Guest Blogger Philip’s CPA Journey: Tracing and Vouching – What made it finally click!

Philip is a resident of the great state of New York, but has inspired and motivated fellow Roger students through online forums and social media platforms across the globe. Philip has already passed FAR, and is currently preparing to tackle AUD in November.

Hello!  My AUD exam is creeping up on me extremely quickly.  I have a little over 200 hours in studying along with the videos.  I have also worked ALL of the multiple choice questions at least three times.  I am now finally scoring in the 90s.  But there was one topic that kept catching me – tracing vs. vouching.  The rest of this blog will discuss the brick wall I hit, and what finally made it click.
At this point, if you have gone thru the AUD course, you are well aware that tracing is going from the floor to the book, while vouching is going from the book to the floor.  Tracing deals with completeness, while vouching deals with existence.  This simple concept was my nightmare, causing me to send an SOS to the Roger CPA Review Facebook.
I kept getting tripped up on the details of the questions: purchase order to invoice to voucher, inventory tag to book, etc.  I hated it.  Being a federal government accountant, I decided I had to make this applicable to my world.   Working for the Army, I pass tanks every day to my office.  So it clicked Tracing starts with a T as do tanks.  I realized that if I start with a tank and follow the audit trail back to the general ledger, I have just traced the completeness of that asset. 
I quickly got pumped and thought about our internal ERP system and business processes.  I oversee accountants who certify purchase requisitions, forward them to contracting for the issuance of purchase orders, receive invoices and compare them to receiving reports.  Once all reconciled, the system produces a voucher for payment.  Hmm, that sounds exactly like Rogers lecture on operating cycles.  The details finally made sense for tracing and vouching for the operating cycles.  Tracing and vouching finally clicked.  It made sense.
The key for me was to stop doing the questions and just think about how tracing and vouching applied to me.  I also want to note that this eureka moment came while studying another section.  Some advice: if you havent quite mastered a topic, thats ok, keep moving forward, especially if you have a hard exam date.  Just like my FAR course, difficult topics clicked well after I moved onto other topics.  Since then, I have gotten all tracing and vouching questions correct.   I hope you found this helpful for you studies!

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