CaseWare Working Papers: 3 Tips for an Even Faster Year End

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Posted by Darryl Parker - 06 October, 2015

Topic(s): Tips and Tricks, Best Practices

Whether you are doing quarterly SEC filings or annual PSAB / GASB financial statements,  you want to get your financial reporting tasks done as quickly as possible. Who has time to wait while their computer struggles to keep up?

You read about how so many others have automated their financial reporting with CaseWare. You bought CaseWare Working Papers to get these same results. But is your computer preventing you from achieving an even faster year end?  

The official minimum requirements can be found here. This article will further investigate these requirements, give you 3 tips to improve CaseWare's performance and give you a list to send to IT so they can order you the perfect workstation.

Operating System

Working Papers runs on the Microsoft Windows operating system.  Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10 can all be used, but Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, or CaseWare International. If you are using Windows XP, you should make immediate plans to upgrade. At the time of writing, (October, 2015) Windows 10 is fully supported by CaseWare International, but there have been some issues with compatibility. Users should be cautious about using Windows 10 with mission-critical software which has not had a chance to be fully vetted against the new operating system.

Further, if you have the opportunity, selecting the 64-bit version of Windows 7 / 8 will facilitate improved performance as these operating systems can take advantage of larger quantities of RAM.

Users with Apple or GNU/Linux cannot run Working Papers natively; you will need to run a Virtual Machine system with one of the supported versions of Microsoft Windows installed in it. 

Hardware

At the date of writing, CaseWare International lists these as the minimum technical requirements of the program:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
  • Minimum 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit Wroking Papers or 2 GB of Ram for 64-bit Working Papers.  4 GB and 8 GB respectively are recommended for improved performance.
  • Program requires 500 MB free hard drive space.
  • A monitor with 1280 x 1024 resolution or higher.
  • Internet access is required during the installation of Working Papers.
  • Additional Components
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 11.0 or higher, as per the Internet Explorer life cycle.
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10.0 or higher.
    • Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 3, 2010, 2013, 2016, or the desktop version of Microsoft Office 365.

 Security and permissions

  • Installation requires local administrative rights to the workstation.
  • Use of Working Papers requires read/write access to the program folder and any folders containing client files.

However, in FHBINC's experience, these minimum specifications may provide very poor performance if you are working with larger or more complex files (especially those files containing a large number of consolidation entities).

Key Factors in Working Papers Performance

The following are key considerations for performance of Working Papers:

Location of the Data File

Many people work with their CaseWare Working Papers file located on a remote, networked file system. This has many advantages, most importantly the ability to backup and protect the files.  However, networked storage is often much, much slower than the hard drive located on your computer.

TIP #1: For users working on their files located on a remote file system, the number one thing you can do to improve performance is to move the file on to your local computer.  This can be accomplished either by:

Processor

CaseWare Working Papers is not written to take advantage of multiple cores in your computer's CPU.  Frequently, modern processors are designed with many lower-speed cores, and Working Papers does not perform well on these chips.

TIP # 2: For optimum Working Papers performance, focus on maximizing single-core speed. 

RAM

 32-bit operating system:

 64-bit operating system:

  • 64-bit versions of Windows are able to make use of a much larger amount of RAM. Although Working Papers 2014 (and earlier versions) are 32-bit applications and only able to use 4 GB of RAM, your computer will benefit from the additional memory for all of the other programs you are running. For this reason, we recommend at least 8 GB of memory.
  • CaseWare International has released a 64-bit version of Working Papers. Thus, the application itself will be able to make much greater use of RAM.

Tip # 3: Plan for the future. Considering the low cost of RAM, follow the "More is Better" rule. 

Hardware specifications for IT

Desktop:

To maximize the performance of large / complex Working Papers files running on the desktop:

  1. Opt for the 64-bit version of Windows 8 or Windows 10
  2. Get a 4th/5th Generation i5 or i7 processor with a base clock speed of 3.2 Ghz or higher
  3. Order 16GB or more of RAM
  4. Ask for a SSD (solid state drive) if the Working Papers data file is going to be on the local computer

Thin Client:

If you will be using a thin client approach to providing large / complex Working Papers files to end users, recommendations become a little more complicated. For simplicity in our recommendation below we assume potentially 20 concurrent CaseWare users: 

  1. Opt for Windows 2012 R2 Standard or better.
  2. Get a Xeon E5-xxxx v3 or newer processor with at least 8 cores, no slower than 3 Ghz in a dual processor setup.
  3. Order 64GB or more RAM.
  4. Ask for an enterprise-grade SSD (solid state drive) in a RAID array and the Working Papers data file hosted on this local computer.

Some assumptions about these Thin Client recommendations:

  • As user count increases, systems resources must also increase
  • No virtualization is anticipated in the above specification. If virtualization is to occur, more RAM may be required
  • Network interface must be at least Gigabit 

For more on this topic(s), see: Tips and Tricks, Best Practices

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