Category Archives: Best Practices

Five Fall-Inspired Alternatives to Drip Coffee

It’s the season of change and while we often don’t think twice before changing out our sandals for boots, or sunglasses for gloves, we don’t often think about changing up our in-office routine for something a bit more festive.

The proof is in the pudding (or at least, in your coffee cup)! Think about it…how often do you make a run for that same pot of office coffee without even thinking about sprucing up your caffeine routine for something a little tastier?

So, if your tongue is begging for a seasonal update to that black cup of Joe, consider these fall alternatives to your drip coffee—no trip to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte required! Read more >

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Five Reasons Work Breaks Are Important

John Lubbock, author of The Use of Life said, “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

Did he perhaps know something we do not?

As workdays grow longer, and the lines between work and home life continue to blur, the need for midday “me time” seems to be ignored. Taking a lunch is sometimes unheard of, so why would anyone take breaks?

While some may frown upon the 15 or 20 minute break from work, many believe breaks are key to continued concentration, focus, brain function, energy, calmness and creativity—all of which are essential to a productive and happy work environment. Read more >

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Having a Bad Day at Work?

“’Cause you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile, and you go for a ride
You had a bad day” – Daniel Powter.

If there were no bad days, there would be no songs about them. But try as we might to avoid them, they happen to everyone. So, if you feel one coming on, it’s ok! Here are some ways you can mitigate it to prevent your bad day from becoming worse.

How to Get Through a Bad Day At Work

Give yourself some space

It’s not always a case of mind over matter. Read more >

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The Smile On the Other End Of the Line: Good Phone Etiquette

Have you ever heard that a smile can be heard over the phone? We have, and we believe it to be true! And that’s why this week—Customer Service Week (which falls on the first week of October this year)—is a big deal for us.

Not only is Customer Service Week the time of year to celebrate the progress we’ve made providing quality, in-house customer service, but it’s also a time for us to reflect upon the service we provide and determine how we can improve our customer engagements.

While we realize that good customer service should describe every business/customer interaction, because so much of our support comes after the installation of our products and over the phone, we thought we’d focus on one key aspect of customer service: phone etiquette. Read more >

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The Importance of City Permitting and How BMS Can Help

Permitting is an important and necessary process for cities and towns that controls and regulates construction to ensure that all work is done according to municipal code. It can be a long and arduous process for both the applicant and the municipality, but it is necessary to sustain the economic interests, safety, and growth of any community.

Why City Permitting is Important:

  • Permitting regulates and controls construction to ensure work meets codes and city ordinances
  • Permitting helps ensure work has been done safely and inspected (if required)
  • Permitting helps enforce safety, convenience, and aesthetic standards for the city
  • Aids in establishing and maintaining property information
  • Helps enforce zoning laws
  • Permitting protects residential and commercial property value
  • Permitting helps track growth and plan for future development of land, utilities, and public services

Though this process is generally a tedious one, Black Mountain Software offers a Permitting module designed to assist and streamline your city’s efforts. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Importance of City Permitting and How BMS Can Help

The Importance of Continued Education

As fall approaches and children, teens and college students head back to school, consider what continued education could do for you. Even if you think an un-pursued interest of yours—interior design, writing, graphics—has nothing to do with your current work, dedicating time to learning a new skill fosters so much more than what appears on the surface. The very pursuit of knowledge can lead to improved health and overall happiness.

At Black Mountain Software, we believe in the continued effort to sharpen the brain through sustained learning. That’s why we offer a series of courses and publish educational information throughout the year to help our clients gain new skills and create understanding of topics related to technology, accounting, and human resources (check out our Event Calendar). Read more >

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Don’t Bury Your Head In The Sand Over Cemetery Management

It’s one of those things you never think about until it’s too late: cemetery management.

Often, clients don’t see the need for it until it’s a problem: a plot sold that is not available, a record that needs to be found, or an error that’s been discovered. These mishaps can be tragic for those who assume their family’s generations-worth of  plot records will be properly managed and recorded.

Poor plot management plagues the cemetery industry. Cash-strapped agencies with mismanaged funds have led to a litany of instances regarding incorrect or incomplete recordkeeping, making sacred ground more akin to a battleground. And, if that weren’t enough, these issues are not usually addressed until long after a problem is discovered. Read more >

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Onsite Data Storage Can Mean Big Risks

Natural Disasters. Hackers. Malfunctions. Disgruntled Employees.

These are just a few of the things that could lead to a data disaster and put your agency at risk of being unable to recover sensitive and necessary information.

Our data can feel safe, locked away and backed up on a server. But there are still plenty of risks that can be avoided by moving data to the Cloud. That’s because with the Cloud, there is no one single place the data is stored, making it less vulnerable to the following risks.

Risk Factors to Data

Natural Disasters

In the event of a natural disaster, any data stored on a stand-alone computer or server is vulnerable to loss. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Onsite Data Storage Can Mean Big Risks

Technology Trends in 2017 That Will Change the Way We Live

Despite our love for creature comforts, like the warm voice on the other end of the customer service line, or an office view that is more reminiscent of a mountain resort than a tech outfit, at heart we remain a software company, and therefore prone to technological innovation. So, as we watch the world change and technology with it, we are enthralled to think where it might take us—and our business—in the future.

Remember when technology trends seemed to have decades between them? The rapid evolution of technology is so quick these days that it seems to be changing yearly—sometimes even sooner. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Technology Trends in 2017 That Will Change the Way We Live

A Story of a Shovel and a Backhoe

We have a funny little saying we like to use here at Black Mountain Software: “Don’t use a shovel when you really need a backhoe.”

If you are asking yourself what that means, let us elaborate.

Shovels are great. They can get the job done, and require very little knowledge or education to use.  But, if you’re trying to dig a swimming pool, you will quickly find that it’s just not enough compared to the scale of the project.

Software, too, can be inadequate to complete the tasks needed for a city, school, utility or municipality efficiently. Often, we find that clients seeking new software are using a shovel, when what they really need is a backhoe. Read more >

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