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Using Audit Trails in QuickBooks

If you decide to allow multiple users access to the QuickBooks data file, you may want to turn on the QuickBooks Audit Trail feature. The Audit Trail feature lets you keep a record of who makes what changes to the QuickBooks data file. If you have more than one person changing the information in QuickBooks — in other words, you have multiple users working with the QuickBooks data file — you should select the Use Audit Trail check box. Be aware that using the Audit Trail slows down QuickBooks a bit. For this degradation in performance, however, you get a permanent record of who is doing what in QuickBooks.

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.

To turn on the QuickBooks Audit Trail feature, follow these steps:

1. Choose the Edit menu's Preferences command.

QuickBooks displays the Preferences dialog box.

2. Indicate that you want to change an accounting preference for the company data file.

To indicate that you want to use the accounting preferences, use the icon bar by the left edge of the Preferences dialog box to select the accounting set of preferences. (The Accounting Preferences icon appears at the very top of the list.) After you do this, click the Company Preferences tab.

3. Indicate that you want to use an audit trail.

To tell QuickBooks that you want to use an audit trail, select the Use Audit Trail check box and click OK. From that point forward, QuickBooks keeps a record of which users make changes to your accounting.

To produce an Audit Trail report, simply choose the Reports menu's Accountant and Taxes command and then select the Audit Trail command from the submenu.

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