You can (and should) regularly back up files to an external hard drive or NAS (network-attached storage) de­­vice in your office--but what if the whole place goes up in smoke? Hedge your bet with an online backup service like Mozy, which automatically archives whatever you'd like across the Internet, safe and sound. Just select what you want backed up, and Mozy does the rest, either in bulk while you sleep, or in real time, as files are changed. ($5 per month for unlimited service)
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.
TestPlant eggPlant is a niche tool that is designed to model the user’s POV and activity rather than simply scripting their actions. Testers can interact with the testing product as the end users would, making it easier for testers who may not have a development or programming background. TestPlant eggPlant can be used to create test cases and scenarios without any programming and can be integrated into lab management and CI solutions.

Automated testing is, well, automated. This differs from manual testing where a human being is responsible for single-handedly testing the functionality of the software in the way a user would. Because automated testing is done through an automation tool, less time is needed in exploratory tests and more time is needed in maintaining test scripts while increasing overall test coverage.


To make the app even better, the vendor saw to it that its latest version as advanced functionalities to further improve the financial management capabilities of users. Its dashboard makes for easy customization while data security is not an issue as secure backups are regularly implemented to keep user information secure at all times. Charges are bound to be accurate using the system, which likewise allows the use of Android and iOS apps to track outside work times.

Those who believe they will be actively customizing their automated test environments may want to start with Selenium and customize it from there, whereas those who want to begin in a more structured test environment may be better off with one of the systems that are built on top of Selenium. Selenium can be scripted in a multitude of languages, including Java, Python, PHP, C#, and Perl.
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.
Instead of creating the "tests" at the end, I suggest starting with examples at the beginning that can be run by a human or a software system. Get the programmer, tester, and product owner in a room to talk about what they need to be successful, to create examples, to define what the automation strategy will be, and to create a shared understanding to reduce failure demand. My preference is to do this at the story level — what some might call a minimum marketable feature — which requires a half-day to a week of work. George Dinwiddie, an agile coach in Maryland, popularized the term "the three amigos" for this style of work, referring to the programmer, tester, and analyst in these roles. Another term for the concept is acceptance test-driven development.
Quickbooks has been around forever, and for good reason. The tool scales quickly from individual freelancers to small businesses to multinational enterprises, and offers lots of great business add-ons like payroll and payroll tax preparations. The most basic plans track payments, expenses, and invoices with a full reporting suite that gives small businesses deep insight into where their money comes from and goes to.
Every software development group tests its products, yet delivered software always has defects. Test engineers strive to catch them before the product is released but they always creep in and they often reappear, even with the best manual testing processes. Test Automation software is the best way to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of your software testing.
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.
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.

Gauge is produced by the same company that developed Selenium. With Gauge, developers can use C#, Ruby, or Java to create automated tests Gauge itself is an extensible program that has plug-in support, but it is still in beta; use this only if you want to adopt cutting-edge technology now. Gauge is a promising product and when it is complete will likely become a standard, both for developers and testers, as it has quite a lot of technology behind it.
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
OneUp is robust cloud-based accounting software that includes CRM and inventory tools. Your sales team can use the software to follow up with leads and create quotes and sales orders, which can then be converted to invoices with a single click. The software tracks inventory and can be set to automatically generate purchase orders when inventory is low. It also runs a variety of reports. oneup.com
Business-Software.com is your go-to source for business software reviews, free software comparison reports and all of your software needs. Our business software reviews cover top-rated business accounting software solutions, the top 20 ERP software and leading CRM software applications for small, midsize and enterprise companies alike. Browse our software reports for CMS solutions, top HR software and more to meet all of your business software management needs. Use our free business software product search to start your search!

Sage 50cloud is an online accounting solution designed to help small and medium-sized businesses manage their financials and stay compliant with taxes and reporting requirements. It comes with all essential features expected of a best-in-class accounting platform such as taxes, inventory, budgeting, cash flow, and invoicing. In addition, you get a wide range of add-ons including credit card processing, HR/payroll, POS, e-commerce, data management and more.  With its mobile capability, you can make payments on-the-go and bill customers, and provide your accountants real-time access to accounting books. You can easily sign up for a Sage 50cloud free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

In my organization, we've taken automation to the extreme, and we automate every test we believe will yield a good ROI. Usually, this means we run automation tests on all delivered features at both sanity and end-to-end levels. This way, we achieve 90 percent coverage while also maintaining and growing our test automation suite at all stages of the application lifecycle.


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.

FreeAgent is a feature-rich, cloud-hosted accounting platform intended to help small businesses and freelancers. It is relied upon by more than 60,000 businesses with its ability to bring together and manage all aspects of financial operation. The software comes with an array of tools designed to let you efficiently manage all important financial tasks and processes such as payrolls, taxes, expenses, estimates and invoices, bank transactions, cash flows, time tracking, and your project’s financial performance.

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.
Spendesk equips businesses and organizations with a set of tools for efficient company expense management and monitoring. Controlling company budget is easily done by allocating a fix amount of money to an employee’s virtual card and accordingly records all transaction details in real-time, allowing for easy spend monitoring and preventing unwanted overspending.
As a business management software, iBE.net is an appropriate choice for mid-sized companies as it offers expense tracking, invoice reports, CRM support along with an easy integration of project details. It is extensively used in consulting, marketing, management, and other technical industries. It is like your entire business within your palm of hands.

The reality is, there is no “better” or “worse” in the automated vs. manual debate, there’s just “different.” Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. Manual testing is performed by a human sitting in front of a computer carefully going through application via SQL and log analysis, trying various usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording the results. Automated testing is often used after the initial software has been developed. Lengthy tests that are often avoided during manual testing can be run unattended. They can even be run on multiple computers with different configurations.
Small business accounting is an area where there's still a lot of competition, which is healthy, but it makes your decision-making process harder. Consider the chart above and click through to the full reviews, take a look at the screenshots, and take advantage of the free trials offered. What you choose now may or may not be what you need in five years, but the landscape will look different by then. So pick the best match for your current circumstances and dive in!
Every software project takes time before its requirements and design stabilize. A classic comparison is between the UI that can change at any time in an application's lifecycle and back-end services that may live untouched for generations. Agile projects behave differently from waterfall in this respect. If you're developing a SaaS product, you must use automation to support frequent deliveries, but you'll have to carefully consider the effort you invest in developing tests because your requirements may also change frequently. This a fine balance you'll have to learn to work with. For an on-premise solution, it may be easier to identify the stage in which automation tests can be safely developed and maintained. For all these cases, you have to carefully consider when it's cost-effective to develop automated tests. If you start from day one, you'll expend a lot of resources shooting at a moving target.

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.

In my organization, we've taken automation to the extreme, and we automate every test we believe will yield a good ROI. Usually, this means we run automation tests on all delivered features at both sanity and end-to-end levels. This way, we achieve 90 percent coverage while also maintaining and growing our test automation suite at all stages of the application lifecycle.


To keep track of our ever-growing suite of tests, we also classify the automation status of our tests ("already automated," "blocked," "cannot be automated," "in progress," "to be automated") and define the scope of each test (API, integration, user interface, end-to-end, etc.) Note that we have recognized that not all tests should (or can) be automated.
Intuit QuickBooks Online offers a range of features for all types of small businesses. This includes freelancers, consultants, online merchants, store and restaurant owners, service providers and more. Whether you're just starting out, expanding or have an established business, QuickBooks Online is packed with basic and advanced features to meet your accounting needs. [Go here for a full review of QuickBooks Online accounting software.]
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.]
Every software project takes time before its requirements and design stabilize. A classic comparison is between the UI that can change at any time in an application's lifecycle and back-end services that may live untouched for generations. Agile projects behave differently from waterfall in this respect. If you're developing a SaaS product, you must use automation to support frequent deliveries, but you'll have to carefully consider the effort you invest in developing tests because your requirements may also change frequently. This a fine balance you'll have to learn to work with. For an on-premise solution, it may be easier to identify the stage in which automation tests can be safely developed and maintained. For all these cases, you have to carefully consider when it's cost-effective to develop automated tests. If you start from day one, you'll expend a lot of resources shooting at a moving target.
If your team members all have Google accounts (and why wouldn't they?), sharing files and collaborating on them simultaneously and in real-time is a snap with Google Docs. A word processor and spreadsheet are your only choices--no free-form whiteboarding here--but the service is free and easy as pie to operate. Upgrading to the Premier Edition brings extra space (a 25GB limit versus 7GB for free) and a conference-room scheduling system. (Standard Edition is free)
This book describes how to build and implement an automated testing regime for software development. It presents a detailed account of the principles of automated testing, practical techniques for designing a good automated testing regime, and advice on choosing and applying off-the-shelf testing tools to specific needs. This sound and practical introduction to automated testing comes from two authors well known for their seminars, consultancy and training in the field.
Sage 50cloud is an online accounting solution designed to help small and medium-sized businesses manage their financials and stay compliant with taxes and reporting requirements. It comes with all essential features expected of a best-in-class accounting platform such as taxes, inventory, budgeting, cash flow, and invoicing. In addition, you get a wide range of add-ons including credit card processing, HR/payroll, POS, e-commerce, data management and more.  With its mobile capability, you can make payments on-the-go and bill customers, and provide your accountants real-time access to accounting books. You can easily sign up for a Sage 50cloud free trial here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.
This approach works fine for the first weeks, when running checks only takes five minutes. Over time, though, five minutes turn into an hour, then two, then three. Before you know it, testing locks up the tester's computer or test environment all afternoon. So you start kicking off automated test runs at 5 am or 5 pm and get the results the next day. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong early on, all the results will be corrupted. That slows to a crawl the feedback loop from development to test, creating wait states in the work.
A data-driven performance testing tool, IBM is a commercial solution that operates in Java, .Net, AJAX, and more. The IBM Rational Functional Tester provides unique functionality in the form of its “Storyboard” feature, whereby user actions can be captured and then visualized through application screenshots. IBM RFT will give an organization information about how users are using their product, in addition to how users are potentially breaking their product. RFT is integrated with lifecycle management systems, including the Rational Quality Manager and the Rational Team Concert. Consequently, it’s best used in a robust IBM environment.

Small businesses. Most small businesses will be well-served by a standard business management software, such as BizAutomation, that helps them manage the everyday tasks and operations to make their business more efficient. Alternatively, they can choose a solution focused on one critical area of their business, such as scheduling or marketing and sales, and integrate with standalone applications for less critical operations.
Considering all of its shortcomings, we are lucky that testing existing functionality isn’t really testing. As we said before, real testing is questioning each and every aspect and underlying assumption of the product. Existing functionality has already endured that sort of testing. Although it might be necessary to re-evaluate assumptions that were considered valid at the time of testing, this is typically not necessary before every release and certainly not continuously. Testing existing functionality is not really testing. It is called regression testing, and although it sounds the same, regression testing is to testing like pet is to carpet—not at all related. The goal of regression testing is merely to recheck that existing functionality still works as it did at the time of the actual testing. So regression testing is about controlling the changes of the behaviour of the software. In that regard it has more to do with version control than with testing. In fact, one could say that regression testing is the missing link between controlling changes of the static properties of the software (configuration and code) and controlling changes of the dynamic properties of the software (the look and behaviour). Automated tests simply pin those dynamic properties down and transform them to a static artefact (e.g. a test script), which again can be governed by current version control systems.
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.
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)
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.
Simple, familiar language. The principles of double-entry accounting are several centuries old. You can't get away from some of the terms and phrases that wouldn't normally come up in casual conversation, like debits and credits, general ledger, and chart of accounts. But the developers who have produced today's best-of-breed accounting sites only subject you to arcane language when it's absolutely necessary. You can't get around the fact that double-entry accounting is a complex process that must follow the rules, but these wizard-based services hide as much of the complexity as they can.

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.

Crispin and Gregory define Test-Driven Development (TDD) as the process of writing and automating small unit tests before writing the piece of code that will make the test pass. TDD is used for continuous integration testing to ensure small units of code work together first. A unit test verifies the behavior of a small part of the code in the overall system. These tests are the primary candidate for the majority of automated tests. Even teams that are not practicing Agile development use TDD to prevent defects and design software (Agile Testing, 2008).
Really small businesses need really simple accounting software. Zoho Books offers all of the basic features microbusinesses need as well as advanced tools and integrations so you can continue using the software as your business grows. Furthermore, compared with other accounting software for really small businesses, Zoho Books has the best price for all of its capabilities. [Go here for a full review of Zoho Books.]
However, actually building automated tests for web applications can be challenging because the user interface of your application might change regularly, because of incompatibilities between browsers and because you usually need to support various server or client platforms. The following tools make it easier to build and execute automated tests for your web application.
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
Collaborate around tasks with your team, with projects, comments, and assignments. MeisterTask is visually similar to Trello, but supports a native integration to MindMeister for fast and easy mind mapping. Its integrations with Dropbox, GitHub, Zendesk, Box, Bitbucket, and Google Drive allow you to map tasks to one another and keep you from entering data in the same place twice.
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.
“While using and teaching Agile practices like test-driven development (TDD) on projects in different environments, I kept coming across the same confusion and misunderstandings. Programmers wanted to know where to start, what to test and what not to test, how much to test in one go, what to call their tests, and how to understand why a test fails. [….] My response is BDD.”
Many of the Office 2016 features are the same as those offered by other software, but Microsoft stands head and shoulders above the rest in one area: document sharing. If you also sign up for Microsoft’s Office 365, a subscription service, you can store documents in the cloud and invite others to access them. They can view them, add to them or edit them in real time, as long as they’re equipped with Office 2010 or a later version. You can literally have a business meeting with people located all over the globe.
Jim Hazen is an Automation Consultant and “veteran of the software testing trenches” who helps companies with test automation and performance test implementations. He has presented at multiple professional conferences, including STARWest and STPCon, and published articles in ST&QA Magazine on test automation and communication techniques for testers. You can learn more about Jim on LinkedIn.
Paying bills isn't as much fun as sending out invoices, but it has to be done. You may already be managing this task through your bank's website, which may or may not excel at this service. There are few other options online for standalone bill-pay, and the ones that exist have restrictions. Bill.com rules when it comes to supporting both invoices and bills; you'll be charged $29 per user per month for payables automation only. If that's more than you want to pay, you could subscribe to Wave, which is free, and just use its bill-paying tools.
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