CaseWare has an outstanding history of providing trial balance, financial statement
and workpaper creation functionality. The company introduced new features in
2007 that improved engagement efficiency, strengthened document security, and
streamlined creation of electronic documents.
EASE OF USE — 4 Stars
CaseWare Working Papers is a very comprehensive application that has an extensive
feature set. The flexibility and automation potential delivered by CaseWare
comes at a price: The more you can do, the more that has to be learned. Firms
will benefit by taking a three-step approach to implementing CaseWare: Educate
a decision-making group to CaseWare capabilities, develop a plan that identifies
the specific features the firm will use, and then train team members on this
CaseWare supports a template approach (build it once and sell it many times).
This approach allows a firm to invest the resources needed to develop high-quality
financial statements, working papers and engagement processes, and to then reuse
them. Interestingly, the use of templates in this manner is the norm in Europe,
but has only been marginally adopted in the United States.
DATA IMPORT/EXPORT/INTEGRATION — 5 Stars
CaseWare imports client general ledger account information through a wizard
approach from an extensive list of specific vendor packages. Importing from
a list of GL packages makes it much easier for less-experienced staff to perform
the import function. Information can also be imported using a generic file import
The CaseWare Connector tool is used to integrate CaseWare information into
workpapers that are built in Microsoft Word and Excel by adding specialized
toolbars to these Office applications. The CaseWare Word Level Compare feature
allows users to keep changes that have been made to document content. Reviewers
can use this tool to focus on the changes that preparers make to standardized
documents that can be stored in ‘knowledge libraries’ of approved,
standard footnote wordings and other repeatedly used text. Caseware provides
linkage to tax applications via a text file export capability. To make it easier
to document important communications, Outlook e-mail messages, calendar items,
contact information, tasks and notes can be dropped into the CaseWare index.
CaseWare was one of the first tax and accounting software vendors to embrace
the XBRL standards and XBRL-GL standards for the electronic exchange of information.
As businesses, financial institutions and government agencies increase their
use of these tools, this capability will be a requirement of workpaper tools.
TRIAL BALANCE — 5 Stars
CaseWare’s trial balance has all of the expected capabilities related
to grouping, adjusting and reporting on general ledger information. CaseWare
Working Papers uses a “drag and drop” mapping process for creating
the links between general ledger accounts and lead schedules, tax lines, ratios,
and other grouping elements. Maps can be defined that are specific to a client
or “standard maps” can be developed independent of the client’s
chart of accounts. Accounts are then linked to these standard objects. This
mapping process promotes a very high degree of standardization and improves
FINANCIAL STATEMENT PREPARATION — 5 Stars
CaseWare Working Papers can create financial statements, reports and other workpapers
using either the built-in CaseView report writer or by linking information to
Microsoft Word and Excel. Many firms employ the Word and Excel approach because
it offers extensive formatting flexibility, but at the cost of a higher creation
and review time. Using tools that will automatically prepare a financial statement
or standard report with a minimal amount of customization or user interaction
can pay big benefits. An optional CaseWare Financials product provides predefined
statements that meet industry, regulatory and internal standards. Utilizing
CaseWare Financials will cut engagement time by creating high-quality statements
without having to perform word processing functions.
ENGAGEMENT PROCESS FEATURES — 5 Stars
From the engagement management perspective, CaseWare Working Papers offers a
complete set of capabilities. The Tracker Utility is used to develop an engagement-specific
view of the precise issues involved in the engagement. The Tracker Utility also
integrates with the CaseWare Time application for managing project information
such as actual, budget and other information.
The CaseWare index has document control and management capabilities. Any type
of electronic file can be stored in CaseWare. To eliminate the need to scan
outside of the workpaper tool, CaseWare can scan and import paper documents
as TIFF, GIF, JPEG, or PDF images. Electronic documents can be viewed via an
internal viewer rather than having to open a separate viewing tool. To make
it easier to document important communications, Outlook e-mail messages, calendar
items, contact information, tasks, and notes can be dropped into CaseWare.
CaseWare has check in/checkout features for controlling documents but also
supports the direct access of documents to facilitate rapid use and review.
CaseWare has a document lockdown feature to help firms comply with the new standards
relating to the control and data integrity of completed audits. This highly
automated lockdown system can be triggered when a set number of days has passed
from the release of the financial statement report. Document protection features
control access to documents at both group and specific team member levels.
CaseWare offers a number of add-on tools for Working Papers. The CaseWare
Review and CaseWare Audit modules provide planning tools, work programs and
other guidance tools to improve the workflow of audit and review engagements.
The CaseWare Scenarios module prepares a detailed analytical analysis of 70
key data elements. Scenarios can be used to identify potential issues in a client’s
financial information and can be used as a starting point for performing ‘what-if”
projections and goal seeking. CaseWare Benchmarking is a web-based service that
allows for the integration of benchmark data into CaseWare Scenarios to compare
client data elements to that of peer companies.
CaseWare provides users with an extensive feature set that will meet the needs
of a firm’s most demanding engagements. Single-user pricing for the CaseWare
product line is as follows: CaseWare Working Papers $499; CaseWare Connector
$99; CaseWare Financials $199; CaseWare Review $199; CaseWare Audit $199; CaseWare
Scenarios $199; CaseWare Working Papers Support Plan $199; and CaseWare Benchmarking
$250. Multi-user office licenses including support are also available.
2007 Overall Rating: 5 Stars