Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Mark Hebert

Community Ed classes a success in Malta


November 23, 2016

Mark Hebert

Jan Abrahamson and Kathy Bagley talk about the QuickBooks software before Thursday night's third of three free QuickBooks courses in the Phillips County Public Library Conference Room.

A sharp pencil, a ledger – and maybe a good eraser – where all accountants needed for many years as far as keeping tabs of the business was concerned. Those days are numbered it would appear.

Last Thursday in the basement of the Phillips Count Public Library, the final of three adult education classes sponsored by nearly a half-dozen organizations was held and the topic for the classes was QuickBooks, accounting computer software which helps with business payments, managing and paying bills as well as payroll functions. QuickBooks has becoming the industry standard in accounting software, a fact that became more apparent hours after the adult education classes were offered, for free, locally.

"We were a little leery we wouldn't get anyone to sign up because the course was three, two hour classes," said PhillCo Executive Director Ashley Stuart. "The response was great and the class filled quickly."

In January of this year, Triangle Communications announced that Malta was one of three Montana town's named as Smart Rural Connected Community Challenge recipients which awarded a $2,500 incentive grant award to the winners. Stuart said PhillCo and Malta Area Chamber of Commerce's Dina Meneely put a survey out to the public to see what types of classes people would like to attend and an overwhelming response pointed to QuickBooks.

At Thursday night's final QuickBooks class, Sherri Dahl and Staci French were both in attendance, both with different levels of knowledge with the software and both aiming to use it in different ways.

Dahl, who works at Malta's First Security Bank, said she uses the program at work and hoped to hone her skills by attending the class.

"I am sort of self-taught with QuickBooks so I am learning new things about it," she said. "I think this class is great and I hope they hold more."

Unlike Dahl, French came to the first class not knowing anything about the accounting software. She said she wanted to learn in order to use QuickBooks at the family ranch and hopes to someday make husband, Mark, to convert from pencil and pad to computer for their ranching needs.

"I haven't talked to him yet about it, but I wanted to learn it first," she said. "We are going to go set up and off we go."

The classes were co-sponsored by the PhillCo Economic Growth Council, the Malta Area Chamber of Commerce, HiLine Technology Round Up, Bear Paw Development Corporation and taught through the Havre Small Business Development Center by Bear Paw's Joe LaPlante.

"We have 14 laptops that we are utilizing that are Triangle Communication's," Stuart said.

The survey put out to the community, besides pointing for a demand for a QuickBooks course, also lined up some other areas of computers that the people of Phillips County would like to learn more about, and Stuart said people should stay tuned on that front.

"We will offer some more community education classes this spring," Stuart said. "We are teaming up with (Malta High School teacher) Kelly McCann and we are hoping to offer a Google Basic course, a course on Windows 10, a Microsoft Word Class and maybe an Excel class as well."

Stuart said PhillCo and the Malta Chamber are also hoping to have Blaine County Undersheriff Frank Billmayer II back to Malta to give his presentation on the "Dark Side of the Internet." Undersheriff Billmayer II gave two presentations at Malta High School in February of this year and then also spoke at the HiLine Technology Round Up last September.

"There were so many people who asked for a longer session because it was only a half hour," Stuart said of the presentation at the Round Up. "So Dina is talking with him to hopefully bring him back to Phillips County."

Stuart added that a waiting list for the next three part QuickBooks class is already out and though there is no date yet slated for the classes. For more information on any upcoming classes, contact Stuart at 654-5525 or Meneely at 654-1776.


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