08 July 2013

Troubleshoot Profile and Permission Set Changes with the Setup Audit Trail

For many organizations, auditability is treated in a similar way to keeping tax records around for the past ten years;  you know that you need it, but you're not sure you'll ever use it unless you are audited.  As a result, it's not typically the first tool that admins will use when troubleshooting a user's access.  Many admins I talk to never even realize that this feature exists.  If you haven't seen it before, go to:
Setup | Administer | Security Controls | View Setup Audit Trail  

The setup audit trail is designed to capture many of the common changes that take place under Setup.

The advantages to the setup audit trail include:

  • Easy to determine who made a change to setup and when it was made
  • Easy to troubleshoot a granular change that was made to a profile since we now track both the old and new values of the change
  • Easy to download detail to a spreadsheet in order to filter and sort the data by user, time, or action
  • Easy to track Login-As Delegate User actions when users are logged in as another user

We track the last 20 changes on the screen and for any changes beyond that, you can download a CSV for the past 6 months of changes. I find it helpful to filter by time when troubleshooting a change, since I usually know about when the change took place.  Most recently, I helped with a customer case where I was able to recreate the timeline of events related to how the customer moved profile and tab changes between sandbox and production instances.

An audit is rarely fun, but having an audit trail can be more than just a way to protect yourself, it can be an invaluable tool for you to troubleshoot a user's access as well as changes to your profiles.


  1. Adam,
    New admin here- never realized this existed! As you mentioned most admins don't realize it- but this is really useful to know as we have multiple developers/admins working on a build.

    1. Thanks Anderson for your comments! Let me know if there are any topics you'd like to see covered on this blog - happy to take requests if it'll help you. Thanks!

  2. Setup Audit Trail is awesome. But I learned the hard way last year that some extremely important data is not included. Namely, if an admin changes an org from standard to custom fiscal years. I'd love to say that everyone with a System Administrator profile knows what they're doing and would never make a change that came with warnings that it couldn't be undone and can fundamentally change an org's data structure, but we know that's not always the case. https://success.salesforce.com/ideaView?id=08730000000iQY3AAM

    1. It's true - not everything is captured in Setup Audit Trail. The documentation provides some clarity on what is tracked. I'm sorry it's not as complete as you might need. What kinds of changes besides fiscal years would you expect to be tracked that aren't today?

      I just voted that idea up as well btw. thanks!

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