A day in the life of Financial Reporting Manager Katrina Wald

By the time Katrina Wald was attending Dickinson (North Dakota) High School, she already knew that numbers were “her thing.” Being an avid sports fan, she regularly followed athletes’ statistics. Today Wald is still a sports enthusiast but uses her love of numbers for financial reporting, serving as Basin Electric’s manager of financial reporting and accounts receivable. 

For her and the financial reporting team, the first week of February is lovingly joked about as “hell week.” That’s because they not only have to close the books for January 2020, but they are also still pulling together 2019 data as they prepare for external auditors from Deloitte & Touche and Baker Tilly to come to the co-op.

Wald says the most stressful part of the process isn’t having the external auditors on-site, but actually preparing for their visit in advance. 

“Deloitte wants most of the information saved and ready before they get here, so it’s a big effort,” she says. “They may have follow-up requests when they’re here so we may need to supplement with further pulling of information or sitting and explaining things to them, but the bulk of the work is done upfront.”

Wald says the first three to four months of the year are the busiest. Month-end close is always busy, but her team now has additional work associated with the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulations. 

“Now that Basin Electric is regulated by FERC, we have a requirement to prepare an annual financial report, the FERC Form 1, and also will be required to prepare quarterly financial reports for FERC,” she says. “The year-end report is quite comprehensive, whereas the quarterly report is a more abbreviated version.”

Wald says her team has a good review process to cut back on discrepancies. 

“I look at each of the annual financial reports and verify each number before it goes to Deloitte,” she says. “If there are numbers that don’t agree, we get together to see why they’re different or if something was missed. It’s important to make sure we’re all looking at the information the same way.”

She adds that her team has great camaraderie, and that’s one of her favorite parts of her job.

“Everyone is open to new ideas and is supportive and willing to learn. We’re always asking, ‘Is there a better, more efficient way to do this?’”

Wald says one of the best parts about working at Basin Electric is the many opportunities to be part of cross-functional working groups.

“By participating in cross-functional teams, I have been able to be a part of projects that are much broader than finance,” she says. “There are a lot of opportunities to give your thoughts and collaborate, and it makes you appreciate the work others are doing. As I’ve gotten more familiar with the information I work with at Basin Electric, I see how my work affects others down the road, and that motivates me to do exceptional work.” 

Before joining Basin Electric, Wald worked with WBI Energy for 12 years in financial reporting and planning. When she saw an opening at Basin Electric in budgeting, she knew it was an opportune time to make a change. Two years later, she moved into financial reporting. 

“With the reduction in force, we lost three experienced people, but everyone stepped in and learned new duties. It was a good opportunity to try out new areas to see if you had an interest in an area you hadn’t been involved with before.”

In her free time, Wald likes to run and hike with her family in the Black Hills. She also still likes to watch sports and is the go-to person in her house for statistics. She particularly loves watching her three kids participate in sports and watching Phoenix Suns basketball.