From the August 2005 Review of Engagement & Trial Balance Software
In a sense, CaseWare has long been the TB workpaper management software to benchmark against. Unlike most of the other vendors, electronic workpapers has been the foundation of its product line since the company’s inception. CaseWare is designed to tackle the most comprehensive and sophisticated TB-based engagements that you are likely to encounter. That is why it is deployed at one level or another in the top 10 accounting firms. On the other hand, it may not be best suited for the sole practitioner or small firm that is focused primarily on simpler compilation and tax return TB engagements.
Learning Curve – 4 Stars
Due to the fact that CaseWare has the deepest and broadest scope of features and functions of all the products in this category, it is not as easy to learn. If you want to harness the power and efficiency of this system effectively, you must be prepared to invest the time and attention to really learn how it works. Having said that, the user interface is essentially as easy to work with as any of the packages reviewed here. It’s more an issue of learning and understanding the scope of the entire system.
Import/Export/Integration – 5 Stars
Since CaseWare does not have the scope of accountant practice applications that some of the other leading vendors offer, the company has focused on integration both on the inbound and outbound information flow as a primary feature. This is to your benefit since it eliminates the pressure of having to stay within a product suite at the expense of foregoing the option to implement the TB workpaper engagement software best suited for your practice.
Some examples of the depth of functionality in this category include the ability to import TB account balances or full GL transaction detail. It offers import utilities for nearly every popular accounting software on the market, with fully automated QuickBooks importing. The help guides available to import from individual packages are second to none in terms of detailed instructions provided. This is a significant advantage in that this is one variable in the workflow that your firm has limited control over (with regards to selecting the client’s software package for them).
On the outbound side, a data export utility is available for most all of the major tax preparation software packages. In addition, you can format a generic export file. As far as integration with other applications, CaseWare provides integration with Word and Excel for customized workpapers.
Trial Balance – 5 Stars
The CaseWare TB features are as comprehensive as you might imagine. The feature set can be overwhelming at first, but as you become more familiar with the system and take advantage of the various standards and templates that can be established, you will appreciate the scope of its capabilities. The following are some of the more notable features of the CaseWare trial balance:
The bottom line is that the CaseWare TB is a powerful tool that provides a considerable amount of flexibility to meet the needs of your firm’s engagements.
Workpaper Management – 5 Stars
CaseWare has one of the most comprehensive WP management systems available. The more complex your TB engagements are, the more you’ll appreciate your ability to leverage the power of the system. Some of the notable features include the following:
To summarize the WP management features of CaseWare, you’re unlikely to run into a limitation for which
you can’t find a work around. The main issue will be developing the depth of knowledge to optimize the use of the system for your engagements.
Financial Reporting – 5 Stars
CaseView is the powerful reporting module that generates your financial statements, as well as any other customized workpaper reports. CaseView utilizes an interface that combines the appropriate features of Word and Excel into a single application. This allows you the best of both worlds in terms of using word processing features for formatting the text and spreadsheet features for formatting the financial information.
One particularly noteworthy feature is that if you add or delete a financial statement note, the system will automatically renumber the entire set of notes.
CaseView is a complex report writing tool that will require an investment in the learning curve. However, once this application is mastered, you will be able to format financial reports to your exacting standards. In addition, once you set up firm-wide templates for financial reports, the setup time per client engagement will be significantly reduced.
Overall Value – 5 Stars
CaseWare unquestionably offers the most comprehensive features and functions of all of the products reviewed here. The larger the firm, or the more complex the engagements, the greater the value CaseWare brings to the table. The vendor has taken many steps to simplify the use of the software for “lighter” engagements. Sole practitioners and very small firms in which most TB engagements are completed from beginning to end by the same person may not need all of the horsepower CaseWare provides. However, the company has many small firms in Canada and other countries that have taken advantage of the ability to turn off a lot of the advanced features and use the program effectively. CaseWare Working Papers costs $499
for a single user; $1,299 for up to five users. Additional pricing is available from the vendor.
2005 Overall Rating – 5 Stars