Tag Archives: Billing

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

Software Tools for Utility Billing Clerks’ Many Hats

Amsterdam_-_Hats_-_0931When that utility bill comes to a customer’s mailbox, it looks so simple: usage, charges, balance and due date. Perhaps it contains a message about upcoming events or holiday service schedules. But does the customer ever visualize the person who produced and touched the document they now behold?

Who is that person?

In a tiny town, it could be the same person who records the decisions made at City Council meetings, maintains the municipal budget and drives the school bus. In a larger operation, paper bills might be handed off to a mailroom clerk for processing.

Many people (or one person with mega-many hats) often contribute to the complex bundle of scheduled procedures that enable water to flow when the faucet is turned on. Read more >

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Every Data Storage Device WILL Fail! What You Need to Know

Replacing File:Handbuch Webdesign-InternetDate...Believe it or not, “Every data storage device will fail at some point in time. Every server will fail at some point in time. Every electrical grid will experience an outage at some point in time. And, every Internet Service Provider will experience an outage at some point in time.” — Thomas Toblin, 5 FAQs Municipalities Ask About Hosted Billing & Web Billing Software Providers for Utility Billing Services.

These are the realities of data security, and why more people are looking at Cloud-hosted software in an effort to reduce data security risks.

These vulnerabilities – and the potential to reduce them for our clients – are the very reason Black Mountain Software recently selected Amazon as our infrastructure-as-a-service partner for our hosted accounting and billing software. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, Cloud Computing, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Every Data Storage Device WILL Fail! What You Need to Know

Summertime, and the (utility) billing’s easy…

English: Impact Sprinkler Mechanism Français :...Don’t you wish calculating and billing sewer usage charges was as easy as…turning a faucet?  With Black Mountain Software’s usage averaging features, it can be!

Many of our water and sewer customers bill more than a flat rate for sewer charges.  Since water usage is a metered and measurable number, many utilities calculate sewer usage by calculating the amount of sewer expected to flow based on the amount of water used.

In warmer months, customers water their lawns and gardens. During this time, water goes into the ground instead of the sewer system, so it’s unfair to charge for sewer based fully on water usage. Read more >

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10 Things Every City Clerk Should Know How to Do

Government Building

Did you know that only 8 percent of people follow through on their New Year’s Resolutions? Most have already faltered by today’s date.

We feel, however, that it’s never too late to start anew and make goals for the year. That’s why we decided to compile of list of useful advice for city clerks and utility billing clerks, inspired by conversations and comments made by the hardworking municipal clerks that we network with all year long. Check out the list below and decide where you are really making strides, and where you could do better. Start today and make your own resolution to be the best you can be in 2014! Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Uncategorized, Utility Billing | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on 10 Things Every City Clerk Should Know How to Do

How-To Time: Utility Billing Live Access Archiving

by: Jen Carlson, Installation Team Lead/Senior Support Specialist

If you are experiencing slowness or have used BMS Utility Billing software for many years, it might be in your best interest to optimize speed and space by Live Access Archiving. If you are interested, just contact Utility Billing Support and we will turn the proper parameter on for you, and then you can take it from there.

Live Access Archiving is designed to speed up the following processes:
1. Accessing interfacing applications from within Cash Receipting – Ex: clicking on the UB button to enter receipts.
2. Backups
3. Reindexing
4. Running Reports, especially large ones

The process is very simple! Read more >

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Easy, Breezy Billing

How much time and money do you spend preparing and mailing customers’ utility bills each month? For most cities or special districts, the costs and amount of staff time required for monthly billing are significant.

Our Email Bills add-on module for Utility Billing gives you the ability to send bills directly to customers’ email addresses. This eliminates printing and postage costs, and reduces the amount of staff time needed to complete each billing cycle. Email Bills is easy to set up and customize, makes billing a breeze, and is considered an added value by many of your customers.

Another way you can save time and money each billing cycle is by using our ACH (Automated Clearing House) module for utility billing. Read more >

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Aliteration, Not Literal: Combined and Compound Meters

Water MeterCombined meter and compound meter.  They sound alike, so they must be similar, right?  While these terms are sometimes (mistakenly) interchanged, the purpose of these meters drastically different. One regulates flow, while the other combines separate accounts to a single meter.  Do you know which is which?

A compound meter is used where high flow rates are necessary, but at times there are smaller rates of flow that still need to be accurately measured.

Compound meters have two measuring elements and a check valve to regulate flow between them. At high flow rates, water is normally diverted primarily or completely to the turbine-part of the meter. Read more >

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