Author Archives: Black Mountain Software

Utilities Are Vulnerable to Cyber Security Breaches, Too!

Data Breach Unsecured Warning Sign ConceptIf you are one of the 56 million people who have suffered a breach to their credit records, credit card number, debit records, tax returns or other types of identity theft, then the idea of a data security breach is not very foreign to you. All sorts of data—not just retailer and tax data—is subject to cyber security hacks and breaches. Vulnerabilities to other lesser-considered systems that store delicate information (social security numbers and payment accounting information) such as utilities are becoming the new victims of data breaches.

In fact, these information breaches are happening all over the US: by a dishonest employee at a water sewer department in Southern California, from the stolen laptop of a utility worker at a North Carolina water department and by a contractor working at a Massachusetts water and sewer commission who lost a company hard drive. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Utilities Are Vulnerable to Cyber Security Breaches, Too!

Prepping Your Office For a Vacation or Leave of Absence

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How do you truly vacate on a vacation? Well, that’s pretty hard to do if you are sitting on a sandy beach asking yourself, “Did I follow-up with Barb on that vendor agreement?” or, “Did I forget to set an out of office email reply?”

Properly preparing your office for a vacation or leave of absence not only helps you relax while on vacation, it can help you avoid unnecessary stress upon your return. These six tips for preparing your office for your departure will help you say Bon Voyage in the most stress-free way possible.

Six Tips for Prepping Your Office For Vacation or Leave

Break Your Schedule Down. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Prepping Your Office For a Vacation or Leave of Absence

Communicating in the Office

Office-Communication
A recent recap of a friend’s management training experience inspired me to look into what has changed over a generation in how we communicate in the office and remotely to our customers.

The written word has been given a much better ride since electronic advancements came on the scene. Who remembers when words were spoken by a person of authority into a dictating machine and transcribed via typewriter by a clerical assistant? Who remembers carbon paper and correction fluid, or when Spellcheck was provided by a bound dictionary, or when female professionals were advised not to do their own typing?

Transitional electronics entered the scene around fifty years ago, when a computer occupied a room of its own. Read more >

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Is It Time to Upgrade Your Technology?

Technology-Art
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, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Is It Time to Upgrade Your Technology?

    How Schools Are Stretching Their Technology Dollars

    Budget Button

    Schools are used to doing more with less, and they never cease to amaze us. When you walk into a classroom filled with laptops, tablets and smart boards, it may seem impossible that schools are saving any money on technology at all. But, that’s where you’re wrong.

    Innovative schools, especially charter schools that are able to tap into unconventional sources for funding, are finding ways to upgrade their technology while cutting their technology budgets.

    The ability to use more technology in the classroom without dramatically increasing their technology budget is a win-win: teachers are able to tap into new sources for instruction and students are learning more with technology-driven lesson plans and instruction. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, School Software, Technology | Comments Off on How Schools Are Stretching Their Technology Dollars

    Tax Forms and More for Happier Clients

    Signed, Sealed, Delivered—Easier, More Convenient and Faster.

    F2014-10-03O-Naorms, forms everywhere! There’s 1099’s, W2’s, 1095’s, and utility bills to boot! And now, you can get them all and much more from one reliable, trusted supplier.

    Our most recent and successful business partnership is with Rocky Mountain Print Solutions (RMPS). They produce and deliver BMS-formatted forms that integrate perfectly with Black Mountain Software to ensure your form printing is accurate and improves your mailing success.

    And, do you make yet another supplier call for printer ink? Now you don’t have to. If your printer ink is running dry from printing all those required forms, consider consolidating your form and printer supply needs with RMPS. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Partners, BMS Products, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Tax Forms and More for Happier Clients

    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, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Five Efficiency Hacks for Over-Worked Clerks

    How Big Data is Shaping Government Agencies for the Future

    Y2014-10-03O-Naou’ve probably heard the statistic that every two years we double the amount of information created. So, at this rate, by 2020 it is estimated that we will produce 44 trillion gigabytes of data each year. This data that we exponentially create is what’s called “big data”, and even government agencies are finding ways to take advantage of the information collected for the good of their constituents.

    For most small cities, like the ones Black Mountain Software services, the use of big data to improve systems and process seems like a futuristic concept. But larger and very progressive cities are finding big use for this big data, using it to improve planning, decision-making and reputation management. Read more >

    Posted in Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities, Technology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How Big Data is Shaping Government Agencies for the Future

    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, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Uncategorized, Utility Billing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Spring Clean Your Software and Systems

    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 BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Customer Spotlight, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged | Comments Off on City of Lava Hot Springs Switches from DOS to BMS

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