Category Archives: Government Accounting Standards

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 >

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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

    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

    What To Do If You’re Getting the Paperless Pushback

    Paperless Pushback-rev02The idea of going paperless is pretty revolutionary. It cuts down on waste, saves trees, is easier to organize, is easier to find, and creates a searchable document. It has been a topic of much discussion on our LinkedIn Group, The City Clerk Café, which is flooded with tips for successful implementation. So, why then, is there still pushback on going the paperless route?

    Change takes time, and generations of individuals who have been working with paper for 10, 20, 30, even 40 years have a hard time exchanging a physical piece of paper for a virtual document. In addition, the prep work of scanning, storing, and organizing paperless information can be overwhelming to some. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on What To Do If You’re Getting the Paperless Pushback

    Benefits of Going Paperless with a Tablet

    a storage room with Computer Network hub

    Tablets are quickly becoming every city administrator and office superstar’s favorite way to keep it all together in the office, abroad, and at conferences. You can keep all of your files in one place and the best part—it’s all portable! Since there’s been a lot of chatter about the benefits of going paperless with a tablet in our LinkedIn Group, City Clerk Café, we thought we would share these reasons to go paperless with you.

    Five Benefits of Going Paperless

    1. Cuts back on paper waste
    Not only does cutting back on paper waste benefit you because all of your files can be found in one place instead of scattered throughout various file folders, but it cuts back on the amount of paper you’re using in general. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Benefits of Going Paperless with a Tablet

    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

    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

    How a Good Audit Trail Can Save You!

    T2014-10-03O-Nahere’s only one word scarier than “tax prep”: Audit. Regardless of how scary this word sounds, there are tools and processes available that can save you
    from a truly nasty predicament. Those processes include a thorough and comprehensive audit trail.

    Despite use of the word “trail”—which insinuates a long and lengthy process—the idea of an audit trail is actually very simplistic and feasible. Creating an
    audit trail is as simple as:

    1. Utilizing software that allows you to make notes on entries and changed accounting records

    2. Logging the details of the change or record for future reference

    3. Including in the audit trail details of who did what, when, how, and for how much, and

    4. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency | Comments Off on How a Good Audit Trail Can Save You!

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