Category Archives: BMS Products

Why a Good Audit Trail is Important

The latest trend in government is all about transparency—and the embrace of innovative technology by government is making it easier than ever to provide transparency simply, efficiently, and accurately.

It can, however, leave your agency exposed to the public, and they may have questions when looking at your budget and books. In this scenario, a good audit trail is essential because it can save your agency time, preserve its reputation, and minimize errors.

The concept is simple: changes to accounting records should be documented and saved for future reference. Software, such as the governmental accounting software offered by BMS, makes this process straightforward.  Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities | Comments Off on Why a Good Audit Trail is Important

What Utility Customers Expect in the 21st Century

There are some things we love about the “good ol’ days.” Like calling a phone number and speaking to a person, face-to-face interactions with customers, and a cup of plain black coffee. We find that most of our customers like these things too.

But as technology becomes more predominant, not just amongst the younger generations but all generations, it’s important that our agency—and yours—keep up with customers’ changing needs.

Is your utility billing software keeping pace with the 21st Century? If not, it may be time to consider moving your utility billing needs over to a software system that has all the enhanced features your customers have come to expect: automatic bank drafting, online statements and payments, enhanced reporting, real-time record updates, and the ability to query based on a variety of criteria. Read more >

Posted in BMS Products, Utility Billing | Comments Off on What Utility Customers Expect in the 21st Century

Don’t Let Credit Cards Manage You

According to Fundera, 70 percent of consumers prefer card payments, and credit cards account for a third of all card purchases. Unsurprisingly, the amount of daily credit card purchases is expected to continue increasing over time. While government employees only account for a fraction of all credit card purchases, as the amount of credit card purchases increase, local agencies will have a ton of credit card purchase information to monitor. Luckily, Black Mountain Software offers a convenient way to document, track and report employee credit card activity with ease and efficiency: Credit Card Manager.

Credit Card Manager is an add-on module available for Accounting that keeps all credit card information in one secure place so transaction information can be viewed on the fly. Read more >

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3 Ways Cities are Innovating with Technology

Cities across the United States have started to work smarter—not harder—when it comes to improving their technological infrastructure. From free public wi-fi in big cities, to high speed internet in rural areas, and a general push toward financial data transparency, many cities are finding ways to use technology to innovate within their communities.

Free Public Wi-Fi

Coastal hubs like New York City and San Francisco paved the way for free public wi-fi. However, some landlocked cities have caught up and become hubs in their own right. Kansas City, for example, began by installing wi-fi hotspots across 54 square blocks of downtown in 2015. Read more >

Posted in BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities, Technology | Comments Off on 3 Ways Cities are Innovating with Technology

Financial Data Transparency: Build Better Taxpayer Trust and Confidence

A recent Gallup poll shows Congressional approval at an unprecedented historical low of seventeen percent. There’s an endless amount of reasons one could posit as to why that is the case—political dysfunction, legislative gridlock, corruption, a lack of transparency, and virtually everything in between—but regardless, the level of distrust in governmental institutions is growing and even trickling down to the state and local level, which is frustrating for both elected representatives and their constituents.

Before we all sharpen our pitchforks, fire up the torches and start a revolution, though, there is a silver lining worthy of note: a growing trend of public institutions willing to share their financial data with the citizens they serve and a panoply of technological options to do so. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities | Comments Off on Financial Data Transparency: Build Better Taxpayer Trust and Confidence

New Year Dictionary of Governmental Budget and Accounting Terms

Has your EOY caused your prior-year encumbrances and expenditures to deplete your reserves, or were you in the black because those expenditures were WRTFY?

If all this budget and accounting talk has your head spinning, we’re going to lighten it up with some Happy New Year Vocabulary, courtesy of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations.

So if you don’t know your program budget from your appropriations, give them a quick once-over with a New Year Review of Governmental Budget and Accounting Terms.

NEW YEAR DICTIONARY OF ACCOUNTING & BUDGET TERMS

H – Hourly (or Non-Exempt)
An employee who fills a temporary or short-term position. Read more >

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Helping You Adapt to Change

The only thing that’s constant is change.

Regulations change, reporting requirements change, and technology changes, too. Within the past few years, we’ve seen a number of reporting requirements change–from the Montana Public Retirement System to Federal Affordable Care Act reporting. These changes are frustrating for clients. It means new reports, more data entry and a system to check for errors. But we are determined to ease that pain, to the best of our ability, by creating add-ons to our software and updating our systems whenever there are new mandated compliance requirements for our clients.

How BMS Software Eases the Pain of Changing Compliance Requirements

  • US-based support.
  • Read more >
    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Staff, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Government Accounting Standards, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Helping You Adapt to Change

    USDA Allocates $4B for Grants and Low-Cost Loans

    Given that we specialize in Utility Billing software and many of our clients live in small, rural areas, we are excited to report that the United States Department of Agriculture has set aside four billion dollars for grants and low-cost loans to improve rural water infrastructure.

    The program aims to provide funding for drinking water systems, sewage/solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage for qualified households and businesses in eligible areas, which include most state and local government entities in towns with populations of ten thousand or less, private nonprofits, and federally-recognized Tribal organizations in rural areas.

    Applications can be filled out online via the RD Apply tool or through a local USDA Rural Development state field office. Read more >

    Posted in BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Latest News, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Comments Off on USDA Allocates $4B for Grants and Low-Cost Loans

    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

    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 >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Technology | Comments Off on Don’t Bury Your Head In The Sand Over Cemetery Management

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