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SmartSync: Getting started guide


Table of contents


Overview

Working on an engagement with a team of accountants can require additional planning and preparation. When preparing a Trial Balance or generating client reports with others, it can be essential for the group to work in unison and communicate updates to each other as they are made. This is necessary to reduce redundant work and eliminate wait times on shared files or documents. SmartSync can help facilitate collaboration by reporting updates on an engagement file to you in real-time, while resolving user conflicts automatically.

Some benefits of SmartSync include:

  • Real-time, automatic synchronization of file changes
  • Low bandwidth usage for synchronization (only changes you make to the file are synchronized, rather than the entire file)
  • Work online or offline (changes are shared the next time you connect to the network)
  • Synchronization of data in the field between engagement staff
  • Access to the entire file without the need to sign out or check out documents

Specify the default synchronization behavior

You can specify the default synchronization behavior for each document, or for the entire file. The default synchronization behavior affects CaseView and external documents, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PDFs. For files with large external documents, or for off-site Working Papers files, we suggest that you adjust the synchronization frequency accordingly to improve performance.

  • A circular green icon that represents active SmartSync synchronizationAutomatic: The file or document syncs automatically with the parent file and other sync copies when changes are available. A file cache is generated for each change in the saved document. This behavior is suggested for small to average sized files and documents.
  • A circular yellow icon that represents on-demand SmartSync synchronizationOn Demand: Changes are cached locally and synchronized together when clicking Synchronize All Documents on the Synchronization Status icon, or right-clicking a document and clicking Sync Now. This behavior is suggested for large files and external documents.
  • A circular grey icon that represents disabled SmartSync synchronizationNever: The file or document does not synchronize changes and is excluded when clicking Synchronize All Documents on the Synchronization Status icon.

To specify the default synchronization behavior of the file:

  1. In Working Papers, open the sync copy where you want to specify the default synchronization behavior.
  2. On the ribbon, click Tools | Options | Advanced.
  3. Under Default Document Synchronization Behavior, select an option. Click OK.

The default synchronization behavior is specified for the file.

To specify the default synchronization behavior of a document:

  1. In the Document Manager, right-click the document where you want to specify the default synchronization behavior and click Properties.
  2. Click the Synchronization tab.
  3. Under Synchronization Behavior, click the Document synchronization frequency drop-down menu and select an option. Click OK.

The default synchronization behavior is specified for the document.

Note: You can enable a column in the Document Manager that displays the synchronization behavior for each document. Right-click a column header in the Document Manager and click Show | Sync Behavior.

Create a sync copy

To start using SmartSync, you must create a local sync copy of your Working Papers file. You can consider this local sync copy as your personal copy of the file. All modifications to the sync copy will synchronize with the parent file, and subsequently, any other users with their own local sync copies.

Before you create a local sync copy of your Working Papers file, you can specify the default path where the file will be stored on your workstation.

To specify the default path:

  1. On the ribbon, click Tools | Options | Default Paths.
  2. Under SmartSync Path, click Browse.
  3. Navigate to the location where you want to store your local sync copies. Click Select Folder. Click OK.

The default path for local sync copies is specified. You can now create a local sync copy.

To create a local sync copy:

  1. In Working Papers, open the file where you want to create a local sync copy.
  2. On the ribbon, click SmartSync | Create Sync Copy.
  3. A confirmation prompt displays. Click OK.

The sync copy is created on your local workstation in the default path. Click SmartSync | Go Online to begin synchronizing your sync copy with the parent file.

Notes:

  • The name of the file folder containing your local sync copy is automatically appended with (Sync). For example, file ABC Limited creates the local sync copy in the folder ABC Limited (Sync).
  • You can open a sync copy similar to any standard Working Papers file. Sync copies are labeled with a synchronization icon on the File menu.
  • When closing a sync copy, you are typically required to close external documents (such as Word or Excel files) that are used in the file.

Determine the sync status

You can view the current status of a sync copy from the Synchronization Properties dialog and the Synchronization Status icon in the Status bar. Each icon represents a different status.

Status Description

N/A

A grey SmartSync icon with the word 'N/A' in the SmartSync section of the Working Papers Status bar

The file is a parent file with sync information.

Publishing

An icon of a globe with the word 'publishing' in the SmartSync section of the Working Papers Status bar

The file is being published to a SmartSync Server or Cloud.

Online

A green SmartSync icon with the word 'online' in the SmartSync section of the Working Papers Status bar

The sync copy is connected to the parent file and is actively synchronizing new changes.

Syncing

A green SmartSync icon with the word 'syncing' in the SmartSync section of the Working Papers Status bar

The sync copy is connected to the parent file and is currently synchronizing new changes to or from other sync copies.

Online

A yellow SmartSync icon with the word 'online' in the SmartSync section of the Working Papers Status bar

The sync copy is connected to a another sync copy (not the peer parent) and is actively synchronizing new changes.

Syncing

A yellow SmartSync icon with the word 'syncing' in the SmartSync section of the Working Papers Status bar

The sync copy is connected to another sync copy (not the peer parent) and is currently synchronizing new changes to or from other sync copies.

Offline

A grey SmartSync icon with the word 'offline' in the SmartSync section of the Working Papers Status bar

The sync copy cannot access the parent file. Changes to the file are cached locally until a connection is established.

Work offline

You can continue to work in your local sync copy when you are offline or simply cannot connect to the location of the parent file. When working in an offline state, your changes to the sync copy are cached locally on your workstation and will not synchronize until the file returns online or reestablishes a connection with the parent file.

To work offline:

  1. In Working Papers, open the sync copy that you want to work on while offline.
  2. On the ribbon, click SmartSync | Work Offline.

The sync copy switches to an offline status. If you do not have an active internet connection, the file will switch to offline automatically.

When you return the file to an online status, your changes will synchronize with the parent file and other sync copies.

To work online:

  1. In Working Papers, open the offline sync copy.
  2. On the ribbon, click SmartSync | Work Online.

The sync copy switches to an online status. If you made changes to a document that was modified while you were offline, you may need to resolve synchronization conflicts.

Manage the parent file

Every file in a synchronization hierarchy has a _Sync folder where changes are temporarily stored. Opening the file automatically applies these changes to ensure the file is up-to-date.

While the parent file typically does not require you to open the file to apply the latest changes, doing so will apply the changes to the shared engagement file which can reduce the overall size of the _Sync folder. Maintaining a smaller _Sync folder can improve performance by decreasing network bandwidth usage.

As long as you have access rights to open the parent file, you can open it as you would any other Working Papers file. When there is a synchronization hierarchy in place, we suggest that you do not make changes directly to the parent file itself, but rather to your local sync copy.

Publish a parent file

You can publish Working Papers files to a SmartSync Server or CaseWare Cloud for use as a parent file in a synchronization hierarchy.

Prerequisites:

To publish a parent file:

  1. In Working Papers, open the file you want to publish.
  2. On the ribbon, click SmartSync | Publish or Cloud | Publish. The Publish to Server dialog displays.
  3. Select the applicable SmartSync Server or Cloud server from the drop-down menu. If applicable, select the SmartSync Server folder where you want to publish the file. For Cloud publishing, select the entity where you want to publish the file. Click OK.

The parent file is published to the server. If the process is interrupted, the upload will automatically resume after a connection is re-established.

Back up a file

You can create a backup of your Working Papers files in the form of a compressed copy.

Prerequisites:

To back up a Working Papers file:

  1. In Working Papers, open the file that you want to back up.
  2. On the ribbon, click File | Back Up. The Back Up dialog displays.
  3. Enter or Browse for the location where you want to save the backup copy. The full path, including the name of the file, must be 260 characters or less.
  4. Select whether or not to include sub-folders from the file's folder, and if applicable, to include the Sync folder. Including the Sync folder will maintain links between the backed up file and its parent copy.

    Click OK.

The file is compressed and copied to the specified location in a folder labeled Backup of [filename] (mm-dd-yyyy hh-mm-ss AM/PM).

Notes:

  • The Sync folder backup is renamed to _Sync_ to ensure it will not join the existing SmartSync hierarchy when restored. To fully restore the file and rejoin the sync hierarchy, rename the folder to _Sync.
  • If you are restoring a parent file from a backup, ensure that both the parent and child copies are online so they can synchronize any new events. If possible, we suggest that you generate new child copies from the restored parent file.
  • When opening files from File | Open, ensure you deselect Create a Synchronized Copy to avoid creating another sync copy.

Abandon sync copies

When you need to make changes to a SmartSync parent file, you are often required to synchronize and delete all sync copies first. In some situations, such as users being offline or workstations being decommissioned, sync copies can become lost or inaccessible, preventing you from modifying the parent file.

To bypass this problem, you can abandon these inaccessible sync copies. Abandoned sync copies will no longer be able to synchronize with the parent file unless they are reconnected.

To abandon sync copies:

  1. Open a sync copy that is connected to the parent file.
  2. Perform a Lock Down (Engagement | Lock Down), Cleanup (Engagement | Clean Up), or Maintenance (Tools | Maintenance) on the file.
  3. In the Wizard, select Abandon Outstanding Synchronized Copies.
  4. Complete the Wizard as required.

The inaccessible sync copies are abandoned. You can now modify the parent file.

Notes:

  • We suggest abandoning sync copies prior to finalizing a Working Papers file.
  • If you open an abandoned sync copy, it will attempt to locate the original parent file. If a parent file is found, ensure it is the original parent file before attempting to reconnect. If a different parent file is found, we strongly suggest you do not connect to it, as it can result in significant synchronization conflicts.
  • If your organization utilizes CaseWare Tracker, you can abandon sync copies from the Tracker interface.

Clear synchronization information

After deleting and abandoning all remaining sync copies, you can clear the synchronization information from the parent file. Clearing synchronization information deletes the _Sync folder and all of its contents from the Working Papers directory, returning the parent file to a non-sync state.

Returning a SmartSync file to a non-sync state is primarily useful when making changes to the parent file or providing the file to users who do not utilize SmartSync.

To clear synchronization information:

  1. Open the parent file in Working Papers.
  2. On the ribbon, click SmartSync | Clear Information.
  3. In the confirmation dialog, click Yes.

The synchronization information is cleared from the parent file. The file is no longer a SmartSync file.