Yearly Archives: 2012

All Roads Lead to Polson, MT: The Journey of Two New Hires

Based on popular feedback following the fall conference season, we’d like to highlight a couple of Black Mountain Software’s newest members of our team: David Morton, Customer Solutions Coordinator, and Pat Cook, County Support Specialist.  Both David and Pat have “been around the county block” so to speak, and have an exciting vision for the future development of Black Mountain Software’s county customers.

Though David says he is a bit embarrassed that his experience “shows so much” that he “could use some wrinkle cream,” he is proud that his journey began—and now continues—at Black Mountain Software.  As one of the first employees at BMS in 1993, David started his days working out of Vice President Jack Liebschutz’s converted garage.  With very little computer knowledge to back him up, David put on his learning hat to help him interpret the “scroll of gibberish on the computer monitor” into something he could learn from.  Trying his hand at testing, support, training, demoing, sales, marketing, and HR—to name a few—David has learned a lot about business, making him an even bigger commodity to BMS today than he was in ’93. Read more >

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Cut the Time It Takes to Reconcile UB Payments

by: Jen Carlson, BMS Installation Team Lead/Senior Support Specialist

Are you tired of taking hours to reconcile your utility billing deposits to your bank statements? Take a load off, and let the utility billing software by Black Mountain Software help you with your cash handling procedures!

You can lessen the time spent reconciling utility billing payments to your bank statement by simply sending your receipt journal voucher to Accounting EVERY time you take a deposit to the bank.*

For example, let’s say it’s the fifth of the month and you are ready to take money to the bank. Once you are done entering into the system all payments to be included in the deposit, immediately do this:

In BMS Utility Billing, go to:

  • Reports >
  • Detail Reports >
  • Collections Journal >
  • Collections Journal Condensed >
  • [OK] to preview >
  • [Yes] to include Payment Types on Summary >
  • [Yes] or [No] to section (depending on if you have sections) >
  • [Enter in a date span of the first of the month to the fifth of the current month]
  • OK >
  • OK >
  • OK >
  • OK >
  • This report should total what you have in cash and checks to take to the bank. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Staff, BMS Tech Tips, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Cut the Time It Takes to Reconcile UB Payments

    Winner of Tea Drawing Announced

    We are excited to announce Angela Kamm of Isla Vista Recreation & Park District (an unincorporated community of around 23,000 adjacent to Santa Barbara, California) as the winner of our Free Tea/Software contest!  Angela was excited too, stating that being announced as winner is “Totally Amazing!” and “Perfect!”  And how could the chosen winner have been more perfect?  Angela is not only originally from the tea-drinking country of England, but she only drinks organic tea  – which, coincidentally, is exactly the kind of tea we put our name on for this marketing campaign.

    “You couldn’t have found a better winner! I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink alcohol. Read more >

    Posted in BMS Events, BMS Products, Customer Spotlight, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Winner of Tea Drawing Announced

    How to Throw an Office Party that Sizzles

    Oh yes, it’s that time of the year.  ‘Tis the season of peppermint mochas, ugly reindeer sweaters, and office parties.  Since we know that a lot of our municipal clerks and school and utility personnel are in charge of throwing their office shindigs, we thought we would provide some tips for creating a holiday party that sizzles–not fizzles–this holiday season.

    How to Throw a Sizzling Holiday Office Party

    Review the Policy on Holiday “Spirits.” For government offices and schools, make sure to check policies about serving alcohol on the property well in advance.  You might decide to hold the party off-site if that’s an important factor for you. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Throw an Office Party that Sizzles

    Cold as Ice: How to winterize your home

    ice-kaleidoscope

    Oh, the weather outside is frightful alright! And now is a great time to remember all the steps it takes to get the inside of your house delightful. We thought we’d post some good winterization tips to share with not only our fellow clerks, but also for our cities and districts so they could pass these tips along to their citizens.  After all, winterizing keeps you safe, efficient, green, and warm and prevents your home from being COLD AS ICE.

    C – Clean Gutters. Clean and remove debris from gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Make sure downspouts take water away from the home’s foundation to prevent flooding. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Cold as Ice: How to winterize your home

    Small Town Stories: Scobey, MT

    Which town in Montana has a courthouse that used to be a brothel, people as its second-largest export, and 35 renovated historic buildings which now host amenities such as a trapshooting range and a hydrotherapy pool?  It’s Scobey, Montana, and this town has a whole lot of character jam-packed into its tiny one-square mile footprint.

    Scobey may be a small town, but there’s no lack of personality in this community.  In fact, the many restored buildings have been much of the buzz around town for years, possibly beginning as far back as 1915 when what is now the Daniels County Courthouse was home to One-Eyed Molly’s, a “house of ill repute.”

    Beyond the courthouse, Scobey is home to a newly expanded school complex, a newly renovated hospital and nursing home, a full service airport, a 9-hole golf course and clubhouse, municipal pools, ball parks, a movie theater, two grocery stores, and several other industrial and professional service buildings. Read more >

    Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Customer Spotlight, Small Cities | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

    How Post Office Closures Affect Small Towns

    English: The United States Postal Service Cont...

    Back in June, we featured an article about the town of Pray Montana, which was for sale for $1.2 million.  What made Pray so special?  Well, despite having only 10 residents, Pray has its own zip code, and its own post office.

    In a time where digital documents are replacing paperwork, and email is replacing “snail mail,” small town post offices are less commonly “open for business.”  In fact, the Internet, is more or less, “killing the post office.”

    But, as many towns are finding out, the Internet can’t replace every aspect of mail service, and small, poor towns, stand to lose the most with a post office closure.  That’s because smaller towns and towns with less money tend to have spotty internet service and fewer residents that use, or know how to use, computers. Read more >

    Posted in City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on How Post Office Closures Affect Small Towns

    Five Questions About Govt Accounting You Need To Know, But May Not Ask

    In August of 2007, the GFOAz gave a presentation called “Governmental Accounting: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You.” We thought this was an interesting title. At the same time, we understand that when new clerks are approached with words like “FASAB”, “GAAP”, “Fund Accounting,” and “MFBA”, as important as these terms are to understand, it can be intimidating to ask.

    Accounts

    So we took five questions from this presentation and summarized them, hoping that for some of you it will help clarify the principles behind government accounting…from the privacy of your own computer.

    1. How is Government Financials Different Than the Private Sector? Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Five Questions About Govt Accounting You Need To Know, But May Not Ask

    Rules of Engagement for Social Media on Government Time

    Social Media Outposts

    Earlier this year, we talked about how 60 percent of government workers are using social media, 40 percent find it useful in their jobs, and 63 percent have access to it at their work.  And since we are nearing the 500-member mark on our LinkedIn resource page—the City Clerk Café—it is no surprise to us that there is a time, and a place, for social media in the government.

    But whether you are a beginner, or well-versed in social media, you have probably had questions from time to time about how to engage in social media, and what the appropriate etiquette is for this new media. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Rules of Engagement for Social Media on Government Time

    One More Way to Make Payday a Great Day!

    Payday

    Did you know that 60 percent of our Payroll customers are already enjoying the ease and time savings of direct deposit? Why? Because direct deposit saves time, effort, and money, while all the same time keeping employees out of those long Friday bank lines!

    Clerks know that processing payroll payments in an organized and timely manner is essential. Paychecks can’t be late, they must be accurate, and clerks are often in the position of having to process them within a short window of time. Talk about pressure!

    What can ease some of that pressure? Adding the ACH Direct Deposit module to your Payroll software! Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on One More Way to Make Payday a Great Day!

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