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Control Plans for Data Entry without Master Data

15 January, 2016 - 09:49




As mentioned before, perhaps the most error-prone—and inefficient—steps in an operations process or an information process are the steps during which data is entered into a system. While a lot has been done over the years to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the data entry process, problems still remain, especially when humans type data into a system. So, we begin our discussion of process controls by describing those controls that improve the data entry process. We divide our discussion of data entry controls into three parts: controls when master data is not available during data entry, controls when master data is available during data entry, and controls when the input data may be collected into batches.

As you study these controls, keep in mind improvements that have been made to address errors and inefficiencies of the data entry process. These improvements include:

  • Automation of data entry. Documents may be scanned for data entry. Documents and labels may contain bar codes that are scanned. This automation reduces or eliminates manual keying.
  • Business events, such as purchases, may be initiated in one (buying) organization and transmitted to another (selling) organization via the Internet or EDI. In this case, the receiving (selling) organization need not enter the data at all.
  • Multiple steps in a business process may be tightly integrated, such as in an enterprise system. In these cases the number of data entry steps is greatly reduced. For example, there may be no need to enter a shipment (sale) into the billing system because the shipping system shares the same integrated database with the billing system where the data have already been entered.