Black Hills - SEC Testimonial



Mary Anne Wingert: There’s so much we like about the application. We like the fact that it—all the information is in one place, that the prior historical data is also there so that when we do comparative financials, we don’t have to retype that like we did in Word®. We can just—it’s all there in the document. It’s linked in. And the fact that one number that we use in maybe 10 places is in one location, so if we have to make a change, it runs through the entire document.

It has saved us 300 hours of time. We have everything in one place. The commenting piece of it is just phenomenal. They, the commenters, I used to get comments in red pen, couldn’t read their writing. I would get the same comment 10 times because it would be one document and not a dynamic document. And so now, I get the comment once, I can fix it if it’s an error. If it’s not an error, we can have a back-and-forth discussion with various parties, and say, “How do we want to word this?” and I think it’s not only saved my department the 300 hours that we’ve tracked, I think it’s also probably saved other departments on going through the documents.

This last quarter we actually had to make a change to our income statement five days before we filed. Well, it was easy. We made the journal entry, we ran all our income statement, balance sheet, made the changes to the footnotes, got all the information updated, and we filed on time like we had thought we would. And we used to file on the 40th day, now we file four days earlier. We’re not spending time doing things like footing. We’re actually doing more research. We’re doing more, we call it customer service, too. We have areas that we deal with that I can actually help the other areas in their close process on researching accounting issues or transactions that have occurred in various divisions.

We have three documents that are linked all together. We actually do two SEC filings: one for our corporation and then one for our Black Hills Power entity, and then we also have an earnings release linked in. And so one change in our corporate document will run through both those other documents if needed.

It used to be when we had a Word document, the earnings release was also in Word, and our investor relations department controlled that document, just like my admin controlled our corporate 10-Q and 10-K, and we would have to send changes to them on our sections of the document. So our earnings release is split between the messaging section and then the numbers section. Well, now I can go into the numbers section and make sure those changes are done as opposed to having to rely on investor relations to make sure that that information is correct and accurate and in there.

We have 75 people in the document making comments from about 30, 35 departments, including our external auditors and our external attorneys. And it’s great not having to have to read people’s handwriting and make sure that I addressed all the comments that are given and then we can have a back and forth discussion on those comments.

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