What are ’Master Files’?

What is a master file?

A master file is a CaseWare engagement file that is built internally by a firm. It is not a complete template, but rather an engagement file being used as a blueprint to minimise engagement setup processes for the audit team.

A master file can be setup to contain specific firm workpapers, risks, controls, reportable items and tickmarks that are not currently set within the Audit System template. The Audit team can then create new engagement files based on the master file, or blueprint provided within the firm.

Note: Master files are only permitted for Audit components. The FinancialsIFRS files does not support Master files.

 

What is the difference between a master file and Audit System template?

A master file is not a template . A master file is essentially an engagement file that is being used as a base, or blueprint, for the audit team. The master file still requires the Audit System template installed. A template contains a physical engagement file but it also includes scripts and dialogs that are used to run all engagement files. No Audit System engagement files can run without the Audit System template software installed.

 

What are the benefits of a master file?

One of the business cases for electing to use master files is when a firm has a number of ‘like clients’ in an industry, such as schools or councils or body corporates. In this situation, they may choose to build a master file that contains all the workpapers, risks, controls and reportable items relevant to that particular type of audit, pre-setup within the master. For example, if we were building a master file for Body Corporates, we could then include all body corporate related risks and tag them appropriately to the master file programs, checklists, controls and reportable Items. This is a good way to improve efficiency because most of these industry specific audits will contain similar risks, controls, etc.

 

What are the disadvantages of a master file?

Master files are a great idea, but you do need to manage them appropriately, otherwise you can find your engagement files and teams becoming confused and overwhelmed. The key consideration that firms must remember is that all master files must be treated like standard engagement files at update time , and the update process must be run through on each.

CaseWare Australia & New Zealand only recommend that firms use master files if they are prepared to develop good policy around the appropriate use of master files to ensure:

  • you are protected in case of staff turnover

  • junior auditors are appropriately monitored and are not assuming all risks are contained within the master file

  • audit teams are clear on clarifying or documenting special cases or risks, even when using a master file as a basis for the audit

  • master files are updated appropriately when a new Audit System template which complies with the standards, is published.

     

Whose responsibility is a master file and all engagements created from the master file?

Any master file created by a firm, is the firm’s responsibility.  They must ensure the file is always up-to-date with the latest template from CaseWare Australia & New Zealand.

   

What items can I pre-setup in a master file?

Almost anything that can be done in a standard Audit System engagement file, can be done in a master file.

 

Before we build a master file what are the decisions that need to be made?

  1. Ensure you allocate a Master file champion. This is critical as they will be the point of reference around updates and also in charge of keeping all PCs and Terminal servers up-to-speed.

  2. Develop and monitor a strong firm policy around the use of Master Files.

  3. Develop an update process for your new and existing engagement files, particularly those that were created using a Master File. 

  4. Always consider CaseWare Australia and New Zealand's updates when preparing a new or updated Master File.

 

What is the recommended approach for using a master file?

We recommended that an experienced CaseWare and Audit System team member take responsibility for creating the master file.

Creating an engagement master file: 

  1. Create an engagement file from the Audit System template
  2. Modify and tailor the engagement file to your requirements
  3. distribute this engagement file to staff member (e.g. via the network drive or Cloud)
    Note: If you are using the cloud, set the Viewer permission so that the parent copy is not modified.

 

Creating a new engagement based on a master file:

  1. For Cloud, download a child copy of the master file first
  2. Open CaseWare Working Papers and create a new Engagement file
  3. Select Existing File...
  4. Browse to the location of the master file
  5. Select the master file
  6. Click Open

 

How does a master file interact with the engagement update from CaseWare Australia & New Zealand?

Update process for master file:

  1. This must be performed by the Master File Champion
  2. Install the updated template 
  3. Open the master file, and perform template update
  4. Make changes to the file as required
  5. Re-distribute the master file

 

Update process for engagement file:

  1. Install the updated template 
  2. Open the file, and perform template update
  3. Use Copy Components, to copy any new updates from the master file

 

 

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