Another notable market trend is the increased use of mobile accounting applications, which have features such as payment acceptance, invoice distribution, receipt tracking and budget planning, to name a few. Although an emerging trend, businesses have yet to overcome the challenge of choosing the right solution as few of these tools are available on Mac despite supporting Android devices.
There’s nothing like having to handle several projects at the same time to test your organizational skills as a small business owner. While challenges are always good, your managing many tasks at once will only leave you drained and feeling swamped. Instead, rely on the following project management tools to ensure you can keep your project on target, and please your clients at the same time.
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:
Test automation eases this burden by automating the tracking and managing of all those testing needs, including how much of the system different tests cover and what other types of testing might be required to cover all the moving parts. In doing so, test automation goes a long way toward helping ensure that teams maintain a high standard of quality at all points along the pipeline. Additionally, it allows testers to focus more time and effort on creating effective test cases to ensure the quality of the software since they’re no longer bogged down in managing all the minutia of testing needs.
Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as an editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She now writes for Business.com and Business News Daily.
Check out some of the resources below or head over to our automated testing starter kit for more tips, resources, and tools for you to use to make your transformation seamless. You’ll find more information on what you should automate first, how to succeed when moving beyond manual testing, a downloadable guide to help you pick the right tool that fits your needs and an ROI calculator you can leverage to help your boss, or your team understand why automated testing is imperative.
Bottom Line Accounting is desktop accounting software for PCs. The software is module-based, allowing you to customize it to suit your business's needs. The basic kit has general ledger, bank reconciliation and financial utilities modules. You can also add modules for accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory and point of sale, purchase order and payroll. bottomlineaccounting.net/
Email is a fantastic invention, but it is missing a few key features out of the box. For example: the ability to send emails later, if you don’t get a response. And notifications on which emails are awaiting your reply. Boomerang helps emails flow in and out of your inbox more easily, preventing the dreaded buildup of drafts, unreads and messages you’re “just saving for later” instead of archiving them.
We are grateful that in today’s tech landscape, there are many excellent applications—either as open source or freeware—available for free. Our team believe that test automation is an essential part of creating great software; so we initially developed Katalon Studio as a tool for ourselves. Until now, it has been widely adopted by the global testing community.
Sikuli is based on image recognition and has the capability of automating anything that we see on the screen. Currently, it supports desktop apps only which run on Windows, Mac or Unix/Linux. This tool is good at reproducing bugs quickly and its users have reported it to be very useful as compared other tools when you are going to automate an application which is not web-based.
An important part of UI testing is verifying typical use cases. For example, a typical use case for a hotel booking website includes searching for an available room, selecting one, entering reservation details, and confirming the booking. When the test should be successful for the data values provided, it is called a “happy path scenario.” Functional testing also validates the behavior of the application when no rooms are available for the desired date (the “sad path”) as well as when the user enters out-of-range dates for a reservation or an invalid credit card number (the “bad path”). Ranorex Studio’s data-driven testing automates the process of repeating a test for multiple data values so you can effortlessly cover the happy path, sad path, and bad path. Data values can be retrieved from an internal data table, external Excel file or SQL table. Since the test data is stored separately from the test procedure, adding or changing scenarios is a snap. For more complex scenarios, Ranorex Studio supports local and global parameters, keyword-driven testing, and conditional test execution.
Some software testing tasks, such as extensive low-level interface regression testing, can be laborious and time-consuming to do manually. In addition, a manual approach might not always be effective in finding certain classes of defects. Test automation offers a possibility to perform these types of testing effectively. Once automated tests have been developed, they can be run quickly and repeatedly. Many times, this can be a cost-effective method for regression testing of software products that have a long maintenance life. Even minor patches over the lifetime of the application can cause existing features to break which were working at an earlier point in time.
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:
At some point, someone may want to change the way the code works. Some operation you call a hundred times suddenly requires that the users fill out a captcha or click a button before they can proceed, and all of the automation breaks. Fixing it requires a great deal of searching and replacing, and that could take days, while the programmers continue to move further and further ahead of you. Once this happens a few times, the test process becomes messy and expensive, and fails to deliver much value.
Tipalti is cloud-based accounts payable software for midsize businesses that have international suppliers, though it works with small businesses as well. It features automations for each step of the process, streamlining supplier onboarding, tax compliance, invoice management, global payments, reconciliation and reporting. It provides its users with a white-label, self-service supplier portal, and it supports payouts in 120 currencies and 190 countries. tipalti.com
TestingXperts’ has developed an extensible automation framework, ‘Tx-Automate’, which is modular, reusable, integrated and compatible. The framework has ‘out-of-the-box’ best-in-class features for test automation including rich custom reporting, third party integrations, configurable execution options, etc. The framework helps configure/ create test suites by combining various automated tests and making those test suites available for execution. It inculcates industry best practices and features and can drastically reduce the effort to kick-start automation. As one of the best automation testing companies, we have dedicated teams with core expertise on all industry-leading tools like Selenium, HP UFT, Coded UI, TestComplete, Ranorex, Appium, etc. and can support test automation with a scripting language your team is comfortable with.
Unlike many accounting software products that limit transactions unless you purchase a more expensive package, FreeAgent is a cloud-based program that supports unlimited users, clients and invoices for one monthly price. It also has a project management feature to help you keep track of billable hours and expenses. FreeAgent is best for freelancers, consultants and other project-based businesses. freeagent.com
Customer relationship management isn't just for the Fortune 500. Even one-person shops can benefit from a more ordered approach to managing the sales process, tracking leads, and ensuring that follow-ups are done in a timely fashion. Salesforce.com requires some training and patience due to its vastness, but its exhaustive feature set and affordable pricing options make it a business must-have. ($8.25 to $250 per user per month)
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.
Here’s a disarming stat: only 2.5% of companies finish every project they start. A Gartner report reveals that only 5% of companies use just one project management tool. This indicates a need for an “all-in-one” solution that helps employees reduce the amount of time they spend switching between apps. Here are three great solutions to get you started.
GitHub’s major competitor is Bitbucket, an Atlassian product that has deep integrations with JIRA, Confluence, and Trello. For up to 10 users, Bitbucket is cheaper. When you hit 10+, it’s more expensive but may work out as cheaper for large enterprises. Also, if your company is looking to spark interest in the open source community, there’s no bigger audience than GitHub’s.
Some business applications are built in-house and some are bought from vendors (off the shelf software products). These business applications are installed on either desktops or big servers. Prior to the introduction of COBOL (a universal compiler) in 1965, businesses developed their own unique machine language. RCA's language consisted of a 12-position instruction. For example, to read a record into memory, the first two digits would be the instruction (action) code. The next four positions of the instruction (an 'A' address) would be the exact leftmost memory location where you want the readable character to be placed. Four positions (a 'B' address) of the instruction would note the very rightmost memory location where you want the last character of the record to be located. A two digit 'B' address also allows a modification of any instruction. Instruction codes and memory designations excluded the use of 8's or 9's. The first RCA business application was implemented in 1962 on a 4k RCA 301. The RCA 301, mid frame 501, and large frame 601 began their marketing in early 1960.
A favorite among small business owners, FreshBooks offers one of the most user-friendly, cloud-based accounting applications for nonaccountants. It's also our top pick for the best accounting app for iOS and Android devices because of the wide range of accounting tasks you can perform on the go, such as invoicing, time tracking and managing expenses. Read our full review here. freshbooks.com
Anyone who says their business "runs itself" probably owes a great debt of gratitude to a small army of software applications and Web services that tirelessly feeds the machine from behind the scenes. From creating and storing documents and staying on top of e-mail to keeping the books and getting teams working together, it takes a lot of code to run a business, or at least to run it well. But setting up your company isn't as easy as just fishing apps out of a barrel. You want the best you can get, and at a price that isn't through the roof.
The Automation test suite should be indicated if any of the integration pieces are broken. This suite need not cover each and every small feature/functionality of the solution but it should cover the working of the product as a whole. Whenever we have an alpha or a beta or any other intermediate releases, then such scripts come in handy and give some level of confidence to the customer.
Environment issues aside, automated checks that need to be run by hand create a drain on the team. Most teams we work with tend to want to just get started by running automated checks by hand. I suggest a different approach: Start with one check that runs end-to-end, through the continuous integration server, running on every build. Add additional scripts to that slowly, carefully, and with intention. Instead of trying to automate 100%, recognize that tooling creates drag and maintenance cost. Strive instead to automate the most powerful examples.
Test automation on the other hand is the automated execution of predefined tests. A test in that context is a sequence of predefined actions interspersed with evaluations, that James Bach calls checks. These checks are manually defined algorithmic decision rules that are evaluated on specific and predefined observation points of a software product. And herein lies the problem. If, for instance, you define an automated test of a website, you might define a check that ascertains a specific text (e.g. the headline) is shown on that website. When executing that test, this is exactly what is checked—and only this. So if your website looks like shown in the picture, your test still passes, making you think everything is ok.
The system’s graphs, dashboards, and transaction overviews offer users a vivid idea of how their business is doing anytime, anywhere. It can generate histories of purchases and sales and bank statement imports, which is very useful in managing cash flow. The app can be accessed via smartphones, giving users a real time view of customer data and letting them record notes at any given time.
LiveAgent is a little more expensive for the most basic plan, but there are a lot of features packed in that you wouldn’t get from similarly priced options. Customer satisfaction and self-service tools, service level agreement rules and reporting, and even canned answers for common questions are all included at the lowest subscription cost. LiveAgent also has an optional VOIP tool as an extra add-on for companies who want to integrate their customer phone calls directly with their help desk.
Automation frameworks provide guidelines to achieve beneficial results from test automation tools and automated testing activity. They establish a universal standard for testers to achieve the specific goals of the automated tests. The framework should be easy to maintain and easy to change. Consider dedicating the role of framework design and development to a dedicated, qualified tester. A poorly designed — or hard to maintain — framework causes problems even if you are using the right automation software tools. Poor planning and the failure to create or select the appropriate framework to guide test automation activity limits the benefits of automating tests.
GetResponse is best known as an email marketing platform, but they’ve expanded their offerings significantly in the past couple of years with CRM, webinars, and marketing automation tools. The GetResponse marketing automation is built around drag-and-drop workflows that you can set up to mimic customer journeys through your website and toward conversion.
Testers will approach an automated test framework best practices substantially differently from developers. While developers are more likely to program their automated tests, testers will need tools that let them create scenarios without having to develop custom scripting. Some of the best test automation frameworks are specifically designed for one audience or another, while others have features available for both.
This article uses the term “tester” to refer to the person involved in testing software with automation tools. It is not meant to distinguish by job title or technical proficiency. Jim Hazen describes himself as a hybrid, or “technical tester,” because he can write test scripts and develop what he refers to as “testware.” The trend is to hire for multiple skillsets, but that does not mean the non-technical stakeholders involved in software development don’t benefit from automation testing.