By Gina Calvert

Why Your Giving System Needs an Unalterable Audit Trail

This is part 3 in our How to Bring Your Church Back Office to the Future series. You can start with Part 1 or download our guide in PDF form to get all the steps at once.

What is an audit trail, you ask?

To understand what an audit trail is and why it matters, let’s start with a few simplified definitions church back office teams should be acquainted with:

An accounting method that focuses on accountability for money from various sources flowing into different funds.

The mechanisms, rules, and procedures put in place to ensure accounting integrity.

A date and time-stamped record of the history and details around a financial ledger entry. In simple English: No transaction can ever be edited without leaving a record.

For churches with accounting experts on the finance team, you’ll recognize the importance of this right away. For those without accounting experts, you can rest easy, knowing you don’t have to understand it all if your giving software takes care of all of this automatically. (Few do, unfortunately)

The Challenge of Finding a Giving System with an Audit Trail

Your church accounting system is governed by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to keep transactions and fund management on the up and up.

But if your giving system isn’t also GAAP-based, it becomes a weak link in the chain.

The internal controls that prevent fraud and error should be a baseline expectation in an online giving platform. But unfortunately, the simplistic way most giving systems manage transactions in the back office requires and allows workarounds for needed changes to donation designations, refunds, and issues like insufficient funds.

One of the most obvious internal controls to protect the system is an audit trail. Every change to a transaction is documented. No one can just add a couple of zeroes to a transaction and pocket the difference. Audit trails help with human error, too.

The Vision2 Audit Trail

We built Vision2 according to GAAP standards. We approach this problem proactively, automating our processes so that most changes occur seamlessly. You would rarely ever need to change a transaction. (A possible exception: Editing a gift designation at a giver’s request).

But most importantly, with our true fund accounting audit trail, no transaction can ever be edited without leaving a record of it. Our audit trail protects your staff, your volunteers, your funds … and your time.

To learn more about Vision2, reach out to us directly today.

Other blogposts in this series: