“Never trust anyone’s information without verifying its accuracy” (a gift quote from me to you). This concept can and should be applied to life in general but for now we will simply stick to the world of accounting.
Footing is a strange term but one that is often used in accounting. The term essentially means to calculate and arrive at a sum total. Accountants are bombarded by documents and emails that will contain information that will need to be entered into the accounting system and reconciliation spreadsheets. Even if this information contains a total, recalculate the numbers to be sure the information provided is accurate. Review the activity, check for reasonableness, and compare the data (i.e. compare beginning balances to ending balances). These steps will help you quickly spot errors, in cases where some exist.
In the movie Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding, Jr. convinces Tom Cruise to say “Show Me the Money!” In accounting, we say “Show Me the Proof!” When wanting to see proof, you are essentially asking for supporting documentation that will tell the story. Review the information, calculate the numbers, and check for validity.
Do you remember the Brothers Grimm tale of Hansel and Gretel? In case you’ve forgotten, in the beginning of the story Hansel left a trail of white pebbles in order for him and his sister to find their way back home. Look at this trail of rocks as an audit trail, it is a way to trace the roots of an accounting entry. While following the audit trail, check and recheck the numbers for accuracy. It’s also important to note that an audit trail is required for GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).