Category Archives: Utility Billing

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.
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    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

    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

    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

    The Problem With Cyber Security Hacks Is…Humans

    When selecting a technology provider, cyber security features and protocols are at the top of agencies’ considerations. But, as we described in an earlier article “Utilities are Vulnerable to Cyber Security Breaches Too!” https://www.blackmountainsoftware.com/2016/06/17/utilities-are-vulnerable-to-cyber-security-breaches-too/. But what is not often considered is the effect users of the technology have on cyber security.

    “Sometimes a clearly defined error is the only way to discover the truth,” Benjamin D. Wiker.

    More government agencies and users are finding this lesson out the hard way. Despite their aggressive security features, there is one common denominator in security breaches that can’t be managed by great software: users. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on The Problem With Cyber Security Hacks Is…Humans

    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!

    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?
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    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?

    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

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