Fraud Protection through the QuickBooks Audit Trail

Every version of QuickBooks includes a detailed accounting audit trail so that you can see a record of each financial transaction as it is added, changed, or deleted. In just a few clicks you can see who made the changes and exactly what changes were made throughout the history of a transaction. The audit trail is always on and cannot be turned off by anyone. If you have multiple people accessing your QuickBooks data, it’s particularly important to keep a detailed record of every action taken. QuickBooks ensures that you will always know exactly who changed information so that you can investigate missing transactions or suspicious activity.

An audit trail is a sequence of transactions that validate each accounting entry. These transactions could be anything from an invoice for payment to a receipt for an expense. Audit trails are extremely useful for maintaining security, for fraud protection, and for recovering lost transactions.

QuickBooks automatically maintains an audit trail for you and you can access it anytime by navigating to Reports > Accountant & Taxes > Audit Trail. The Audit Trail is a comprehensive list of each action taken inside QuickBooks. To get more information about a particular transaction, simply double click on its name in the Audit Trail and you will go directly to that transaction. If a transaction was deleted, you can click on its name to see details about what used to be in that transaction.


Note: If you archive a company file and indicate that the company file should be condensed, QuickBooks clears the audit trail before the “removed closed transactions on or before” date. In other words, for the period of time in which QuickBooks removes old, closed transactions, it also removes the audit trail of those transactions.

Changing the Information shown on the Audit Trail Report:

Although the Audit Trail report defaults to today’s date, you can easily change the date range at the top of the screen. To do this, simply select the period you want from the Date Entered/Last Modified drop down list or enter a date in the From and To date range.


As you might expect, the Audit Trail Report may contain a lot of data, so you may need to trim down the data shown. To do this:

1. Click the Customize Report button.

2. Click on the Filters tab.

3. Choose Transaction Type from the Filter List, and then choose Multiple Transaction Types from the Transaction Type list. As shown below, you can then select one or more transaction types to display.

4. Click OK twice to display the newly customized report.


Note: Even with changing the filters and date range, you may still have a tough time navigating the report. Unfortunately QuickBooks does not allow you to search the report onscreen, however, you can easily export the report to Excel or another program so that you can carry out your research.