Tag Archives: Best practices

Macadamia White Chocolate Chip Cookie Cure-All

Just in Time for the Holidays!

C2014-10-03O-Naookies. They can help any number of ailments: bitter coffee mouth, the miss your family holiday blues, and lack of yuletide-itis.
If you didn’t already know, we’ve got a bit of a thing for cookies here at Black Mountain Software. In fact, we are so serious about our cookies that we do a blind cookie tasting every year to choose the perfect cookie. And we think the results are just…sweet!

If you suffer from bitter coffee mouth or lack of yuletide-itis, and you’re yearning a super yummy remedy, we’ve got a cookie cure-all recipe that is sure to keep you from falling to “crumbles!” It’s the Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie recipe, inspired by our 2013 BMS Cookie of the Year. Read more >

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Guidelines for Government Gift Giving

‘Twidth="300"is the season of yuletide, carols, and…regulated gift giving?

It might seem like there’s a tiny heart “two sizes too small” in the office of Government Compliance and Ethics when it comes to gift giving guidelines set for government officials. However, these policies exist to prevent the potential of a token of appreciation becoming an incentive, bribe, or obligation.

That’s not to say you can’t show appreciation for your fellow government officials and coworkers; gift giving is perfectly acceptable as long as the laws, regulations and gift giving guidelines are followed.

The basic theory behind government gift giving is this: if it can be conceived as a bribe, or sway a government official to make a particular decision, it’s ILLEGAL. Read more >

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Ten Depression Busters for Winter Blues

IFeel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org  This microstock required lots of post processing to get the blue tint. I also needed a bounce card to  get more detail in the glasses.t’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but often, the mix of cold weather, overindulgence and the financial stress of the holidays can leave many feeling the winter blues.

If you are in a seasonal funk, there are a few things you can do to help improve your everyday mood. Check out our Ten Depression Busters, which can help brighten your spirits this holiday season and beyond.

Ten Depression Busters for the Winter Blues

  • Don’t overindulge. Winter holidays are synonymous with mashed potatoes and gravy, pies, desserts, and alcohol. What you eat and drink can have a huge impact on how you feel, so try to maintain as normal eating patterns as possible so you can feel your best.
  • Read more >
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    What is Cloud, in Five Letters

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    How can five letters leave you so confused, like your head’s in the clouds? Well, when you’re talking about something that you can’t see, is indeterminable in size, and exists “in the clouds,” it’s understandable why people are confused by it. So, we’ve broken down the cloud in five letters:
    C, L, O, U, D.

    An Explanation of the Cloud in Five Letters (CLOUD)

    C – Computing. Cloud, or more formally known as “cloud computing,” is the practice of using a network of remote servers, “the cloud,” to store, manage, and/or process data rather than on a local network server or a personal computer’s hard drive. Read more >

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    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

    Survival Guide for Local Government Budget Season

    Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org  This microstock required lots of post processing to get the blue tint. I also needed a bounce card to  get more detail in the glasses.

    We said the “B” word: Budgets. They can be…well, a bugger. Long, complicated, and requiring a lot of analysis. A few “B” words came to our mind when thinking of budget: “boring,” “baffling,” and “bothersome.” But that’s ok, because we’ve pulled together a list of local government best budget practices that are the exact opposite–short and sweet–to assist with your budgeting success.

     

    A Clerk’s Survival Guide to Government Budget Planning

    Determine What Elements to Include In Your Annual Budget.

    Planning the annual budget is a long process, with many daunting tasks and thoughtful considerations. Some budgets are fairly straight forward, while others are specific and complex documents. Read more >

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    Ease the Pain of ACA Reporting Requirements

    The_Affordable_Care_Act

    It’s every agency’s nightmare: more, new or changing federal reporting requirements. The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, reporting requirements are in effect, and we have until the beginning of next year to determine how to effectively and accurately report a variety of health care and employee information or face penalties and excise taxes.

    In order to successfully fulfill the ACA reporting requirements, it is important to understand what ACA reporting is, when it is required, what it involves, and what your software vendor is doing to assist with an easy transition. This most certainly will affect your administrative process, and the software tools and support to comply will be more important than ever. Read more >

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    When “Good” Back-Ups Go Bad—Will Your Data Really Survive An Unexpected Loss?

    At BMS, we want our tools and services to empower our clients, and provide them with unparalleled functionality and trusted reliability. We strive to craft products that can be counted on to perform seamlessly each and every day. Sometimes, however, our clients face technological glitches that are outside of our control, resulting in unexpected data loss. Some causes of this loss include outdated technology, power outages, or viruses/malware. Regardless of the cause, a data loss can set their operations back days, and sometimes even weeks, thereby costing invaluable time and money.

    BMS knows that, while data loss can happen to any client, the resulting headaches are 100% preventable. Read more >

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    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

    Is Your Customers’ Information Really Secure? Inadequate Policies May Be Putting You at Risk

    Privacy and security are hot-button words right now. We’ve seen endless media reports of retail data breaches, hacking, and identity theft. As a result, the public places an increasing importance on the safety and security of their personal information. At BMS, we understand the challenges our clients face when it comes to creating and maintaining adequate security measures. We also know that sometimes, these measures become out-of-date or inadequate to meet new dangers. We encourage all of our clients to periodically assess their security protocols so that they feel confident that they are best serving their own customers. Here are some tips to consider for both physical and electronic data:

    Physical Records and Information

    • Have a clearly defined protocol as to how physical records are kept and stored, as well as who has the authority to access them.
    Read more >
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