Data Entry Clerks - What They Do

Data entry clerks input coded, statistical, financial and other information into computerized databases, spreadsheets or other templates using a keyboard, mouse, or optical scanner, speech recognition software or other data entry tools. They are employed in the private and public sectors.

Job duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Receive and register invoices, forms, records and other documents for data capture
  • Input data into computerized databases, spreadsheets or other templates using a keyboard, mouse, or optical scanner, speech recognition software or other data entry tools
  • Import and/or export data between different kinds of software
  • Verify accuracy and completeness of data
  • Identify, label and organize electronic storage media
  • Maintain libraries of electronic storage media.

Job titles

  • data entry operator
  • payment entry clerk
  • data processor
  • data input clerk
  • data control clerk
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • Completion of secondary school may be required.
  • College or other courses in data entry may be required.

Essential Skills


  • Read brief letters and faxes from clients. (1)
  • Read memos about changes in policy, procedures and personnel. (2)
  • Refer to procedures and regulations manuals when problems arise or instructions must be clarified. (2)
  • Refer to computer manuals to find information on software applications. (2)

Document use

  • May refer to directories to locate customer information and invoicing and billing codes. (1)
  • May create and read labels on client files and charts. (1)
  • May read completed forms, such as application forms, work orders, job reports, purchase orders, questionnaires, client admission forms and time sheets, to assess the data for meaning and accuracy and enter it in the computer. (2)
  • May read computerized records to track invoices by information, such as account, vendor and invoice numbers. (2)
  • May work from coding sheets and use computer printouts in table format. (2)


  • Write memos or faxes to request or clarify information. (1)
  • Enter numerical and textual data into the computer. (1)
  • Write notes to co-workers, to provide them with information about files. (1)
  • May complete forms, such as invoices, packing slips, work sheets and bills of lading. (1)
  • May complete work orders, noting site locations, delivery instructions, security information and delivery times. (1)
  • May prepare minutes to record the discussions at staff meetings. (2)


Money Math

  • Enter cash dispersals, cheques and purchase orders on the computer and verify that calculations are correct. (1)
  • Process invoices, inputting prices, item amounts, taxes and applicable discounts into the computer and using the computer to calculate total bills. They may calculate some prices. (2)

Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math

  • Enter budget and time sheet information on the computer and verify that calculations are correct. (1)
  • May compare actual amounts to budgeted amounts when entering new expenditures into computerized system. (1)

Data Analysis Math

  • Enter numerical data into computerized databases. They may assess the accuracy of the data, for example, by checking whether codes fall within an acceptable range. (1)

Numerical Estimation

  • Estimate how long it will take to complete a task. (1)
  • May estimate correct totals to spot errors. (2)

Oral communication

  • May contact personnel in other departments to obtain information about invoices. (1)
  • May communicate with suppliers about incoming and outgoing data. (1)
  • Receive clarification and direction from supervisors. For example, they may clarify the meaning of a term on a work order before entering the information into the system. (1)
  • May speak with customers to assist them in completing forms. (1)
  • Interact with co-workers to co-ordinate tasks and to plan how to meet deadlines. (2)
  • May consult with computer programmers or analysts to determine the most efficient data entry procedures. (2)
  • May participate in staff meetings to discuss policies and procedures. (2)


Problem Solving

  • Discover incorrect data when processing paperwork, such as purchase orders or payroll. They check with sources and, if necessary, re-enter the data. (1)
  • Encounter incomplete paperwork in support of an invoice. They try to locate the missing information by calling the worker who authorized the invoice. (1)
  • Have customers who request products without knowing the product codes. They match product descriptions with computer listings to find the needed information. (1)
  • Find that sources of information are inconsistent. For example, a work site time sheet and an injury report may show a different number of hours worked. They check with forepersons or managers to verify information. (2)
  • Face production and scheduling problems when computers break down. They find alternatives to complete work orders or prepare information for payroll in a limited amount of time. (3)

Decision Making

  • Decide whether to enter information onto the computer if there are discrepancies or missing information. (1)
  • Decide whether to change records on the computer, such as changing a number on an invoice when it is considered incorrect. (1)
  • Decide whether to call a customer when information, such as weights or bills of lading numbers, is not clear. (1)
  • Decide whether they can assist a customer with a request. (1)
  • Decide whether paperwork has been reported correctly, such as payroll figures, purchase orders or work hours. They sign and authorize figures and do the final checking before payment. (2)
  • Decide in what order to complete tasks, in consultation with a co-worker. They may recommend system changes to their supervisor. (2)

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Data entry clerks perform ordered and repetitive tasks. They may decide on the priority of work, provided they meet deadlines. Interruptions may be frequent, caused by the need to track down errors in input documents or by the receipt of rush orders. (2)

Significant Use of Memory

  • Remember where to find information saved on computer files.
  • Memorize computer codes to save processing time.
  • Recall details about how to process a variety of forms.

Finding Information

  • Find names, addresses and telephone numbers in telephone books or directories. (1)
  • Find invoice or product order status in computer or paper records. (1)
  • Obtain information from co-workers to clarify input documents, such as the number of hours worked or details of purchase orders. (2)
  • May seek information about computer programs and systems from computer programmers and analysts. (2)

Digital technology

  • They may write memos to clarify information. (2)
  • They may enter financial data. (2)
  • They may use electronic mail or online networks. (2)
  • Use special data entry programs in which they respond to prompts on the screen. (2)
  • They may enter and retrieve client data. (3)
  • They may produce tables. (3)

Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Data entry clerks work independently. They may work as a member of a team of operators or administrative staff to complete assignments. They keep their co-workers and supervisors informed of their work progress and share information with them.

Continuous Learning

Data entry clerks continue to learn, particularly with regard to new computer applications, customer service and teamwork.