Tag Archives: Software

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

Dealing with Change: Tips for a Seamless Software Conversion

7K0A0190How many times have you heard the words, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” from a co-worker’s mouth? Most likely, a lot! So when it comes time to make a change—in assigned roles, vendors, software, or processes—it can be difficult! Especially when we’ve grown so accustomed to a certain way of doing things.

In the wise words of Socrates, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

At Black Mountain Software, we understand what it means to ask a county, municipality, school or utility to change. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hardware That’s Not So Hard

by: Barbara Thomas, Support Specialist and Guest Blogger for the BMS Utility Billing Team

I’m a technophobe at heart. If I even have to plug into a USB connection on my computer, my hands shake. Nonetheless, so many of us are surviving, even thriving in the workplace thanks to devices like computers and printers and digital phone lines. Consider how smartphones have changed our lifestyles and eliminated the need for maps and telephone books and such, saving space and time for us.

Thanks to technology, even more labor saving devices can be really simple to use and can enable quick and accurate data entry and free up time that can be better spent performing customer service with a smile. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All About: Billing Calendars

calendar-27077_640 copyWhen it comes to paydays and money availability, there is no such thing as a “typical” utility customer. Some customers receive their entire month’s income all at one time. Some are paid weekly. Others may rely on regular, but random paydays throughout the month. The best a utility can do is time bills consistently so the customer can anticipate, and budget, for their billings. Customers appreciate their services being reliable, and on a reliable billing schedule.

30-Day Billing Cycle

In one of the Black Mountain Software mini-training sessions, we review our recommended Utility Billing Calendar for folks who bill monthly. The best-case scenario for a utility biller is a system based on an end-of-month billing cycle. Read more >

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Things to Consider When Choosing a Mac vs. PC vs. Tablet

tablet-314153_640 copyBuying a new computer or device can be a challenge, especially with so many choices to choose from. Should you buy a Mac, PC, or tablet? Each has its own pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, and things they can or can’t do.

There are many factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding what type of computer is best for your situation. For instance, tablets are great because they are small and mobile. Macs are secure, but everything is proprietary, so it can be difficult to find software and games that are compatible (in fact, Black Mountain Software is currently not compatible with Macs and Tablets). Read more >

Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Saver Tip: P-Card Credit Card Management Software by BMS

English: mock credit card statementAre you already enjoying or still just thinking about getting in on the BMO P-Card rebates that MASBO is sharing with Montana school districts which use BMO’s Procurement Card (P-Card)? The P-Card and most bank credit cards offer sophisticated controls and aid in reducing paperwork. Rebates based on use activity are making P-Cards a particularly hot topic. They seem like the sweetest thing since Splenda!

As sweet as it all seems, tracking credit cards and vendor purchases can be quite a task for the school district clerk. For example, maybe you need to find an invoice but can’t remember when the item was purchased. Read more >

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Time Saver Tip: BMS’s Budget Prep Software Helper

school budgetingGuest Blog By: Teresa, BMS Sales Manager and former Montana school clerk

In the life of many school accounting and municipal accounting professionals, there is a time of year far scarier than October 31: budget preparation season!

If you are a clerk who dreads starting next year’s budget process, due to worrying that you may put the wrong equation in your Excel spreadsheet or may forget to add a one-time expenditure, Black Mountain Software has a solution for you: our Budget Preparation module.

When it comes to preparing your school or municipal budget, there are so many little things to remember, check, and double-check. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, BMS Products, School Software | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Utility Billing Software Enhancements: Autopay, Email, and Paperless Billing

English: email envelopeAny more, few of us remember the days of typewriters, carbon paper, and hand-written bills. As we continue to embrace technology, even those who grew up in the days of massive paper files can find ways to execute their very own Paper Reduction Act.

Monthly billings don’t come without mixed feelings at the offices of most Black Mountain Software Utility Billing clients. It’s what they do, and it makes their world turn, but it can be so much work with most municipal utility billing systems: print the bills, sort the bills, and stuff them in envelopes. Then there’s the postage and the post office, and their job doesn’t stop there! Read more >

Posted in BMS Products, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tools for Users: Black Mountain Software’s Built-in Online Help

online help bmsGuest Blog by Barbara Thomas, Support Specialist

Back in the last century when my husband brought home his first PC, he wanted to learn everything about it. Doing this required printing a user manual (several hundred pages long) off the computer. About a tree’s worth of paper and one printer cartridge later, it was finally ready.

After patiently adding paper and watching the ink drain and dredge from the vessel, it didn’t take long to wean us from the printing habit when it came to using the computer. Neither of us referred to the printed manual in the four-plus years of the computer’s service; it sat on a shelf until we remembered it was a one-sided print job and we could use the reverse side for everyday printing (office paper recycling was a challenge to find back then). Read more >

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Small Town Stories: Deary, Idaho

Deary, Idaho

BMS welcomes the small town of Deary, Idaho to our family! Deary, with its population of 505, has lumber homesteaders who made their way there during the 1880’s and 1890’s to thank for their rural northern Idaho lifestyle.

Timber, along with agriculture, remain the main industries of Deary since its establishment in 1907.

Deary is a product of the Potlatch Lumber Company, like many of its fellow communities along the Idaho railway such as Elk River, Bovill, and Potlatch. Unlike Potlatch, however, the town of Deary was created by the sale of lots which were to be lumbered and then cleared solely for the purpose of creating homelands. Read more >

Posted in BMS Partners, Customer Spotlight, Small Cities | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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