 – No key search criteria
Having standardised data assists with searching your database. Without a standard in place, there is no way to know how to look up files adding a lot of wasted time to your day be needing to search manually.
Problem #5 – Not completing all fields
Part of your procedures in place should be to ensure staff take the time to fill in all the fields in their property management/trust accounting software to ensure no information is missing from monthly reports. Entering all the relevant information allows the right property to be matched with the right owner and the right tenant with the right information such as rental amount, correct fees and charges. Every detail counts – no matter how small.
THE GOOD NEWS! THE SOLUTION…
In summary, make your life easy and include data entry training as part of your new staff induction process. Sending staff to regular data entry training will give everyone a helpful reminder about the right way to do things. Add your data entry training into your policy and procedures manual that staff must read and sign at the start of every year to refresh their minds.
Additionally, creating internal agency forms assists in making sure no piece of information is overlooked. Make it a habit to go through your database on a regular basis to pinpoint any errors and reiterate your data entry procedures with staff.
Most of all, for those who need a little incentive, throw in some data entry rewards every week! We all love a little inspiration, especially when it comes to data entry.
Connect With Us
~ Jane Morgan is the Director of End of Month Angels, a consultancy firm specialising in Trust Accounting. Jane knows the legislative requirements of running a successful Real Estate office through her 19 years industry experience. Don’t trust just anyone with your trust accounting. Trust End of Month Angels and get back to what you do best – growing your business.