No that is part of the question, but a completely separate point. I actually like your suggestion about using history and audit for this as this is precisely the kind of thing where history and audit should be used and would shine - it would be er a history and audit trail.
Knowing why something has changed is important because you can’t fix it until you know why.
The first question and most important question is to do with reconciliation of returns to government. These should always reconcile for legal reasons otherwise how does the government know that you are not cooking the books?
Let’s use VAT returns for example. I submit my VAT returns to the government. First I want my VAT returns in Manager to be the same as what I have submitted to HMRC. So in the event of an audit - everything is reconciled and there is no suggestion of me fiddling the books.
The second point is one of the current flaws in the current design is that there is no backup of my VAT return at the time of submission within Manager. I could submit it today, the program changes tomorrow - I have lost any snapshot of that return linked to that date. I have a backup of pretty much everything else. I should have a backup of anything that I submitted to the government. Not a backup that I can create half an hour before the audit, but one that is created at the time of submission and that I cannot alter. So a backup of the figures used to make that submission is missing.
By all means, let’s go with using history and audit to track changes to previous year’s submissions - as I think that is a good idea. Although I still don’t see how that will tell us why something changes. But having a backup within the program of government submitted paperwork that is stamped with the date of submission at the time is critical for points 1 and 2. To allow reconciliation with returns, proof that you are not cooking the books and lastly a copy of what the original figures were at the time. So I am still keen on a pdf copy for these points.
We need to reconcile manager return with online submitted return - hence pdf copy showing proof of this
We need a backup of original to compare with current - again pdf copy will have this. We should always have a backup for the exact same reasons we backup everything else!
History and Audit trail to show that something has changed and where.
Finally a method to reconcile the previous year(s) and understand why the figures have changed.