I think we can all agree that automation is a critical part of any organization's software delivery pipeline, especially if you call yourself "agile." It's pretty intuitive that if you automate testing, your release cycles are going to get shorter. "So, if that's the case," you might say, "why don't we just automate everything?" There's a good reason: automation comes with a price.

This article features the most useful, best small business software tools that are integral to your success and easy to learn and install. We provide a curated selection of the best online small business software, from accounting, to project and email management, document storage, security software and more. This way you can get your small business running smoothly. 


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.
Factory accounting software was among the most popular of early business software tools, and included the automation of general ledgers, fixed assets inventory ledgers, cost accounting ledgers, accounts receivable ledgers, and accounts payable ledgers (including payroll, life insurance, health insurance, federal and state insurance and retirement).
Ranorex Studio produces straightforward and comprehensive test reports to reduce debugging time. View reports in Ranorex Studio, or formatted as a PDF and sent automatically by email. To get the fastest feedback, you can even view reports while testing is in progress. Choose whether or not to generate detailed logs, produce a JUnit-compatible report, or create a custom report template. Debug errors by jumping straight from the test report to the failed step in the test case. Use Ranorex predefined report levels to select messages by type such as “warning” or “error,” and include screenshots and snapshots in reports to aid in the debugging effort.

Many of the systems we’ve reviewed are just cut for freelancers, with configurable billing & invoicing, automated tax calculations, integration with all major banks, and of course – reports and metrics that comply with your needs. A large portion of them are also extremely affordable, but so that you stay on the safe side, we recommend you to look exclusively at online and cloud-hosted technology. Pick natively integrated systems instead of hiring a developer to build software connections from scratch, and pay attention to scalability so that your prospective system can handle sudden workload spikes.
Many of the systems we’ve reviewed are just cut for freelancers, with configurable billing & invoicing, automated tax calculations, integration with all major banks, and of course – reports and metrics that comply with your needs. A large portion of them are also extremely affordable, but so that you stay on the safe side, we recommend you to look exclusively at online and cloud-hosted technology. Pick natively integrated systems instead of hiring a developer to build software connections from scratch, and pay attention to scalability so that your prospective system can handle sudden workload spikes.
The use of GUI applications introduced the first generation of automated test tools capable of performing record and playback functions. Testers continued to write down scenarios and test scripts, but the widespread use of GUI meant that users of an application now had multiple ways to interact with the software. Testers had to overcome this scenario, and the evolution of test automation tools gained momentum.
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:
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.
Robust GUI test automation begins with the reliable object identification provided by Ranorex Spy. This tool can be used alone or from within the Ranorex Studio environment to deliver industry-leading recognition of GUI objects and controls, and ensure that each user interface element is uniquely identified using the powerful RanoreXPath syntax. Information on identified objects can be shared with team members through snapshot files, or stored in the Ranorex object repository for use in automated tests. The object repository in Ranorex Studio manages identified UI objects, so that they are editable and re-usable across testing projects. Features of the repository include the ability to assign meaningful names to repository objects to make them more maintainable, set default values, or link objects to parameter values. Ranorex Studio tools support best practices in automated test case design, including separation of test data from procedures, use of local and global parameters to pass values, and easily reusable code modules that can be shared by the entire team.
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
Some business applications are interactive, i.e., they have a graphical user interface or user interface and users can query/modify/input data and view results instantaneously. They can also run reports instantaneously. Some business applications run in batch mode: they are set up to run based on a predetermined event/time and a business user does not need to initiate them or monitor them.
Business applications can fail when an unexpected error occurs. This error could occur due to a data error (an unexpected data input or a wrong data input), an environment error (an in frastructure related error), a programming error, a human error or a work flow error. When a business application fails one needs to fix the business application error as soon as possible so that the business users can resume their work. This work of resolving business application errors is known as business application support.
BeeBills is an automated invoicing software with features designed to make the invoicing process simpler for both businesses and their consumers. You can send automatically scheduled reminders to customers to pay invoices among other features. The company is based in Norway, but the product is marketed and meant for businesses in the United States and United Kingdom. beebills.com
Robot Framework is an open-source automation framework that implements the keyword-driven approach for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). Robot Framework provides frameworks for different test automation needs. But its test capability can be further extended by implementing additional test libraries using Python and Java. Selenium WebDriver is a popular external library used in Robot Framework.

Work[etc] is an ERP for small businesses that’s based around CRM and project management software. Connect sales, marketing, projects, operations, support, and financial teams in one software where different departments can collaborate easier. Work[etc] replaces the separate software for project management, CRM, email marketing, help desk, and contract management. Integrate directly with your accounting software for real-time updates and financial reports.
You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to be successful. We believe support should be fast, friendly, and affordable. Every TestComplete customer gets a dedicated customer success manager for comprehensive onboarding and quick support. We also offer FREE trainings for all of our automated test tools, as well as webinars on popular industry topics like automation frameworks and mobile testing. With our help, you will become an expert in test automation in no time.
Ranorex Studio tools have the features that QA teams need to maintain consistent testing performance and deliver timely feedback about the quality of your application. Whether your team is testing software designed for desktop, web, or mobile devices, you can improve your software testing processes by downloading a free, 30-day trial of Ranorex Studio. Or, contact a member of our sales team for more information.
If your business still doesn't have a blog--one of the best ways around to provide up-to-date company and product news--you're only about three years behind the curve. Hey, it's not too late to catch up: WordPress installs in minutes (it even offers a free, hosted option on WordPress.com), and the platform is dazzlingly easy to use (the site's home page carries an ad for WordPress for Dummies, but we doubt you'll need to crack that volume). WordPress so simple, your team will be begging to contribute to the blog instead of whining that it's too laborious. (free)
You need collaboration and extensive automation to achieve Continuous Delivery. According to Fowler, the rewards of doing so successfully include reduced risk, believable progress, and user feedback. Continuous Delivery is an important method in Agile development. It helps remove obstacles that prevent the frequent deployment of features. Automation testing is a fundamental part of the continuous development practice associated with Agile.  
Aside from those mentioned, the software can automate any business’ payment operations around the world, which could range from tasks like onboarding to tax compliance. It is capable of streamlining payment processing in around 190 countries. Using the product, businesses can rest assured that they are compliant with all existing tax and regulatory requirements minus too much human intervention. Customer and vendor payment experiences are likewise improved, along with service quality.
Need customized invoicing software for your freelance or other small business? Hiveage allows you create estimates and quotes, then convert them to invoices after client acceptance. The software tracks time, expenses and mileage. It also allows you to accept online payments, including recurring payments such as subscriptions. All plans support unlimited clients and invoices. hiveage.com
Worst case, your testers spend all day maintaining the automation false failures, adjusting the test code to match the current system, and rerunning them. This might have some marginal value, but it is incredibly expensive, and valuable only when the programmers are making changes that routinely cause real failure. But that's a problem you need to fix, not cover up with the Band-Aid of testing tools.

QuickBooks offers literally hundreds of templates for almost any report you could conceivably need.  Invoicing? You got it. Accounts payable? Not a problem. Inventory? Check. Time tracking? Yes. QuickBooks will manage your contacts and handle tax issues, forms and returns. It will create a budget for you and do your payroll — although the payroll feature is an add-on that costs a little extra. QuickBooks does pretty much everything except drive you to work.
With the experience of advising clients on test automation and architecting their automation journey, TestingXperts is one of the leading automation testing companies that generates the value you always wanted through test automation. Our test automation solutions support your business objectives by designing an automation strategy aligned with enterprise goals. We carry out a detailed tool evaluation exercise to recommend an optimized tool inventory to suit your needs and budget.

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.


The method or process being used to implement automation is called a test automation framework. Several frameworks have been implemented over the years by commercial vendors and testing organizations. Automating tests with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or open source software can be complicated, however, because they almost always require customization. In many organizations, automation is only implemented when it has been determined that the manual testing program is not meeting expectations and it is not possible to bring in more human testers.
With Vyew, anyone can host an Internet session that lets scattered colleagues work together on a project in real time. This Web conferencing platform gives you a very simple whiteboard where you can upload documents for discussion, share your desktop, or create designs from scratch. You don't even have to register to use Vyew, but if you do, you get access to VoIP and other audio services. (free for up to 20 live participants; additional services extra)

Many of the systems we’ve reviewed are just cut for freelancers, with configurable billing & invoicing, automated tax calculations, integration with all major banks, and of course – reports and metrics that comply with your needs. A large portion of them are also extremely affordable, but so that you stay on the safe side, we recommend you to look exclusively at online and cloud-hosted technology. Pick natively integrated systems instead of hiring a developer to build software connections from scratch, and pay attention to scalability so that your prospective system can handle sudden workload spikes.
When we talk about continuous testing, and with it continuous delivery and DevOps, the term automation gets thrown around a lot. In a basic sense, we all understand what automation means — the use of some technology to complete a task. But when we talk about automation in terms of continuous testing, there are some nuances that we need to take into account.

The method or process being used to implement automation is called a test automation framework. Several frameworks have been implemented over the years by commercial vendors and testing organizations. Automating tests with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or open source software can be complicated, however, because they almost always require customization. In many organizations, automation is only implemented when it has been determined that the manual testing program is not meeting expectations and it is not possible to bring in more human testers.

During my three years at Socialtext, I helped maintain a test tooling system through a user interface that was advanced for its time. O'Reilly took it as a case study in the book Beautiful Testing. The team at Socialtext uses the same framework today, although it now has several tests running at one time on Amazon's Electric Compute Cloud. Although we had a great deal of GUI-driving tests, we also had developer-facing (unit) and web services (integration) tests, a visual slideshow that testers could watch for every browser, and a strategy to explore by hand for each release. This combination of methods to reduce risk meant we found problems early.

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.


The Business User calls the business application support team phone number or sends an e-mail to the business application support team. The business application support team gets all the details of the error from the business user on the phone or from the e-mail. These details are then entered in a tracking software. The tracking software creates a request number and this request number is given to the business user. This request number is used to track the progress on the support issue. The request is assigned to a support team member.
In this case, you could check the screens to see if they still created a user with the right setup, but once that's done, there's no need to recheck that create use works over and over. Instead, consider creating actual command-line parameters to speed up testing. In the example at the client, a simple command-line tool could have flipped the ratio from one hour a day of testing and seven hours of setup to seven hours of testing and one hour of setup.
The next phase in the evolution of business software is being led by the emergance of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which involves identifying and automating highly repetitive tasks and processes, with an aim to drive operational efficiency, reduce costs and limit human error.[4] Industries that have been in the forefront of RPA adoption include the Insurance industry, Banking and Financial Services, the Legal industry and the Healthcare industry.
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:

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.
But if test automation is so limited, why do we do it in the first place? Because we have to, there is simply no other way. Because development adds up, testing doesn’t. Each iteration and release adds new features to the software (or so it should). And they need to be tested, manually. But new features also usually cause changes in the software that can break existing functionality. So existing functionality has to be tested, too. Ideally, you even want existing functionality to be tested continuously, so you recognise fast if changes break existing functionality and need some rework. But even if you only test before releases, in a team with a fixed number of developers and testers, over time, the testers are bound to fall behind. This is why at some point, testing has to be automated.
Sometimes it can seem that the most difficult part of running a small business is selecting the proper software to take care of the more tedious details for you. Sure, your grandfather just sharpened his pencil when it came time to take care of the books, but this isn’t your grandfather’s business climate anymore. These days, there are many products available to streamline the process for you, so you can put your mind to more important things…like making money.
We are running a local gardening service business, and weren’t exactly lucky picking up a standalone billing service. We looked mostly at tools with multiple levels of service, but we couldn’t find an SMB-friendly plan that automates accounts payable. Pay-as-you-go was not an option either, as we’re working more or less with the same clients. Which system would you suggest?
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.
With so many options, it can be challenging for enterprise mobility teams to choose the right solution. Whether open-source or commercial, the top mobile testing tools each have their own strengths and overall benefits. But, depending on the size of the enterprise mobility team, overall skill set and available resources, some solutions may not be the right fit for all mobile developers, testers and quality assurance professionals.
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.
To find the best accounting software for small businesses, we began by asking business owners which accounting software they use, what they love about it and what they think makes it a "perfect" accounting application. We also researched popular accounting software that frequently appeared on reputable review websites, top lists and business websites.

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.

Many of the systems we’ve reviewed are just cut for freelancers, with configurable billing & invoicing, automated tax calculations, integration with all major banks, and of course – reports and metrics that comply with your needs. A large portion of them are also extremely affordable, but so that you stay on the safe side, we recommend you to look exclusively at online and cloud-hosted technology. Pick natively integrated systems instead of hiring a developer to build software connections from scratch, and pay attention to scalability so that your prospective system can handle sudden workload spikes.

“If you need a framework to test web services, you may use a different set of tools within a framework,” says Jones. “You should be able to combine tools within a framework in a way that allows you to test, so you are not limited to just UI, integration, or web-services testing. Build your framework in a way that supports a range of testing goals.”
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.

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.


Additionally, we looked for cloud-based software that syncs with bank accounts and point of sale (POS) systems, making it simple to perform advanced tasks, such as running financial reports and accepting payments. Our staff researched and reviewed an extensive collection of programs and selected what we believe to be the best accounting software for different types of small businesses in 2018.
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.
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