The subscription model. Desktop software was and is expensive, a few hundred dollars for a product you're probably not sure upfront that you'll end up using, and that you'll be asked to upgrade in 12 months. The online model is very much pay as you go, and pay for just the seats you need. Generally, you can sign up for a free trial and pay anywhere from roughly $5 to $70 per month for an accounting website, and you're not usually locked into a contract. Furthermore, all the upgrades are built in, and your data is all backed up in the cloud. Of course, if the service (or your internet connection) goes down, you're out of luck, however.
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.
With capability and frugality firmly in mind, we rounded up 25 of our favorite software tools and Web services that we deem the best for powering small and medium-size businesses. Of course, not every business needs every type of program or service, but if your small business could use some help in any of the categories below, our list will give you a pretty good shot at picking a winner.
Many companies may need to use multiple automated products, with some being used for user experience, others being used for data validation. Others are used as an all-purpose repetitive testing tool. There are free trials available for many of the products listed above, so that your business can see how each solution would fit into its existing workflow and development pipeline.
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.
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.
The flowchart-based accounting of QuickBooks is as close to a standard in financial management as the small-business world has, and it's arguably the easiest way for nonprofessionals to transfer their books from the filing cabinet to the computer, where they belong. Most actions, from cutting a check to billing a client, are just a click or two away from the start screen. ($200)
Take the time to research and learn more about the online business software you're considering using. Discover how useful these apps are and which one can help your business the most. Review a small selection that have the features you need at the right price point. Test them out with a trial run before investing. Find just the one that fits your business best and gives you a great ROI in its specific area.

By and large, business software is likely to be developed to meet the needs of a specific business, and therefore is not easily transferable to a different business environment, unless its nature and operation is identical. Due to the unique requirements of each business, off-the-shelf software is unlikely to completely address a company's needs. However, where an on-the-shelf solution is necessary, due to time or monetary considerations, some level of customization is likely to be required. Exceptions do exist, depending on the business in question, and thorough research is always required before committing to bespoke or off-the-shelf solutions.

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)
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.
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.]

One of the best automation testing tools for application and GUI testing is eggPlant. TestPlant developed eggPlant for testers to perform different types of testing. While most of the automation tool follows an object-based approach, eggPlant works on an image-based approach.  The tool allows testers to interact with the application the same way the end users will do. In eggPlant, you can use a single script to perform testing on many platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris, etc.
“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.”
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.

Katalon Studio is a unique tool that is designed to be run both by automation testers and programmers and developers. There are different levels of testing skill set available, and the testing processes include the ability to automate tests across mobile applications, web services, and web applications. Katalon Studio is built on top of Appium and Selenium, and consequently offers much of the functionality of these solutions.
Billy is attractive, basic accounting software for small service-oriented businesses. With it, you can create quotes, estimates and invoices, record expenses and generate reports. It connects to your business bank and credit card accounts to automatically download transaction data and has a proactive reconciliation process that predicts matches. It has an iPhone app and a Chrome extension for capturing receipts. billyapp.com
While programmers are waiting for feedback, they start the next thing, which leads to multitasking. Eventually, someone re-skins the user interface, and, unless there is some sort of business logic layer in the tool, all checks will fail and you will be left with no easy way to revise the system. In an attempt to just get done, teams revert to human exploration, the automation becomes even more out of date, and, eventually, it will be thrown away.
Eggplant Functional is a user-centric testing tool that enables mobile testers to test any application that can be controlled, such as mobile, desktop, or web. Part of the Digital Automation Intelligence Suite, Eggplant Functional is a visual testing tool that enables enterprise mobility teams to dynamically test from the user perspective, from the user experience (UI) standpoint, with advanced image search, image recognition and text recognition, instead of testing from the code.
“When we refer to automation frameworks, it is easiest to understand with the functional testing areas,” says Kandukuri. “You are providing commonly used methods to improve the efficiency of automated tasks. With limited knowledge of how the test case is set up, a tester can fall back on the framework to refer to simple statements and implement the test cases.”

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 testing of all desktop, web and mobile applications could be done easily by using Ranorex. It has a number of automation testing tools. Reusable test codes, GUI recognition, bug detection, Record and playback, Integration with various tools, etc. Are certain other highlights of Ranorex. Your automation testing goals can be achieved quickly by using this tool.
Denali on-premises accounting software from Cougar Mountain Software can be used by businesses of various sizes, as it can support a business with as few as four employees up to a large business that employs 50 people in its accounting department alone. Three plans are available, plus one version design for nonprofits. Payroll processing is also available. The software is modular, allowing you to customize it with just the features you need. cougarmtn.com
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.
There's plenty of failure in that combination. First of all, the feedback loop from development to test is delayed. It is likely that the code doesn't have the hooks and affordances you need to test it. Element IDs might not be predictable, or might be tied to the database, for example. With one recent customer, we couldn't delete orders, and the system added a new order as a row at the bottom. Once we had 20 test runs, the new orders appeared on page two! That created a layer of back and forth where the code didn't do what it needed to do on the first pass. John Seddon, the British occupational psychologist, calls this "failure demand," which creates extra work (demand) on a system that only exists because the system failed the first time around.
He prefers to use the term “automated test execution” when discussing test automation because the majority of people are referring to automating that activity in the testing process. Non-technical testers should have access to the automation tools. Today’s modern automation technology makes it possible for teams to collaborate and benefit from automated testing.  
TL;DR: Testing is a sophisticated task that requires a broad set of skills and with the means currently available cannot be automated. What can (and should) be automated is regression testing. This is what we usually refer to when we say test automation. Regression testing is not testing, but merely rechecking existing functionality. So regression testing is more like version control of the dynamic properties of the software.
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.
Just Enough Test Automation shows test developers and users how to design, implement, and manage software test automation. Learn from authors Dan Mosley and Bruce Posey how to implement a powerful data-driven testing framework; automate unit testing, integrate testing and system/regression testing; and facilitate manual testing with automated tools.
Test automation helps in reducing regression testing time and cutting down the time to market with significant cost savings on a long-term basis. However, a clear automation strategy and roadmap are key to ensuring the right return on investment on your automation initiatives. With disparate application architecture, multiple environments, third-party integrations and multiple user devices, a standardized and consistent automation approach is needed to ensure high reusability, ease of maintenance and lower upfront costs.
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)
Available in both open source and commercial versions, Sahi is centered around web-based application testing. Sahi is used inside of a browser, and can record testing processes that are done against web-based applications. The browser creates an easy-to-use environment in which elements of the application can be selected and tested, and tests can be recorded and repeated for automation. Playback functionality further makes it easy to pare down to errors.
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)
“When we refer to automation frameworks, it is easiest to understand with the functional testing areas,” says Kandukuri. “You are providing commonly used methods to improve the efficiency of automated tasks. With limited knowledge of how the test case is set up, a tester can fall back on the framework to refer to simple statements and implement the test cases.”
The origins of test automation start with the computing industry. The book, Automated Software Testing: introduction, management, and performance, notes that the history of automated software tests followed the evolution of software development. Software testing in the era of large database systems that supported scientific and government programs meant that a finite amount of test procedures could test a complete system at the end of the development cycle. With the rise of personal computing, the methods for testing software changed to keep up with increased demand for new software applications and new product features.
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.

In our automated testing starter kit, we provide a variety of resources and tools for you to use to get the ball rolling. You will learn how to efficiently roadmap your efforts, build scalable and easily-maintainable automation frameworks, and how to compare and choose the right tool based on your needs. Don’t worry, we’ve also included tips regarding what testing types should remain manual. Not all tests can or should be automated, and to reiterate our previous statement, it’s essential for your success that some testing types, like exploratory testing, are performed manually.
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
As a freelance accountant I’d say it is not as easy to take advantage of SMB tools as their vendors like to put it. As a matter of fact, I’ve tried several of those myself, but still had to work around them to make sense of my data, and they didn’t get much further than spreadsheets, to be honest. Does any of these systems actually fit sole accountants?
Many test automation tools provide record and playback features that allow users to interactively record user actions and replay them back any number of times, comparing actual results to those expected. The advantage of this approach is that it requires little or no software development. This approach can be applied to any application that has a graphical user interface. However, reliance on these features poses major reliability and maintainability problems. Relabelling a button or moving it to another part of the window may require the test to be re-recorded. Record and playback also often adds irrelevant activities or incorrectly records some activities.[citation needed]
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