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How to Avoid Home Electrical Accidents

Most electrical hazards can be prevented with common sense and good wiring.  For most people, preventing an electrical accident means not plugging too many things into a feeble extension cord or not using a hair dryer while taking a bath.  While these are valid and important precautions, there are many other potential home electrical safety hazards.

Follow the link below for important information from the FRCOG’s Electrical Inspector, Tom McDonald, about some of the most common causes of electrical accidents which will help you appreciate the considerable power – and potential danger – of electricity and how to use this power safely.

Avoiding Home Electrical Accidents

New Accounting Software Required

As it turns out, the rumors we kept hearing were true!  We received official notice that the Fundware accounting software used by the FRCOG and by the regional Town Accounting Program will no longer be maintained or supported by its parent company, Blackbaud, beyond December 31, 2017.  Staff are actively examining options for a post-Fundware operation, including searching for grant funds to pay transition costs, and considering opportunities for additional electronic efficiency improvements to modernize the Program.

To date, Accounting Program staff have viewed demonstrations of four different accounting software programs and are evaluating each in relation to the accounting needs of the Program member towns.  Throughout the process we are searching for software that is easy to use, improves staff efficiency while using the software, and continues to allow member towns with populations under 2,000 residents to benefit from the software without needing to purchase their own expensive software licenses.  With Fundware, all towns are able to participate in the Program under the umbrella of the FRCOG’s master license.

FRCOG has applied for state grant funding to purchase accounting and cash management software to be used for the benefit of all Program towns.  Individual software licenses can be prohibitively expensive for small town budgets.  Grant funding will help us modernize our accounting software and add cash management software that will help streamline the cash reconciliation process by more quickly and accurately sharing data between the town treasurer and the accountant.

Additionally, the grant application requests funding for consulting assistance to help develop and implement additional electronic efficiencies that will allow the Program to evolve into a more efficient centrally-located operation.  More robust software should offer the opportunity to improve efficiencies and help modernize the Program’s operation so we can spend less time traveling and more time doing accounting work for our towns.  We should hear whether or not we will receive the grant before the end of December, 2016.

Accountants Train at MMAAA School

In March, FRCOG Town Accounting Program staff attended the education and training program held annually at UMass-Amherst and sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Auditors and Accountants Association (MMAAA). The two and a half day training program offers four tracks of study depending on the level of experience of the accountant: from just getting started in the field up to continuing education for experienced staff. We are committed to training our staff and we budget each year for the MMAAA school, which is the primary formal training program for municipal accountants in Massachusetts.

We were pleased to be able to send our newest staff member, Stacey Mousseau, to get her foundation training in track 1 this year. Stacey, who is also the Treasurer for the Town of Bernardston, is well-versed in municipal and school finance. She is a quick study and will soon be handling the accounting work in two towns for the FRCOG.

Hiring Stacey remedies a short-handed situation that presented several challenges for Program staff during the transition from FY15 to FY16 as well as during the process of closing the FY15 accounting books in 12 member towns. We appreciate the patience of town officials as our staff worked diligently through the closeout process.

Finally, we are hearing rumblings that the accounting software used by the FRCOG and by the Town Accounting Program, Fundware, is nearing its sunset for support by its owner, Blackbaud. We have a verbal promise that support will continue for at least two years after an official announcement is made to discontinue the software. Staff will continue to examine options for post-Fundware accounting and more information will be passed along to local officials as we learn it going forward.