audit trail


Definition of audit trail

: a record of a sequence of events (such as actions performed by a computer) from which a history may be reconstructed

Examples of audit trail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The audit trail is years behind schedule and recently launched its first phase while still missing some key functions. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Machine Trading Needs More Oversight, Departing SEC Official Says," 21 Dec. 2018 And the whole system will need to provide an audit trail of user actions—including who initially marked the classification level, where, and when, as well as classification upgrades and downgrades. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "DOD seeks classification “Clippy” to help classify data, control access," 10 July 2018 Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina all rely exclusively on electronic voting machines without a paper audit trail. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote," 10 May 2018 Rather, the transaction on the blockchain would eliminate high costs, provide a system for accurately logging the transactions, and process payments in real time with a verifiably true audit trail. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "J.P. Morgan Files Patent for Blockchain-Powered Payments," 4 May 2018 The new software produces an audit trail that documents any changes made to the accounts. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Dayton 'double billing' result of new software," 4 Apr. 2018 Michael Daly, CTO of Cybersecurity and Special Missions at Raytheon The committee is recommending that states make sure voting machines have paper audit trails and aren’t capable of being connected to the internet. Mary Clare Jalonick, Washington Post, "Senators press Trump officials on safeguarding 2018 ballots," 21 Mar. 2018 The auditors did note that there were no formal policies authorizing the fundraisers, or audit trails regarding the money. Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Prison promises pizza if inmates donate cash to charity | Miami Herald," 26 Jan. 2018 The development of the audit trail has often been caught in red tape and industry fights over who will pay for it. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Exchanges Cite Hacking Risk of SEC’s Planned Market Data Repository," 15 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'audit trail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of audit trail

1954, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

23 May 2019

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The first known use of audit trail was in 1954

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audit trail


Financial Definition of audit trail

What It Is

An audit trail refers to the complete record of events that occurred in the execution of a transaction.

How It Works

When a transaction is executed (e.g. a business purchase), each documented step taken makes up the audit trail. Depending on the transaction, the audit trail can be highly complex or very simple.

For instance, the audit trail for the purchase of a carton of milk would consist only of the receipt for the transaction. This receipt details the exchange of cash for the item purchased (milk), the date, and the institution where it occurred (the store).

Why It Matters

The records comprised in an audit trail can be reviewed with diligence in the event that accounting figures fail to reconcile. Recreating a transaction step-by-step will reveal where a breakdown in the process occurred (if any).

Source: Investing Answers

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