Many people have tried to make this point in different ways (e.g. this is also the quintessence of the discussion about testing vs. checking, started by James Bach and Michael Bolton). But the emotionally loaded discussions (because it is about peoples self-image and their jobs) often split discussants into two broad camps: those that think test automation is “snake oil” and should be used sparsely and with caution, and those that think it is a silver bullet and the solution to all of our quality problems. Test automation is an indispensable tool of today’s quality assurance but as every tool it can also be misused.
As it relates to testing software, Hazen looks at Agile and non-Agile methods of development as being risk-based decisions. According to Hazen, the question of how test automation impacts Agile or other development methods comes down to how much automation “tooling” is used, where it is implemented in testing, and how much it is relied on for the project’s goal.
Friendly user interface and navigation. Cloud-based accounting applications—for the most part—look great. They're not as graphically rich as some types of online services, but they don't need to be. Graphics are used where it makes sense, like for displaying charts and graphs, and for invoice forms. Navigation and data entry take their cues from desktop software, using static and drop-down lists, icons and buttons, fill-in-the-blank fields, and toolbars.
The main goal in software development processes is to satisfy customers with timely releases of software that works flawlessly. Test automation makes it possible to execute test cases during off-peak hours, and to distribute them in parallel across multiple physical or virtual servers. Automated tests complete in a fraction of the time required for manual testing, giving the team significantly faster feedback on the quality of the application and its suitability for release.
One way to generate test cases automatically is model-based testing through use of a model of the system for test case generation, but research continues into a variety of alternative methodologies for doing so. In some cases, the model-based approach enables non-technical users to create automated business test cases in plain English so that no programming of any kind is needed in order to configure them for multiple operating systems, browsers, and smart devices.
QA professionals know that UI testing is essential to a comprehensive test strategy, because it provides critical feedback from the user’s perspective. But this requires significant effort: validating visual details like images, colors, and fonts as well as every aspect of the application’s functional behavior — including its controls, navigation, error messages, data entry handling, and more. Comprehensive GUI testing is time-consuming and expensive, especially when tests must be repeated as part of a regression suite or for cross-browser/cross-device compatibility. Automated tests save time and costs by executing in a fraction of the time required for manual testing. Test automation conserves system resources by running overnight and in parallel, across multiple browsers and platforms. Automation also frees test personnel from routine tests so that they can focus on more challenging and exploratory testing. The improved test coverage possible with test automation creates confidence that an application is ready for release with the quality that users demand.
Interactive home pages. Some small businesspeople love working with numbers, but many just want to sign on to their accounting application, do what's needed, and move on. Interactive home pages, or dashboards on these websites play two primary roles. First, they flag tasks that need attention and provide a bird's-eye view of your finances, with graphs, charts, and tables that quickly summarize real-time income, expenses, and cash flow. Second, most of these sites' dashboards contain links to working screens, so you can pay a bill or send an invoice or transfer funds between accounts—whatever needs to be done that day.
More than 30 years after the first small business accounting applications were introduced for the PC, there's still no shortage of options available for small and midsize businesses. Today, all the new solutions are cloud-based, though you can still buy desktop accounting software, we'll explain below. In general, however, accounting services are mostly online, and they've benefited from the transition, thanks to their availability anywhere via the internet, and the drastic simplification and improvement in usability that most of them have made in the course of the move online.
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 marketing is still a force to be reckoned with, even though it was one of the first forms of digital marketing to take off. In an age of social media, blogging and text messaging, email marketing is going strong because of the powerful results and conversion rates it gets for businesses of all types. Two email marketing services in particular are helpful to small businesses:
InfoFlo Pay is invoicing management and payment software that you can use to create estimates and invoices, and receive payments. It has client portals that allow your customers to accept estimates, view statements and pay invoices online. Mobile apps are available, and the software integrates with QuickBooks, MailChimp and Google Drive for an extra fee. infoflopay.com
Test automation is a fundamental part of Agile. Various core practices of Agile, such as Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery, Test-Driven Development (TDD), and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) rely on the efficiency and reliability of test automation. For teams using Agile methods, test automation impacts more than just the software being developed: successful test automation practices also highlight the culture change and importance of teamwork associated with Agile.
Zoho Books is a subscription-based accounting software with enough features to meet all your small business needs without the hefty price tag. It can sync with your bank accounts and help you create and send invoices. The time- and expense-tracking features are top-notch. The Basic plan will track your billable hours and accommodates up to 50 contacts. The Standard plan supports two users and accommodates up to 500 contacts. You can track inventory if you upgrade to the Professional plan. The Professional plan supports up to 10 users and holds unlimited contacts.
The last segment covers enterprise level software applications, such as those in the fields of enterprise resource planning, enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM) and product lifecycle management. These applications are extensive in scope, and often come with modules that either add native functions, or incorporate the functionality of third-party computer programs.
Mozilla's Thunderbird (our e-mail pick; see that category below) lacks a calendar, so most business users rely on the equally free Sunbird for scheduling. It's a very straightforward application, with day, week, and month views, and even a publishing feature to enable sending your calendar to a Web site, should you wish to make it public. Get the Lightning plug-in to integrate Sunbird directly with Thunderbird. (free)
Katalon Studio is a powerful test automation solution for mobile, Web, and API testing. And it is completely FREE! It provides a comprehensive set of features for test automation, including recording actions, creating test cases, generating test scripts, executing tests, reporting results, and integrating with many other tools in the software development lifecycle.
AccountEdge Pro does more than accounting. It features DIY or outsourced payroll services so you can link accounting to payroll, pay your employees (including direct deposit), track time and prepare payroll taxes. Retailers will also enjoy its inventory-management suite, which integrates with the popular ecommerce platform Shopify. AccountEdge Pro is available on Mac and Windows. Mobile and cloud companion apps are also available. accountedge.com/pro
This table-based example doesn't include if statements or for loops, and the %% sign indicates a variable that can be passed in or assigned. In the past, I have created accounts and users with a standard name, followed by a time stamp, to ensure that the users were unique for each test run. Individual functions, like search_for, followed by what to search and what to expect in the results, consist of code. Those might have if statements or loops in them, but what we expose to the customer is a straight flow.
We then created an extensive list of accounting software. It included software from our research as well as applications we were already familiar with and vendors who have previously pitched their software to us. We narrowed down this list based on different use-case scenarios and a wide range of criteria, which we've listed in detail below. As part of our research, we studied user reviews, watched tutorial videos and checked out customer resources offered by each vendor, such as knowledgebases, blogs and guides.
Another common misconception about automated testing is that it undermines human interaction. In all honesty, automated testing is more clear-cut and faster than what humans could do without suffering extensive human errors, so this misconception is understandable. That said, products like TestComplete are designed to facilitate a collaborative approach by including features that allow co-workers to go through a piece of test coding and comment on the script.
Integration with complementary add-ons. The future of accounting lies in two areas: the cloud, and integration. SMBs that experience tremendous growth or increased complexity may need to move up to the next level of cloud-based financial management applications, like NetSuite or Intacct. But if a business just needs more flexibility and/or features in a particular area, like invoicing, expenses, or inventory management, there are hundreds of add-on solutions that can connect to services like QuickBooks Online and Xero.