USPAP’s FAQs Adress Electronic Report and Workfile Storage
In the 2012-2013 edition of USPAP, two Frequently Asked Questions (#92 and #93) address issues relating to electronic storage.
FAQ #92. Electronic workfile storage
Question: Recently I have considered maintaining only electronic workfiles (i.e., saving only electronic versions of my reports and supporting data, and scanning any paper documents used so that copies may be stored on electronic media). Is this prohibited by USPAP?
Response: No. There is nothing in USPAP that would prohibit an appraiser from maintaining only electronic versions of workfiles.
The Record Keeping section of the ETHICS RULE states, in part:
The workfile must include:
- the name of the client and the identity, by name or type, of any other intended users;
- true copies of any written reports, documented on any type of media;
- summaries of any oral reports or testimony, or a transcript of testimony, including the appraiser’s signed and dated certification; and
- all other data, information, and documentation necessary to support the appraiser’s opinions and conclusions and to show compliance with this Rule and all other applicable Standards, or references to the location(s) of such other documentation.
As long as an electronic workfile contained these items, it would be sufficient.
An appraiser must also be mindful of the requirement to have access to the workfile for the applicable required time period. The appraiser must ensure that the proper software is maintained to allow access to the electronic files.
FAQ #93. Paper Copies of Electronically Transmitted Reports
Question: Are appraisers required by USPAP to retain a paper copy of electronically transmitted appraisal reports?
Response: No. The Record Keeping section of the ETHICS RULE requires appraisers to prepare and retain written records of appraisal, appraisal review, and appraisal consulting assignments. However, the Comment states:
A photocopy or an electronic copy of the entire actual written appraisal, appraisal review, or appraisal consulting report sent or delivered to a client satisfies the requirement of a true copy.
Therefore, a paper copy is not required.
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