Category Archives: Utility Billing

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

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

EOY Financial Statements

Common Mistakes on EOY Financial Statements

A2014-10-03O-Nas if the beginning of the new year—with all its accruals, deferred assets, and budget comparisons—wasn’t a big enough bugger, those in charge of end-of- year financial statements have one more obstacle in their year-end reporting: examining the financial reports for accuracy.

Thoroughly reviewing end-of-year reports to ensure accuracy and accountability is vital. With so many items and numbers to look at, that can be an overwhelming task, so we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes found on financial statements.

Common Mistakes on End-of-Year Financial Statements and Reports

Overlooking Expense Line Items. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, School Software, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on EOY Financial Statements

Dealing with Change: Tips for a Seamless Software Conversion

7K0A0190How many times have you heard the words, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” from a co-worker’s mouth? Most likely, a lot! So when it comes time to make a change—in assigned roles, vendors, software, or processes—it can be difficult! Especially when we’ve grown so accustomed to a certain way of doing things.

In the wise words of Socrates, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

At Black Mountain Software, we understand what it means to ask a county, municipality, school or utility to change. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Staff, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dealing with Change: Tips for a Seamless Software Conversion

Reasons to Consider Outsourcing Your Utility Billing Printing

print-mail-statements-invoices-mailing

BMS and BDS: they kind of sound the same, and they work really well in conjunction. Black Mountain Software (BMS) has searched long and hard for a billing partner that could meet the specific needs of the utilities we service, and we found that trusted, reliable partner in Billing Document Services (or BDS).

After years of working with US cities and entities on their utility billing, we know one thing for sure: many are short on time, money, and manpower. Outsourcing with quality companies like BDS will reduce this hardship. And because they are a BMS partner, their processes interface seamlessly and efficiently with our software. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Partners, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reasons to Consider Outsourcing Your Utility Billing Printing

Hardware That’s Not So Hard

by: Barbara Thomas, Support Specialist and Guest Blogger for the BMS Utility Billing Team

I’m a technophobe at heart. If I even have to plug into a USB connection on my computer, my hands shake. Nonetheless, so many of us are surviving, even thriving in the workplace thanks to devices like computers and printers and digital phone lines. Consider how smartphones have changed our lifestyles and eliminated the need for maps and telephone books and such, saving space and time for us.

Thanks to technology, even more labor saving devices can be really simple to use and can enable quick and accurate data entry and free up time that can be better spent performing customer service with a smile. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hardware That’s Not So Hard

The Dreaded Rate Increase – How Can Your Team Better Deal With Customer Fallout?

As the two most dreaded words for a utility billing professional, “rate increase” stands as a polarizing and frustrating situation for both the customers and the front-line city workers. With the changing economy, our cities, towns, and municipalities face the struggle to provide the most affordable services to the public, while also maintaining the best equipment, standards and practices. However, we also must realize that, despite economic recovery, many of our customers still feel misplaced resentment toward any entity that they perceive as adding to the conundrum of their rapidly decreasing take-home pay. While rate increases are inevitable for long-term service quality, your team also needs an action plan to best address customer concerns and frustrations. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Dreaded Rate Increase – How Can Your Team Better Deal With Customer Fallout?

All About: Utility Security Deposits and Credit Policies

Whenever town councils decide to take a fresh look at policies they have in place, one of the things they might look at is utility receivables. Upon closer look, if utility receivables are inflated due to security deposits on accounts, a revamp of security deposit requirements may be considered. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) along with various state agencies set specific guidelines for utility billing operations, including the management of security deposits. Remember to research these guidelines prior to making final decisions regarding changes to security deposit policies.

Ways to Protect Loss of Receivables in Utility Billing

Require a Security Deposit, and/or Letter of Guarantee. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, Office Efficiency, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on All About: Utility Security Deposits and Credit Policies

Where Does the Buck Stop…With An Overdue Utility Bill?

Property owners often wonder…is it possible for a homeowner to lose his house over a $300 unpaid water bill? Especially in small towns, where we are reticent to even send a disconnect notice to a neighbor let alone act on it, something like this is rare. But it is not unheard of.

In nearly every state, the property owner or landlord is responsible for paying the property’s utility bill unless, in some cases, the lease to the property specifies otherwise. For example, in order to impose a lien against Georgia real estate for an overdue water bill, the owner of the property must be the person who incurred the charges. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Where Does the Buck Stop…With An Overdue Utility Bill?

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