There are a number of steps to reduce the repetitive data inputting of information. Not only will you save time during the model development stage, and whilst operating the model for commercial purposes, you will reduce the risk of data input errors and enhance executive and other stakeholder confidence with the model.
Defined Cell Names
Instead of simply re-keying in business unit or asset names in each worksheet, why not enter the name once on an Assumptions worksheet and define the cell name. This will not just eliminate repletion and save time from data entry, but it will reduce the risk of errors or typos.
Like a defined cell name, the advantage of a drop-down box is it will streamline your data inputting. It will restrict inputting to a specific list, which will result in improved data input speed and reduce error.
Dependent Drop-down Boxes
Similar to drop-down boxes, dependent drop-down boxes assist in ring-fencing input parameters, relating to the value selected in the precedent drop-down box. A simple example would be the user selecting the state or province of the company, depending on whether the company is resident in Canada or the USA for corporate tax purposes, which would then limit the range of province or states to choose from.
Referencing the Same Data Array
Instead of keying in the financials into other worksheets, why not reference the same array of data, by copying and then selecting Go To Special, selecting the type of cells to reference and then reference the source data.
Data Import Worksheets
Instead of continuously referencing external cells on an ad-hoc basis, import the relevant information into one Model Import worksheet. Not only will you save time from opening external links constantly, but you will also avoid the need to update cell links randomly across the workbook. Any revision to a specific external file source will be automatically updated in the Model Import worksheet.
Final remarks on reducing time for data inputting
There are some vital measures that a model developer should adopt that will reduce repetitive data inputting with a strategic financial model. Defined cell names will eliminate the need for rekeying of certain elements. Drop-down and dependent drop-down boxes will limit certain inputs a model user can select. Whilst referencing the same arrays of data or referencing external cells from a data import worksheet will reduce the need for ad-hoc or repetitious external cell referencing.