Freshdesk can be purchased on its own or can be purchased along with their sales, marketing, calling, chat, and collaboration tools. The most basic customer service desk plan is free for unlimited users, but has limited capabilities. Most teams will outgrow that tier fairly quickly just based on the need for efficiency, but the rest of the tiers are fairly affordable for small businesses. Freshdesk also makes it clear that you own your data, and you can export it from their systems at any time, which means you’re not locked in once you start.
We've emphasized the importance of getting everyone involved in automation. Here's how it works in my department. An integral part of each development team, the DevTester writes and executes manual test cases for the team's user stories. The tests are written using a methodology (see connect manual tests with automation using a clear methodology) that clarifies how to automate them later on. Once a feature is stable, the DevTester writes the actual automation tests. Then, there's the Developer. In addition to developing the application, the developer works with the DevTester to review both the test's design and the testing code itself. The developer's involvement in the automated tests increases his or her engagement in the automation efforts, which also means the DevTester can help with test maintenance should the need arise. The QA architect is an experienced QA professional who is instrumental in deciding which feature tests should be automated. This is the person with the higher-level view of the overall testing effort who can understand which test cases will yield the best ROI if automated. With a broader view of the application, the architect is also responsible for cross-feature and cross-team QA activities to make sure that end-to-end testing can also be automated.
Our pick for the best accounting software, Intuit's QuickBooks Online works for all types of small businesses. With three small business plans, plus a self-employed plan for freelancers and independent contractors, it's a top choice for your business whether you're just starting out and need basic accounting features or you're a growing or established business and need software with advanced accounting capabilities. Read our full review here. quickbooks.com
Alan Page is an author with more than two decades of experience in software testing roles, the majority spent in various roles at Microsoft. He offers another perspective on the importance of distinguishing automated and manual testing. In “The A Word,” an ebook compilation of his blog posts on automation, Page mentions that most of his commentary on automation focuses on the “abuse and misuse” of automation in software testing and development. He is skeptical of replacing manual testing activity with test automation, as you can see from the his Twitter feed:
With Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), business customers, testers, and developers can collaborate to produce testable requirements that help them build higher quality software more rapidly. However, ATDD is still widely misunderstood by many practitioners. ATDD by Example is the first practical, entry-level, hands-on guide to implementing and successfully applying it.
Robot is a keyword-driven framework available for use with Python, Java, or .NET. It is not just for web-based applications; it can also test products ranging from Android to MongoDB. With numerous APIs available, the Robot Framework can easily be extended and customized depending on your development environment. A keyword-based approach makes the Robot framework more tester-focused than developer-focused, as compared to some of the other products on this list. Robot Framework relies heavily upon the Selenium WebDriver library, but has some significant functionality in addition to this.
We've emphasized the importance of getting everyone involved in automation. Here's how it works in my department. An integral part of each development team, the DevTester writes and executes manual test cases for the team's user stories. The tests are written using a methodology (see connect manual tests with automation using a clear methodology) that clarifies how to automate them later on. Once a feature is stable, the DevTester writes the actual automation tests. Then, there's the Developer. In addition to developing the application, the developer works with the DevTester to review both the test's design and the testing code itself. The developer's involvement in the automated tests increases his or her engagement in the automation efforts, which also means the DevTester can help with test maintenance should the need arise. The QA architect is an experienced QA professional who is instrumental in deciding which feature tests should be automated. This is the person with the higher-level view of the overall testing effort who can understand which test cases will yield the best ROI if automated. With a broader view of the application, the architect is also responsible for cross-feature and cross-team QA activities to make sure that end-to-end testing can also be automated.
Manual software testing is performed by a human sitting in front of a computer carefully going through application screens, trying various usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording their observations. Manual tests are repeated often during development cycles for source code changes and other situations like multiple operating environments and hardware configurations. An automated testing tool is able to playback pre-recorded and predefined actions, compare the results to the expected behavior and report the success or failure of these manual tests to a test engineer. Once automated tests are created they can easily be repeated and they can be extended to perform tasks impossible with manual testing. Because of this, savvy managers have found that automated software testing is an essential component of successful development projects.
Trello is often cited as a great project management tool for small businesses and teams because it’s so easy to use. The tool was sold to Atlassian in early 2017, but it has retained its core functions and even added a couple of cool add-ons since then. Trello is a fully Kanban-style project management tool that allows teams and individuals to add lots of pertinent information to tasks on their board and get notified when team members make changes.
With Ranorex Studio, every member of the team can build automated tests for desktop, web or mobile software with graphical user interfaces, regardless of programming ability. The Ranorex Recorder provides reliable capture-and-replay functionality for codeless creation of tests. Easily edit recorded actions, add text and image validations, set parameter values, and build data-driven tests without writing a single line of code. For users who prefer to build tests entirely in code, Ranorex Studio supports industry-standard programming languages C# and VB.NET with a comprehensive IDE that includes features such as intelligent code completion, debugging functionalities, refactoring mechanisms and more. For web application testing, Selenium WebDriver is built into the Ranorex core API, making it possible to create Selenium tests entirely within Ranorex Studio, without writing Selenium-specific code. Read more about our Selenium WebDriver integration.

Not all small businesses need the extra features and support provided with paid accounting services. Wave Financial offers free, cloud-based accounting software specifically designed for small businesses. Unlike other free accounting software programs that limit capabilities, Wave Financial offers a comprehensive set of accounting features without the monthly price tag. [Go here for a full review of Wave Financial.]
IBM RFT is a data-driven testing platform for functional and regression testing. It supports a wide range of application such as .Net, Java, SAP, Flex, and Ajax. RFT uses Visual Basic .Net and Java as scripting languages. RFT has a unique feature called Storyboard testing in which users’ actions on AUT are recorded and visualized in a storyboard format through application screenshots.
During a recent consulting assignment, a tester told me he spent 90 percent of his time setting up test conditions. The application allowed colleges and other large organizations to configure their workflow for payment processing. One school might set up self-service kiosks, while another might have a cash window where the teller could only authorize up to a certain dollar amount. Still others might require a manager to cancel or approve a transaction over a certain dollar amount. Some schools took certain credit cards, while others accepted cash only. To reproduce any of these conditions, the tester had to log in, create a workflow manually, and establish a set of users with the right permissions before finally doing the testing. When we talked about automation approaches, our initial conversation was about tools to drive the user interface. For example, a batch script like this:
“Selenium is the go-to UI automation tool. The other credible open source tools are essentially a wrap-around tool around Selenium. For web service testing, I prefer REST Assured. SoapUI is another option used frequently and offers a professional version in addition to open source. Testing G and Junit are popular for verification tools. For BDD, Cucumber and Specflow are popular with the Microsoft stack of development tools.”
Although this a complete list of the best software for small businesses in each of these categories, there might be other options that work better for your company. Click on the category headers below for a full list of available products. For personalized recommendations based on your business needs call one of our Technology Advisors at 877-822-9526 for a free, 5-minute consultation.
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