Have you ever come across a situation when you wanted to know who posted a transaction in QuickBooks and why?
Both the QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online platforms provide the answer of at least “who posted a transaction” in the form of an “Audit Log” for QuickBooks Online (Gear Icon>Tools>Audit Log) and an “Audit Trail” in QuickBooks Desktop (Reports>Accountant & Taxes>Audit Trail).
The Audit Log for QuickBooks Online is much more of a user-friendly function than its counterpart in the Desktop version because you can filter the data and sort by columns as part of the function in itself, whereas in the Desktop version you cannot sort by columns unless you export the report to a spreadsheet. Also, the customization options in the desktop audit trail are not very helpful unless, again, you export the report to a spreadsheet. Even then, you have to be a spreadsheet wizard to be able to narrow down to the data you need; especially for very long, complicated reports that span many years.
In the QuickBooks Online version, you can easily find who made a particular entry from within the entry itself, instead of having to resort to the Audit Log each time. To find this, just click on “More” at the bottom of the transaction, then click on “Audit History.” There you will find the date of who made the entry, as well as who edited the entry later on.
Audit Trails and Audit Logs are very important in any financial database for security reasons. Too many times I have come across situations where the client or the CPA has asked me about a particular entry that was made (as if I made it), but after reviewing the Audit Trail/Log, I can steer their inquiry to the actual person who made the entry.
In order for Audit Trails and Audit Logs to work, each and every user in your financial database must have their own login access (even if you have to pay for extra user accesses). This way, each user can be specifically identified for every single entry made in your financial database. Do not cut corners and share logins amongst different people because you never know when you will need specific critical information after-the-fact.
To illustrate this important concept: I recently converted a Quicken file (with many years of history) to a QuickBooks file for a new client of mine. When I analyzed the data in QuickBooks, I discovered that many (incorrect) shortcuts were taken in a previous tax year and inappropriate entries were made. However, because Quicken (at the time of this writing) does not have an audit trail, there was no way of telling which bookkeeper in the previous tax year made these erroneous entries. My client could not specifically inquire into the staffed bookkeepers (or ex-bookkeepers) in his own company as to why the entries were made. Because we couldn’t learn the reasoning behind these entries, the only thing we could do here was correct and move on.
Note: AccuraBooks is a bookkeeping firm only, so please consult with your Certified Public Accountant for verification and clarification about the contents of this article.