I have had several clients ask me over the past few months about the Audit Trail. A couple of the questions that have been asked were: How do I understand and utilize the Audit Trail? and What does the column names "State" mean and why does dome data display in bold?
The audit trail is always on (since the database change in 2006). While there have not been many changes in the report since then, it is useful in looking for what has changed in a file.
The "State" refers to the historical progression of the transaction. "Latest" is the transaction as it is (in its current state) in the QuickBooks file (i.e., how it appears on the general ledger and any other reports). "Prior" is the transaction as it was previously. For example, if a transaction is listed with a "Latest" entry and three "Prior" entries, this means the transaction has been edited (or changed) three times since it was first entered.
From the date and time stamp you can determine when the entry was changes and which user made the change (assuming good business practices are followed and every user has a unique login and password rather than using Admin). It is also possible to determine who changed the report.
Just a quick side note: when someone leave, do not delete the user, since the Audit Trail report will then be blank for that user. Instead, change the password. The same is true if there is turnover for a position. Don't give the new person the previous person's login information. Setup a new user and password. Otherwise, you will not know what the new user entered and what the old user entered.
Finally, the information in bold is what has been changed. I was very excited when this feature was added several versions ago because you can now quickly scroll through the report to see what has changed.. For example, was it just a memo that was changed, or was it actually an amount.