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CCH Software User Documentation

Perennial checklists

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Perennial checklists are checklists defined for an audit area where the system retains the answers the user enters for the current year and 2 prior years.

Perennial checklists are checklists defined for an audit area where the system retains the answers the user enters for the current year and 2 prior years. The answers are not lost on a balance forward, but rolled back one year.

The master pack designer can vary the contents of the checklist from one master pack release to another and the system will adjust the contents of the checklist accordingly and retain answers for questions that still remain in the new pack.

To add or amend, the perennial checklists for an area, select the area from the Audit areas dialog and click on [Perennial Checklists].  The system will display the Perennial checklists dialog listing any perennial checklists that have already been defined for the area.
Perennial checklists dialog

Adding a new perennial checklist

To add a new perennial checklist, you select [Add] to define the checklist manually including the main headings, questions, sub questions and parts, or you can import checklists from files.  Importing is covered later in this section.

To use the first method, click on [Add] to display the Perennial checklist form.
Perennial checklist form

Enter a Reference and Name for the checklist and an optional Condition that will determine if the checklist is included in the client audit pack.

Suppress prior year answer

Selecting this option will disable the displaying of the 2 previous years answers when reviewing the checklist from the audit client.

Checklist Level

The checklist level options will allow the master pack designer to give an indication of the level of user who is expected to complete the checklist, manager or partner.

Adding or inserting a new Checklist question

There are two ways to add a new question to the perennial checklist for an audit area:

  1. Add a new question at the end of the existing question list.
  2. Insert a new question at a selected place in the list of existing questions.

To add a new question to the end of the existing list of questions, click [Add] to display the new question dialog. Alternatively, to insert a new test at a selected place in the existing list, click on the test above which the new test should be included, and click [Insert] to display the same dialog.

Note: if you insert the question in the wrong location in the list you can use the [Move Up] and [Move Down] buttons to re-sequence them.
New perennial checklist question dialog

As you can see, each question has a level, an optional condition, reference and ID, and a list of valid answers. Each question can be answered with one of the following answers:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Done
  • Not applicable
  • A number from 0 to 9

When you define a question you must indicate which of these answers are valid for the question. The fields in this dialog are as follows:


You can enter a condition on a question to determine whether or not the question is included in the client audit pack. When you click in this area the Conditions to test dialog appears to allow you to define the test.

Conditions to test dialog

Each checklist question can be given an identifier and you can enter a condition that will be dependent on the answer provided during completion. It takes the form PCL followed by the identifier and the test to carry out, e.g. PCLQ1030=Y.

If you cannot remember the syntax, or wish to select the question, you can do this from the [Select item] button. Click this and select Perennial checklist answer from the options available. The system will display a list of all perennial checklists available.

Double-click on the perennial checklist you require, then double click on the checklist question you require. You should then select the condition to test and the answer to check for from the selection lists provided to build the condition.

If in this process, you select a perennial checklist question that has not been allocated an identifier, the system will ask you to provide one with the following dialog:

Enter a unique ID and the system will amend the checklist adding the ID at the same time as composing your test.

When the checklist is in use the system looks ahead and if all items of a lower level are excluded because conditions are not met, the item will also be excluded. For example, if all sub parts of a question are excluded the main question will be excluded even if it does not contain a condition. Similarly, if all items in a checklist are excluded, the checklist itself will be inactivated even if it does not have a condition, or the condition passed.

For further details on how to enter a condition and the condition tests available, see page Audit Areas : specific Risk questions.


This determines the level of the question entered or identifies a heading. Main questions are numbered 1, 2, 3 etc, sub questions fall within a main question and are lettered a, b, c, etc. and parts fall within sub questions and are numbered 1, 2 ,3 .etc.. It does not matter what order you enter the questions as they can be repositioned, however, it will be quicker to enter the questions in a logical order.

Select the level of the question being entered. The first one will normally be a main question or heading.

The headings can be used to subdivide the checklist and give guidance to users.


Enter an optional reference for the question, if required.

Question identifier 

Enter a unique identifier for the question. This allows the question to be referred to in conditions and the answer to be tested. If the question is not to be used in conditions, the field can be left blank. The ID can be up to 30 characters and does not have to follow any predefined format. In the above example it is “Q1030” but “1030” would have worked just as well. If it had been “1030”, any references to the question would have been in the format “PCL1030…” see below for further details.

Valid answers 

This field identifies which of the allowable answers are valid for this question.

You can enter the options as a list of single characters representing the answers that are acceptable. For example, to allow answers of Yes, No, Done and numeric options 0, 1 and 2 you would enter “YND012”. The full list of allowable characters is illustrated in the Selection list dialog, illustrated below. The order in which you enter these characters is not important.

Alternatively, if you double click on the field the following Selection list dialog appears. You should select the valid responses from the list provided. The [All] and [None] button result in all or no items being ticked.  Then click [Store] to save this information.
Selection list dialog

Restricted Answers

This option will allow the master pack designer to restrict the available answers to questions where no comments have been entered by the user.

Test (and Test Guidance)

In the Test area, enter the text of the question. If you have indicated in the Valid Answers that one or more numbered options can be selected as an answer, you must identify the answer that applies to each number in this text. To enter guidance text to assist the user, after you have entered all of the text for the test itself, enter a line that only contains the text of [Guidance]. Then, starting on the next line, enter the guidance text.

When the question is displayed, the system only displays the text up to the [Guidance] line in programmes and checklists. For any questions that contain guidance, a red question mark appears at the bottom right of the cell showing the text of the test or question. Clicking on the question mark displays the guidance notes in the standard Guidance dialog. For more information on these formatting rules see page 111.

When you have entered all of the question details, click on [Store] to add the question to the checklist and clear the contents of the dialog to allow you to enter another new question. You are now free to enter the details of another question. For example, you may now wish to enter a sub question to a main question so you will need to change the Level setting.

When you have finished adding questions, click on [Abort] to close the dialog. The Perennial checklists dialog reappears and the new questions are included.

If you added guidance for a question, this is indicated on the dialog by the Guidance icon that appears in the bottom right of the Test Details field.


Editing a question

To edit a question, either double click on the question in the list, or select it and click on [Edit] to display the question details.  Edit this information as required and click on [Store] to save your changes. Clicking on [Abort] will clear the form without recording any changes that you may have made.

Deleting a question

To delete a question, click on the question in the list then click on [Delete].  The system will request that you confirm your actions before deleting the entry.

Re-sequencing the questions 

To move a question up or down one position in the Perennial checklist, click on the question then click either the [Move up] and [Move down] button. The questions are renumbered and re-lettered as the question sequence changes.

Shrinking (or expanding) the question details

By default, the Perennial checklist dialog displays all of the question text which will often use several lines in the dialog. If there are a large number of question this can be reduced to a single line by clicking the [First lines]. This button is toggle, so click the button again to display the full text of the test.

Printing the perennial checklist

Two print options are provided. Click [Print] to print the questions currently displayed on the dialog. Alternatively, click [Print all] to print a full list of all the checklist questions.

Exporting checklists

To export the perennial checklist currently displayed in a format that can be imported to another pack or a new area, click [Export]. The checklist details are written to an export file as plain text in a format that can be imported using the Import option explained below.

On selecting this option, the standard Windows Save As dialog appears will be displayed to allow you to select the destination directory and name of the file to create.

Importing perennial checklists

The Import option allows you to import perennial checklists into Audit Automation. The import file is made up of a series of commands contained in braces {…} and plain text. To import a file, click on the [Import] button and select the file from the standard Windows Open dialog.

The import file for perennial checklists takes the following format.

{Name Imported checklist}

{Condition #01/05=N}

{Head Reference}

This is main heading

{Quest }

This is the text to question 1

{Sub Reference sub}

First sub question

{Part }

Part 1 to sub question

{Part }

Part 2 to sub question

{if #01/01=Y}

{Sub Ref 2}

Second sub question, this one with a condition

{Head }

Another main heading

{Quest }

Question without a reference

{Quest Ref 3}

Question with a reference


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