Data Entry Automation Software: Everything You Need to Know

By
Christopher Pinski
Published
March 23, 2024
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Data Entry Automation Software: Everything You Need to Know

What can data entry automation do for your business? A better question is: what can't it do?

Let's explore the benefits, examples of great automation tools, and common use cases.

Top 5 Benefits of Data Entry Automation Software

Data entry automation is all about efficiency and savings.

1. Process Documents Intelligently

Manual data entry processes require critical thinking to properly analyze and categorize key data points. Data entry automation tools offer intelligent document processing to streamline data entry and improve document analysis.

2. Boost Operational Efficiency: It's About Saving Time

Manual processes are time-consuming — especially data entry! By automating data entry in your organization, you'll free up resources for more meaningful work.

man in denim shirt checks apple watch while automating data entry on laptop
Automation saves time and improves efficiency.

3. Increase Productivity

Thanks to efficient data entry automation, you'll see increased productivity. Data entry tasks will be completed faster and in an intuitive structured format, so your most impactful projects will be top priority again.

In fact, 85% of business leaders believe automation allows managers and employees to focus on more impactful tasks.

4. Improve Accuracy

Data entry automation can lead to fewer errors, saving time and budget. Plus, you'll rest easier knowing that your data is more accurate.

5. Reduce Overall Costs

Due to reduced errors and increased efficiency, automating data entry also yields cost savings!

How to Automate Data Entry with Data Entry Software in 8 Steps

So how do you shift from manually entering data to an automated data entry process? Here are 8 easy steps to make the transition:

1. Identify Manual Data Entry Processes to be Automated

What repetitive data entry tasks and business processes cost you the most time? Where would it be most beneficial to automate repetitive tasks, eliminate errors, and increase efficiency?

Is it in finance? Legal? Your document management workflow?

Have your teams make a list of all the manual data entry jobs they complete regularly, whether:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Semi-Annually
  • Annually

Assess how much time each of these tasks takes and prioritize in order of time commitment, cost, and impact.

An open laptop showing visual reporting: different chart types in bright blue resulting from manual data entry
Put an end to manual reporting! Let automated data entry save you time.

2. Choose and Implement the Right Data Entry Software

The best automated data entry software for your team will depend on your industry, company size, budget, and unique needs. That's why it's important to start by classifying the manual data entry tasks you hope to automate. This knowledge will help you pick the right tool.

In some cases, the perfect tool may not exist. That's where custom workflow automation service providers like Crispy come in. Learn more about AI and machine learning for data entry automation, and how workflow automation tools can help.

3. Upload or Add a Data Source

Once you've got the right data entry tools in place, it's time to start inputting data. Your data entry software should be able to process unstructured data in the form of paper documents, digital documents, images, and more. Input data carefully and ensure accuracy before continuing.

4. Pre-Process Each File or Document

If your software has OCR (optical character recognition), along with AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) capabilities, it should be able to convert any files into formats that can be automatically analyzed and sorted.

5. Recognize and Extract Relevant Data

Sophisticated data entry automation software learns from you. That means it will learn to identify and extract data points that are most important to your organization — and ignore extraneous data fields. The result: a highly structured output customized for your needs.

6. Validate Extracted Data

While training your tool, some level of manual verification is important to catch and correct errors. Over time, data validation can become a semi-automated process.

Close-up of arms of a business man in light denim shirt manually validating extracted data in a notebook, next to an open laptop on the white desk
You’ll need some manual data validation at first, but this will become semi- or fully automated over time.

7. Share Data

Once data extraction is complete, your structured data can be formatted and exported to related software such as your ERP, CRM, accounting software, or other. Send data anywhere in your org that is relevant, while maintaining strict data access policies.

8. Monitor Automated Processes

Ensure that your new data entry automation process is working smoothly before moving to a hands-off approach! While properly implemented processes will save you time and reduce errors, any automation mistakes that aren't caught early will have an exponential impact on your organization.

Key Machine Learning Features for Data Entry Automation

These features are essential to reduce human involvement in time-consuming manual processes.

Image-to-Text Conversion

Images can tell essential data stories. But to manually extract data from images, you need lots of time. Thankfully, data entry automation software typically features image-to-text conversion tools to alleviate this lengthy task.

From graphs and charts to photos of whiteboards and sticky notes in meetings, you won't want to be without this option.

OCR: Optical Character Recognition

OCR technologies are a key component of image-to-text conversion. They allow data entry software to recognize and extract letters, numerals, and symbols from images.

This lets you analyze and categorize data from paper documents and other images, and even create editable documents.

closeup hand of black person holding pen and getting ready to sign a contract
Don’t hunt for a specific clause in that paper document. Let OCR and NLP technology find it for you digitally.

NLP: Natural Language Processing

This machine-learning technology lets data entry automation software understand text in the documents it analyzes. That's what allows these systems to intelligently extract and categorize data, respond to queries (like ChatGPT does), and more.

AI Data Entry & Extraction Software

Manual data entry processes are inefficient and error-prone. Training and optimizing processes helps, but only up to a certain point.

That's why machine learning and AI software for data extraction are so exciting for organizations. Customized data visualization, advanced categorization and filtering, and trainability let you shape these intelligent platforms into the perfect reporting tool.

Sophisticated Data Entry Models

Pre-Trained Data Entry Models

Some data entry automation tools, such as Nanonets, feature pre-trained models that make onboarding even simpler. They are ideal for recognizing and pre-processing passports, driver's licenses, receipts, and more without a lot of setup.

Arms of someone processing a paper receipt at a point of sale machine
You can train data entry software to recognize receipts.

Custom Data Entry Models

Depending on your knowledge of software and programming with low- and no-code tools, you can design custom data entry models to recognize key types of documents that your organization uses regularly.

If this is too complex with the software solutions you're evaluating, hire a data entry automation services provider like us to help out.

In fact, we can do more than develop custom data entry models: we can build you a fully custom app.

Ease of Use

While not specific to data entry automation software's machine learning features, ease of use is a key component of these technologies. That's because complex software with a steep learning curve may not save time upfront.

But with intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces, popular data entry software is usually easy to use from the start.

Best Data Entry Software Examples for 2024

  • Make.com: Automate data collection from online forms, streamline onboarding with data entry automation, and more.
  • Zapier: Connect platforms across your org to save time and automate data sharing among platforms.
  • DocuSign: From custom form fields to signatures, document management, and more, eliminate time-consuming manual document processes.
  • Parseur: Advanced data extraction technology alleviates the manual process of scouring documents and emails for key data and information.
  • Nanonets: Data entry AI tool with with data extraction and intelligent document processing technology for common sources including driver's licenses, bank statements, invoices, and more.
  • PandaDoc: Data capture and e-sign tool for automating document management workflows.
  • UIPath: Robotic process automation (RPA) tool for data extraction and integration with other applications, such as Salesforce.
  • Axiom.ai: No-code data entry tool to automate and input data on web forms.

Use Cases for Data Entry Automation

How can automated data entry software help your company? Here are some specific use cases that can help improve accuracy and create a streamlined workflow system for a variety of organizations.

Automate Data Entry From Websites

Your website may collect lots of customer data. For example, you may have forms, blog post comments, polls and surveys, and much more.

But your site doesn't always deliver this data in a structured format that works well for you — or for KYC processes (Know Your Customer). This can make compliance, data analysis, and informed decision-making a challenge.

Luckily, the right data entry automation tool will help you collect, organize, and extract data in the best way for you.

You'll no longer spend hours categorizing this data and worrying if it's accurate. Instead, your employees can focus on tasks that drive your business forward.

Finance & Accounting Automation

When it comes to bookkeeping, profit reporting, revenue forecasting, and more, a single mistake can paint a completely different picture of your business compared to reality.

Looking over the shoulder of a medium-skinned man reviewing data extraction software reporting on a laptop
Avoid inaccurate reports resulting from data entry errors — automate your data entry for a clear picture of your business’s past, present, and future.

Whether you track this information in a variety of files, a spreadsheet, paper documents, or multiple platforms, there's probably room for improvement.

Automated data entry software takes the guesswork out of your financial reporting. Your extracted data helps train the tool over time to improve accuracy and reduce reliance on manual processes. And if you’re using multiple platforms, automation helps aggregate and properly categorize data across all systems.

Save Time with Legal Automation Tools

The intake workflow for legal firms is highly detailed, and juggling physical documents and scanned files can be a mess.

But automating your data entry process can change everything. Automation can help you collect lead info, book calls, deliver detailed forms for collecting case information, and even draft engagement letters and court forms. 

View from behind of legs of man wearing blue blazer and dark blue denim jeans walking outside with a brown leather briefcase
Paper documents are still here — but digitizing your documents can save hours of work when hunting for data later on.

Plus, this automated system for data entry will generate a robust database of extracted data. All that intake info will be easy to locate, sort, categorize, reference, analyze, distribute, or destroy as needed.

Automate Data Entry Into CRM/ERP Software

If your platforms don't talk to each other, you're wasting time on manual work.

The benefits of automating data entry should extend into every system and platform in your business.

For example, the data you analyze and extract from your website can help you learn more about your customers. Automated data entry tools can help you extract data from your website, sort and organize that data, and export it into relevant systems like your CRM.

The same goes for back-office systems, like managing inventory. When your supply chain data communicates with your website, ERP, and automated workflows, you can rest easy knowing that automation is monitoring and improving your business.

Data Entry Automation: Frequently Asked Questions

How do you automate data entry in Excel?

Wondering how to automate data entry in Excel or Google Sheets? Thanks to the advanced features available in these tools, as well as no-code tools like Zapier and Make, there are many ways to do it.

That said, we don't recommend relying on Google Sheets or an Excel spreadsheet for data entry automation. While it's simple enough to get different cells or even different sheets in a workbook to talk to one another, once you start dealing with multiple spreadsheets, things get complex. In that case, a solution like Airtable may be a better fit.

Rendered browser window pulled up to a homepage for Google Sheets. It reads "Make data-driven decisions, in Google Sheets"
Google Sheets is a great tool! But if it’s the only thing you’re using for data management, consider long-term viability as you scale.

Plus, it only takes one incorrect field or calculation to mess things up — and unless you're an expert, it can be hard to track down the culprit.

Instead, consider your dream state for data entry automation. Then, chat with an automation service provider like Crispy to make your dream a reality.

Can you automate data entry work?

Absolutely. You can automate data entry in just about any area of your business.

Just make sure to choose the right software for the types of data you handle. For example, if you have tons of paper files and documents, OCR will be a critical feature for your org.

You also need to ensure that your tool can handle the full size of your document database — and has enough resources to do so at scale. Thanks to the cloud, this is pretty easy! In most cases, upgrading your subscription increases your storage limit.

How can AI automate data entry?

AI and machine learning are revolutionizing the automation of data entry. For example, accounting software has learned to recognize and categorize hundreds of identical transactions at once — saving hours.

Curious how to automate data entry with AI? Learn more about what custom AI/ML solutions can do.

Why is data entry not automated?

Some businesses haven't investigated how to automate data entry yet.

They may be behind the digital transformation curve or feel ill-equipped to understand these systems.

Stacks of paper documents in an office setting with drop ceiling and fluorescent light overhead
Digitizing a paper business is scary — but NOT digitizing your data may be scarier.

They may worry about the expense of a new program, or feel data entry automation is an optional step.

If manual workflows work well for you, great!

But if your employees spend hours on back-office tasks that aren't driving your business forward, automating data entry systems may improve profitability.

What is the process of data entry automation?

To implement data entry automation in your organization:

  1. Identify manual data entry tasks to automate
  2. Select the right data entry system — or commission custom software
  3. Add your data sources
  4. Pre-process files
  5. Extract relevant data
  6. Validate (AI will start to teach the tool to do this automatically)
  7. Share data across systems
  8. Monitor automation over time
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