Australia sits at the bottom of the barrel – reveals global report on data accuracy

Many of the world’s most important events are hinged around accuracy and precision. If we think about the Olympics and the world of sport as an example, a footballer needs precision accuracy with every kick and pass they make. An archer’s accomplishments rest on hitting the target and a tennis player must ensure their swing, racket speed and pace all align for their shot to fall in that winning place. Gold medals, world championships and premierships are won and determined by accuracy. In fact, accuracy underpins the success of a lot of what we do and this should be no different when it comes to the world of business and business data accuracy.

Data is the life blood of a business; it plays a crucial role in influencing key decisions and organisational developments. It is used to maximise revenues, manage customer relationships, make business growth projections and investment decisions. As such, it is critical for all organisational and customer information to be accurately captured and made accessible across the business.

In Experian’s recent global research on data quality, Australia has the highest level of inaccurate customer data with 25 per cent of all information deemed to be incorrect. As a nation that is highly competitive (and often successful) on a world stage, figures such as this could be viewed as un-Australian.

The good news is that although Australia is the worst offender other countries follow closely behind. The research looked at seven nations worldwide and highlights some concerning statistics that all organisations should look to address if they want to stay competitive and at the top of their game.

Table 1: Average amount of contact data believed to be inaccurate in some way by country

Australia USA Singapore New Zealand UK France Netherlands
25% 24% 24% 23% 22% 22% 18%


Across the seven nations, 92 per cent of organisations suspect some of their customer and prospect data might be inaccurate, with more than half of organisations in New Zealand and The Netherlands admitting they do not know how much data is incorrect.

The research also takes a magnifying glass to the data efficiency of key industry sectors across the globe.

On average, organisations in retail and distribution suspect over a quarter (26 per cent) of their customer and prospect data has errors, compared with just 18 per cent in the not-for-profit sector. Despite these high levels of inaccuracy, almost three quarters of organisations Experian surveyed (71 per cent) believe that high-quality contact records helps increase efficiency – so the incentive to improve is definitely there.

Table 2: Average amount of data believed to be inaccurate in some way by sector

Other services Retail & distribution Utilities & telecoms Manufacturing & automotive Financial services Education Other public sector & not-for-profit organisations
26% 26% 25% 22% 21% 21% 18%


These figures show problems in data accuracy right across the board, and the natural ripple effect of this is that organisations start to doubt the quality and reliability of their data.

For organisations to manage data accurately and effectively, they need to develop a ‘data captain’ or strict data ownership practices. The allocation of ownership and assigning a specific department to take charge of data management, appears to be a problem in Australian organisations. More respondents in Australia (24 per cent) believe inadequate senior support contributes to their lack of trust in data records.

For organisations to perform at their best the importance of data accuracy needs to be taken seriously and the rewards of success will follow suit – maybe not in terms of a gold medal, but a greater return on investment in key business decisions that organisations make.