CaseWare - CaseWare Working Papers
From the August 2011 Review of Engagement & Trial Balance Systems
Best Fit: Firms that are looking to gain significant efficiencies in their financial reporting (no matter the size of the firm).
Basic System Functions:
The CaseWare Working Papers product is fairly easy to navigate, with standard icon and menu list options throughout the product. Like with other engagement applications, users will feel very comfortable performing routine tasks after just a short time. The trial balance and write-up features allow users to create financial statements in different basis of accounting (cash, accrual, governmental, etc.) with relative ease. When the user sets up the engagement, an accounting basis option allows them to choose the basis of accounting that fits the engagement. In addition to different bases of accounting, the product also allows for consolidations of multiple trial balances and funds.
Financial statements and footnotes can be created using the following:
- Built-in financial reporting software, CaseView, which provides the functionality of Word and Excel combined;
- Any of CaseWare’s add-on Template products, such as IFRS or GAAP Financials Templates; or
- CaseWare Connector, an add-on product that provides direct connectivity to Excel and Word
Both CaseView and the pre-built templates can create the table of contents, reports, financial statements and the footnotes. All financial statement components can also be tagged with XBRL..
Financial data in the program can also be easily exported into Microsoft Excel and CSV formats. Users are able to set up their engagement files to import from clients into a standard mapping that allows for significant engagement efficiency year after year. In addition to setting up templates for each type of engagement, Working Papers allows for customized financial analytics and detail analysis of the progress of each engagement. CaseWare also offers an additional service that allows the integration of U.S. and International accounting guidance.
Each file is secured with unique user names and passwords. The engagement manager can limit and restrict access to each engagement file on a granular level. The basic file structure is very similar to most websites and allows for multiple views of the files based on the user’s preference. The software works with a number of external document management systems such as Interwoven Workspace and Doc-IT DM, and the vendor is developing a proprietary document management system as of the time of this review.
Users and engagement managers can easily manage open items and create, clear, and delete review notes and tickmarks. A summary view for each user easily manages the individual or team workload to make sure the engagement is right on track. Working Papers allows access to a budget template, but the budget template does not capture time automatically to compare budgets to actual results.
Users are notified when changes to reviewed workpapers occur as well as when lockdown compliance rules are about to take effect.
Workflow & Collaboration:
Working Papers is designed for multi-user engagements, and there are two separate ways the system manages the multi-user environment to prevent data conflicts: (1) SmartSync, an automatic sync of all engagement data, which for documents retains multiple versions of each document; (2) Traditional “Check-in” and “Check Out,” which allows users to check out different sections of the engagement file and the user selects which changes are retained (the database file is normally saved on a server in this instance).
SmartSync automatically syncs all changes among online copies of the client file in the background, keeping all team members up to date and allowing them to work continuously, while also allowing team members to work offline until they are able to connect online. With each team member using their own computer instead of a central server copy, processing is very quick as compared to centralized solutions. In both of the above instances, the user can override the default settings and manually select the final version of a document.
Users of Working Papers can use any engagement checklist or practice aid preferred; users are not limited to any particular methodology. These documents are attached to the engagement file each year. The one drawback is that changes to these checklists and practice aids must be managed manually (e.g. there is no automatic update process for these documents). However, the file structure is easy to navigate. CaseWare also has CaseWare Audit International, which provides work programs and checklists, worksheets and risk documents. Users can easily add new procedures from the library or draft new procedures and documents, updating is automatic and there is a centralized risk tracking system.
CaseWare does not currently offer an online version of its software, although the software can be used in a Terminal Server or Citrix environment. As with most engagement software solutions, this product is primarily for use by accounting firms, but is also used by governments and corporations due to its ability to consolidate financial information across entities or funds, XBRL tagging and IFRS template option.
CaseWare offers many import/export features. All trial balance data can be imported from most major accounting packages as well as other major engagement/trial balance packages. Additionally, the Working Papers trial balance can be easily exported to major tax preparation packages including ProSystem fx Tax, UltraTax CS and Lacerte. The export to tax packages can be done multiple times without having to start the tax return over again. In addition to exporting to specific software packages, Working Papers can export files to Microsoft Excel and CSV formats.
Working Papers has an easy-to-navigate built-in support and Help section within the product. When you click help, the content retrieved is selected to assist with the active screen. CaseWare provides video training, self-study courses, public courses, a monthly newsletter and on-site training to meet the different needs of firms. Live telephone support is also available during normal business hours. Working Papers users can also access and download CaseWare RiskSpace content to help identify risks, related controls and management letter points, all available at no charge.
Summary & Pricing
CaseWare Working Papers is a full-featured product with a great financial reporting package. The system is best suited to a firm (no matter the size) that is interested in streamlining their engagement processes, especially the financial reporting process. Most firms will say they want to save time, but to realize the potential of this product, firms must be willing to invest time in the less busy times of the year to set up the product to their reporting specifications or license the GAAP or IFRS Financials Templates which gets users up and running in a far shorter time, while allowing them to set firm-wide standards. License pricing for accounting firms for CaseWare Working Papers is $500 for a single-user license. A license for up to five users is $1,500. Additional users can be added to the five-user license for $290 per user. CaseView is included with Working Papers. Connector is an optional add-on to Working Papers, and is available for an extra $60 per user. This license pricing reflects the accounting firm discount. Licenses renew annually at 50% of license value.
2011 Overall Rating: