What is an Audit Trail?
An Audit Trail Is a Critical Piece of Any Business Process
An audit trail provides verifiable evidence that a sequence of tasks or activities have been performed as part of a process or operation. In a workflow context, an audit trail refers to the tracking, capturing, and reporting of all tasks, activities, participants, times, dates, and actions related to a particular workflow or business process. An audit trail, therefore, provides explicit who, what, when, where, how information used to either confirm that tasks were performed as expected or identify errors.
In a business process, workflows tend to follow a fairly linear, step-by-step method where tasks are assigned and completed in a standardized order. Exceptions can be predicted and alternate paths can be taken but for the most part, these processes are predictable. Activities that occur within the process can easily be traced back to the source. For instance, a finance director who approved a purchase. By using an audit trail, anyone who needs to know who made this particular approval can easily find out not just who, but:
In the screenshot example below we show a sample audit trail derived from Integrify. Integrify's "Request Detail" is completely configurable by administrators, allowing for the removal or inclusion of summaries, KPIs, Open Tasks, Completed Forms, Related Requests, Request Records, Task History, and Reports. You can read more about this configuration on our Help Site.
In this example, the process was for a Competitive Discount Request Form. At the top, you can see a summary of where the process stands, which is "Approved with Adjustments."
Below that you can see that two forms were completed, both by Tom Rezk. For the sake of space, we cropped out the dates they were completed, but those are typically visible.
Audit trails can be used internally and externally for a variety of use cases.
Depending on your industry (especially healthcare, finance, government contracting, insurance, etc.) you may be subject to a regulatory audit. Government agencies can use the audit trail you provide to review and confirm that proper standards were followed and that you can identify sources.
Companies that have strict corporate governance and compliance initiatives can use audit trails to ensure corporate policies are being followed and root out both errors and corporate malfeasance.
An audit trail can show examples of areas for improvement in a process. For instance, if there are frequent mistakes or delays unearthed by reviewing the audit trail, workflow administrators can look for opportunities to improve forms, copy, routing, etc. and ensure a better end product.
By reviewing audits with new employees, trainers can show examples of how a process is supposed to be followed from beginning to end and provide insight to new employees about the importance of following standards.
To see how quickly you can begin automating your business processes, request a demonstration or trial of Integrify.
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