Meet Amber Mulvey, a BPA accountant who dives into Power Services’ business and programs and translates that activity in BPA’s financial statements.


I feel like I get the best of both worlds with my job, where I get to learn about the front line operations and then see it all the way through to reporting in our financial statements.

Amber Mulvey, Accountant

How would you explain your job to your neighbor, so they not only understand what you do but what BPA does and its role in our region?
I tell people I work for an agency that provides reliable, affordable and clean power to the Northwest. As the accounting subject matter expert for Power Services, my job is to ensure the accuracy of financial data for a variety of Power products and services. This includes evaluating contracts for appropriate accounting treatment and performing analysis, which supports the preparation and audit of the Federal Columbia River Power System financial statements. 

The utility industry is constantly changing and in order for BPA to adapt and be competitive, I have to be ready to provide accounting services for new BPA projects and initiatives, which keeps my job challenging and fun.

How does your work support BPA’s mission and strategy? Be as specific as you can.
My work ensures BPA’s revenues, expenses and balance sheet items are properly recorded. We have to stay up to date on changing accounting standards, as well as BPA’s new contracts and initiatives, so we can confirm the financial statement reporting is complete and accurate. 

We also look for opportunities to standardize and simplify accounting processes where we can. All of this supports BPA’s goal of sustaining financial strength.

How does your work help BPA keep rates low, stick to budget, reduce debt or generate revenue?  Do you have an example?
Accounting is responsible for ensuring our financial data is accurate and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This directly correlates to our annual unqualified or “clean” audit opinion. Receiving a clean audit opinion is an important piece of BPA’s credit rating, which in turn keeps costs low and gives our stakeholders a positive perception of our financial accountability. Accounting also provides analysis to support BPA decision-making around different projects and initiatives.

A new or technical aspect of my job that I enjoy is: 
BPA’s entrance into the Western Energy Imbalance Market this year introduced new products and systems that we had to learn how to account for and reflect in our financial statements. Working as the finance liaison to the WEIM initiative over the past year allowed me to meet and connect with people in the business lines that I wouldn’t typically work with, as well as learn a lot more about the business and market. I feel like I get the best of both worlds with my job, where I get to learn about the front line operations and then see it all the way through to reporting in our financial statements. This experience opened my eyes to how many smart and talented people we have working at BPA! 

The coolest or most surprising thing about my job is:
There is so much more to accounting at BPA than just debits and credits. I get to dive in and really learn about the business and different programs and then translate how that activity is reflected in our financial statements. 

Also, we complete our audit and publish our fiscal year-end financial results faster than any other wholesale power marketer or municipal bond issuer (out of nearly 10,000 entities)!

I like working at BPA because:
There are endless opportunities and the people are the best! I have had the opportunity to work on many projects and learn about different parts of the agency. I feel fortunate to work with such great people who are supportive and talented at what they do. From day one, I have never been afraid to ask questions and I appreciate that people want to help each other learn. The training and development programs are a huge bonus. I have worked at BPA for 10 years and feel like I have barely scratched the surface on all there is to learn, which makes me excited for the future.  

Safety is a core value at BPA. How do you incorporate safe behavior (See, Say, Do) into your practices and environment?
Because I have a desk job, I find proper office ergonomics and taking breaks to be important. Especially when teleworking over the past few years, I notice I can get caught up in work and forget about correct posture or taking breaks. I appreciate the mandatory quarterly safety trainings and the opportunity to learn about safety topics I can apply to everyday behavior. 

My most memorable story while working at BPA is:
Getting to tour the Bonneville and The Dalles dams, as well as the Celilo substation. Having a chance to see into the operational side of things was inspiring and helped me connect my daily work to BPA’s mission and the bigger picture.  

Tell us about your notable accomplishments, past jobs, awards, published work, etc.
This year, I was awarded Finance Employee of the Year, which was a big honor. I also authored BPA’s first revenue recognition accounting policy. 

What leadership behaviors are most important to you, as a leader and as a worker?
Over the past year, I gained a greater understanding and appreciation of BPA’s leadership behaviors through the Aspiring Managers program. One thing that has stuck with me is you do not have to be in a formal leadership position to be a leader; every employee has the opportunity to be a leader at BPA. 

The leadership behavior that is most important to me is “value people.” I believe our workforce is our most important asset, and showing genuine appreciation for others goes a long way. Even if that is just a simple thank you, taking time to recognize the work and effort of others is so important. 

Another component of value people that is important to me is performance and development. There are so many opportunities for development and growth at BPA, and having this as a leadership behavior encourages our management team and employees to make time for it. I have been fortunate to work with great leaders who have invested in my performance and development, and I believe this is fundamental for our future workforce and success. 

What respect and dignity tip is most important to you? How do you demonstrate respect and dignity?
The respect and dignity tips that are most important to me are “acknowledge others” and “assume positive intent.” These have become increasingly important over the past several years while working in a virtual environment and losing that face-to-face interaction. It is important to have a working environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas or perspectives, even if not everyone agrees. It is also important to start conversations or interactions assuming the other party is coming from a place of trying to understand rather than criticize. This helps keep the “one BPA” attitude and focus on our goals.

I demonstrate respect and dignity by treating everyone equally and empathizing with my co-workers’ life situations, both inside and outside of the workplace. I try to be a good listener and encourage those around me. When respect exists in the workgroup, it makes it a more positive and productive environment.  

My favorite thing about working and living in the Northwest is:
The Northwest is such a unique place, and I have to remind myself not to take it for granted. I love that we can experience such diverse landscapes all within a short drive. I have a lot of pride when traveling around the Northwest and seeing BPA’s footprint, whether it be the dams, transmission lines or the rivers. It makes me proud to live in the Northwest and work for an agency that provides such important resources for the area. 

Two things I can’t live without are:
Coffee and animals!

I am inspired by (people or places):
My younger sister. She has faced health challenges from a young age but never let that stop her from following her dream and focusing on the positive things in life. 

Are you a member of one of BPA’s Employee Resource Groups?  Which one?  Have you participated in the group’s activities and events? 
I am a member of the Women’s Resource Group and attended several of the speaker and brown bag events. It is a great opportunity to network with others in BPA I do not work with on a regular basis, as well as learn about a variety of interesting topics. 

Where did you go to school? What did you study? What attracted you to that/those subject(s)?
I studied accounting and attended Mt. Hood Community College and then transferred to Eastern Oregon University’s Portland satellite campus. This allowed me to participate in the BPA student program while completing my degree. My dad, a BPA retiree, has an accounting degree and I have always loved math, so I knew from a young age this is what I wanted to do. My high school offered several accounting courses, which allowed me to get exposure prior to college and confirmed my career choice. 

Did you serve in the U.S. Armed Forces? If so, what branch and what did you do?
I did not serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, but I feel honored to work alongside so many amazing veterans every day.  

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