Is It Time to Upgrade Your Technology?

When determining technology needs and upgrades, many important questions should be considered: Is this the right time to consider a change? How will this affect the agency’s daily workload? When should we do it? Is this right for our organization?

Changing software or technology can be a big deal. Despite what some vendors might say, it’s a significant change that requires a well-thought out plan and good decision-making that will lead to a beneficial long-term solution.

Five Key Questions to Ask Before Upgrading Your Agency’s Technology

  • How Much Will It Cost and Do We Have the Funds to Support an Upgrade?
  • Read more >
    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Five Efficiency Hacks for Over-Worked Clerks

    Some days you want to pull your hair out. Some days you may have put on an entire wardrobe of “hats” to wear in your job. And some days you may gaze at that tropical island themed wallpaper on your desktop and fall into a relaxing daydream of a place far from your office–and that’s ok! It happens to us all.

    It’s at these moments when our eyes are tired, we have a headache, and we can’t remember what exactly we were doing two minutes before that we say to ourselves, “How can I make this better?”

    That’s the first step towards efficiency salvation at work. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged | Leave a comment

    Spring Clean Your Software and Systems

    T2014-10-03O-Nahere’s nothing like a good spring cleaning to help sharpen your tools and remove the dust and clutter, but one thing we often don’t think about spring cleaning is our computer system and software.

    Early spring is the perfect time (before finalizing budgets) to seriously evaluate your software needs and tools and determine what is or isn’t working for your agency. So put down your feather duster, and instead think outside your cubicle of how you can spring clean your processes.

    Spring cleaning your software means: 

    • Assessing your software and storage needs now and for the future
    • Setting aside budget for growing software needs
    • Sharpening your software tools and evaluating if there are any new add-ons or features you would like to integrate
    • Upgrading your version of software
    • Upgrading your storage needs
    • Identifying tools that will help you do your job better
    • Investigating other options for software that better suits your agency

    First, every agency should evaluate and assess what their future needs are and if the current software is meeting those needs. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

    City of Lava Hot Springs Switches from DOS to BMS

    From D-O-S to B-M-S

    We are excited to feature one of our newest clients, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, in our small town stories this month. This is possibly one of the most unique places we have ever featured.

    About Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

    Lava Hot Springs, located in Bannock County, has a few things that make it unique. Besides the fact that it has 102-degree water surrounding the 455-acre town, it also claims to be an “odor-free” natural hot spring! Just imagine, soaking in warm, mineral-rich water as you take in the surrounding beauty with a deep, detoxifying breath that smells of…nothing! Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Customer Spotlight, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged | Leave a comment

    How a Good Audit Trail Can Save You!

    T2014-10-03O-Nahere’s only one word scarier than “tax prep”: Audit. Regardless of how scary this word sounds, there are tools and processes available that can save you
    from a truly nasty predicament. Those processes include a thorough and comprehensive audit trail.

    Despite use of the word “trail”—which insinuates a long and lengthy process—the idea of an audit trail is actually very simplistic and feasible. Creating an
    audit trail is as simple as:

    1. Utilizing software that allows you to make notes on entries and changed accounting records

    2. Logging the details of the change or record for future reference

    3. Including in the audit trail details of who did what, when, how, and for how much, and

    4. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    8 Things Every City Clerk Should Understand and Know About in 2016

    T2014-10-03O-Nahe job of being a City Clerk requires wearing many hats: software user, recorder, reporter, coworker, conference-goer, accountant, social media expert, customer service provider, budgeter…there is no end to the many roles and tasks completed by city clerks on the daily. In honor of a new year that promotes continued learning and self-improvement, we’ve compiled a list of what we believe are the eight things every city clerk should know and understand for 2016.

    What the Cloud is?
    With so many agencies going to “The Cloud,” it is important to know exactly what this dreamy concept is and how it affects data computing and storage. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Five TED Talks for Government Employees

    Iwidth="300"f you’ve seen them before, you probably love them. And if you haven’t, you probably should: TED Talks.

    These fabulous, inspiring online speeches provide thoughtful, dynamic insight on a broad range of issues from democracy to music.

    Though often admired for their insightful talks about culture, lifestyle, innovation, and arts, we found five particular TED Talks that we believe are inspiring for Government employees: government innovation; building great cities; promoting change; city design; and one on open-source government.

    So, grab your lunchtime popcorn from the snack station microwave, grab a water bottle, and sit down and enjoy these work-related government TED Talks. Read more >

    Posted in BMS Staff, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

    Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookie Cure-All

    Just in Time for the Holidays!

    C2014-10-03O-Naookies. They can help any number of ailments: bitter coffee mouth, the miss your family holiday blues, and lack of yuletide-itis.
    If you didn’t already know, we’ve got a bit of a thing for cookies here at Black Mountain Software. In fact, we are so serious about our cookies that we do a blind cookie tasting every year to choose the perfect cookie. And we think the results are just…sweet!

    If you suffer from bitter coffee mouth or lack of yuletide-itis, and you’re yearning a super yummy remedy, we’ve got a cookie cure-all recipe that is sure to keep you from falling to “crumbles!” It’s the Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie recipe, inspired by our 2013 BMS Cookie of the Year. Read more >

    Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Guidelines for Government Gift Giving

    ‘Twidth="300"is the season of yuletide, carols, and…regulated gift giving?

    It might seem like there’s a tiny heart “two sizes too small” in the office of Government Compliance and Ethics when it comes to gift giving guidelines set for government officials. However, these policies exist to prevent the potential of a token of appreciation becoming an incentive, bribe, or obligation.

    That’s not to say you can’t show appreciation for your fellow government officials and coworkers; gift giving is perfectly acceptable as long as the laws, regulations and gift giving guidelines are followed.

    The basic theory behind government gift giving is this: if it can be conceived as a bribe, or sway a government official to make a particular decision, it’s ILLEGAL. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Ten Depression Busters for Winter Blues

    IFeel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org  This microstock required lots of post processing to get the blue tint. I also needed a bounce card to  get more detail in the glasses.t’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but often, the mix of cold weather, overindulgence and the financial stress of the holidays can leave many feeling the winter blues.

    If you are in a seasonal funk, there are a few things you can do to help improve your everyday mood. Check out our Ten Depression Busters, which can help brighten your spirits this holiday season and beyond.

    Ten Depression Busters for the Winter Blues

  • Don’t overindulge. Winter holidays are synonymous with mashed potatoes and gravy, pies, desserts, and alcohol. What you eat and drink can have a huge impact on how you feel, so try to maintain as normal eating patterns as possible so you can feel your best.
  • Read more >
    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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