How to Reduce Data Debt and Stop Being the Data-Debt Officer


Dirty Data / Data
Debt Officer


Volunteer Position

Term Of Contract:

In Perpetuity

Skills Required:

Undervalues Time

Enjoys Frustration

Avoids Issues

Accomplished Matyr

If you have a knack for taking the monkey off your clients’ backs without them knowing, this job is for you!  Seeking a professional who can offer cut-through insights to help clients make good businesses decisions (but never will). You will be an accomplished and trusted advisor who is happiest fixing tedious, avoidable mistakes in client files. You will enjoy spending hours hunting down anomalies, inconsistencies and incomplete transactions on the daily! You will be accomplished at writing-off hours of your time, and enjoy the feeling of questioning your worth.

 “Now there’s a job I’d love!”, said no one ever. But what else can we do when your client keeps dishing up dirty data and you’ve made it your job to fix it before you can begin your real work.

While it is true that no professional would seek out the above “job”, the truth is, becoming a quasi-dirty data officer just creeps up on advisors until it becomes the norm. And our clients get used to us cleaning up after them.

Fixing this dynamic is not easy, but it IS possible.
How to Approach Data Debt with Your Clients

There are many reasons advisors take on data-debt for their clients. Chief among these reasons: how to approach the issue with a client. So things get “fixed” on the quiet, written-off, and the cycle and exasperation continues ad infinitum. And the longer this dynamic continues, the harder it becomes to approach.

The first step when tackling a dirty-data debt problem is to ensure the owner of the data is aware there is a quality issue. While this conversation sounds uncomfortable, modern technology is on your side. Once your client is aware of the issue, you can focus on co- developing a process for tackling the issue.

The best way forward? Help your client to discover the data debt they offload to you, and help them manage it – so you don’t have to. Once your client understands that clean data is THEIR JOB, new processes can be embedded into day to day work practices.

Giving visibility to these simple errors using reporting tools that highlight incompleteness is the most efficient and effective way to create the behavioral change necessary for success.

Enter Zerlock, the add-on app for your Xero client files that gives instant visibility to the integrity of client data.

How Zerlock Will Help with Your Data-Debt

 One of the best ways to give your client visibility on their data debt is to use a tool that can look for data inconsistencies in your systems. When we take a proactive approach to identifying a process issue, we can cut off the issue at the source.

Zerlock’s reporting and query tools enable instant specific searches within a file. This simple practice can and will resolve inconsistencies, incompleteness and inaccuracies before work gets started

Zerlock for the Win

The bedrock for every good business decision is data quality and data integrity, but without confidence in your data, error and risk will underpin every decision.

Zerlock offers you and your clients’ time and cost efficient reporting and query tools that interface seamlessly with  Xero files. When you have the power of query by exception, data integrity – or lack thereof – will be front of mind for your client.

If you can bring visibility to file “issues” – you have already won. Even if the client can’t/won’t fix their own problems, they will understand the work that must be undertaken before you can add true value, and that you, their advisor should be paid for it.

To find out more about how to reduce data debt in your practice and to avoid the thankless, unpaid job of a Data Debt Officer,  contact us today!

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