CaseWare International Inc. - CaseWare Working Papers

From the August 2009 Review of Engagement & Trial Balance Systems

CaseWare Working Papers is one of the many product offerings from CaseWare International Inc. Working Papers can be used as a standalone product or integrated with other CaseWare products that manage the following: financial reporting, data analysis, time and expenses, and benchmarking.

Working Papers is a client/server installed application. As with most software applications in the public accounting market, the application will need to be installed on each individual desktop/laptop computer. The application may be installed on a network and accessed using Citrix or Terminal Server, in which case individual desktop/laptop installation is not required.

Once the product is properly installed, it is fairly easy to set up and use. Someone within the firm will need to set up user rights and import information and data into the product, but this is not a difficult task. The learning curve is quite short, but I suggest that each firm designate a product champion to teach the firm how to use the product as desired. CaseWare offers additional training courses aimed at helping your firm use Working Papers more effectively.

As mentioned above, Working Papers is just one of the many products offered by CaseWare. All of the vendor’s products are designed to integrate with one another. Once information and data is entered into one CaseWare product, this information can be integrated and shared with most, if not all, CaseWare products. Information sharing is quite simple and easy to do. In addition to integration among CaseWare products, trial balance data can be imported from most engagement and trial balance products such as ProSystem fx Engagement, Engagement CS and others. Trial balance data can also be exported to most major tax products on the market. Firms can also import trial balance and/or detailed general ledger transactions from most major accounting packages including QuickBooks, Sage and other vendors. See the company website for a detailed listing of all import and export integrations.

In addition to sharing accounting data with other applications, Working Papers allows users to easily integrate with third-party audit and accounting practice aids. To convert practice aids into a PDF or MS Office format, the user can attach it to the Document Manager. Practice aids from other vendors work well with Working Papers, but the user might lose some of the intended functionality or collaboration of the practice aid.

As previously noted, any MS Office file can be attached to the Working Papers Document Manager. Once the MS Office file is attached to the binder, the user simply clicks on the file and it opens in the appropriate MS Office application. Once you are finished editing, simply save the document. This also includes Outlook items, which allows user to easily move email data to audit documentation. As well, CaseWare Connector, an add-on to Working Papers, allows users to connect data between Working Papers to MS Word and Excel documents.

The most impressive workflow feature for Working Papers is the ability to create financial statements and footnotes with one of the product add-ons. This streamlined process allows firms to quickly create GAAP and IFRS-compliant financial statements in a much more efficient manner. Setup of these add-ons requires a little bit of a time investment in order to make them work properly, but the firms I have talked to say it is well worth the time and effort.

Working Papers has some nice engagement management features that allow each user to manage their roles easier. A user can either directly enter the product and start working or see an overall picture of the engagement by viewing the “dashboard.” This allows each user to see the status of each engagement, such as what tasks need to be done, which tasks have been reviewed, what is the status of the review notes that have been left by the reviewer, which tasks have not been assigned, etc.

Once the engagement is completed, Working Papers has some nice roll-forward options. It allows you to determine if you want to overwrite, delete, roll-forward or update items in the Document Manager. This is a nice option that saves time at the end of each engagement.

CaseWare Working Papers is a very nice engagement product. The product is set apart due to its ability to create workflows around the engagement reporting processes. A firm can achieve significant efficiencies in the reporting phase of an engagement. A single-user license for CaseWare Working Papers is priced at $499; a license for up to five users is priced at $1,399; additional users are added at $260 per user. Licenses renew annually at 50 percent of the license value.