Software Tools for Utility Billing Clerks’ Many Hats

Amsterdam_-_Hats_-_0931When that utility bill comes to a customer’s mailbox, it looks so simple: usage, charges, balance and due date. Perhaps it contains a message about upcoming events or holiday service schedules. But does the customer ever visualize the person who produced and touched the document they now behold?

Who is that person?

In a tiny town, it could be the same person who records the decisions made at City Council meetings, maintains the municipal budget and drives the school bus. In a larger operation, paper bills might be handed off to a mailroom clerk for processing.

Many people (or one person with mega-many hats) often contribute to the complex bundle of scheduled procedures that enable water to flow when the faucet is turned on. This begins with the governing body – Board or Council – who determine the rates at which the utility is billed for diverse types of users. Then rates are put into effect, statistics compiled, and budget information provided to determine the basis for rates.

If you are That One with mega-many hats, you likely have a constant wish to streamline your work to allow enough time in the month to accomplish every task on time and with a reasonable level of comfort. But seldom do people outside the clerk’s desk consider the laundry list of tasks that must be accomplished to produce one tiny utility bill:

  • Council meetings/liaison
  • Set budget
  • Set water rates
  • Establish routes
  • Establish accounts (residential, commercial, irrigation, exempt from billing, compound meters, combined usage)
  • Security deposits
  • Work (service) orders: turn-on, shutoff, reread, recheck, repair
  • Move ins/outs and final bills/payments/refunds
  • General notifications
  • Readings
  • Billing (perhaps by Section), including ACH, web payments, special circumstances
  • CASS certification updates for postal discounts
  • Penalties and Late notices
  • Take payments, apply payments, bank deposit, file reports
  • Accounting
  • Reports for balancing, record keeping, monthly, quarterly and annual expense and usage, responding to auditor requests

You probably know exactly how much time is required minimally to read meters, apply penalties, produce, print and mail bills, and take deposits to the bank. With predictable monthly tasks, you may know what chunks of time are already claimed on a given day. It’s the unexpected task or emergency that can rock your boat.

Black Mountain Software’s Utility Billing provides tools that you can use to help sail a bit more smoothly through a billing cycle.

Software Tools That Simplify Utility Billing Operations

One of the first things we share in new user training is exposure to the example Billing Calendar. This provides a suggestion of the sequence of tasks that must be accomplished prior to calculating utility bills. Once you establish your own Billing Calendar sequence, you have a picture of how much time is absolutely spoken for (and what is flexible in sequence) each month. It can help you fit in the unexpected without sacrificing time required by essential UB tasks.

Other tools include:

Task Manager: Navigate to Admin | UB Tasks to generate your own list of tasks and even change their listing order to keep track of tasks that are urgent or important (or both).

Report Wizard: Navigate to Actions | Wizards | Report Wizard to group and store short cuts to favorite reports. Once set up, reports can be accessed from the wizard instead of navigating through the file menu for them.

Online Help: Navigate to Help | Help or press the F1 key for immediate access to navigate or search the online manual right in the application.

Mini-Training sessions: Take advantage of free training by specific topic. Sessions generally take only a few minutes and can offer solutions or functions that may help you streamline your procedures.

If you can’t work harder, work smarter. Using the tools provided in your Black Mountain Software can help you consolidate and save time on daily operations. You are That One who makes it all happen, and our hat is off to you!

Share This Post:

This entry was posted in BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, Small Cities, Utility Billing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.