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.
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.

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

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

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.
Infusionsoft Complete can track up to 10,000 contacts for you, but Infusionsoft also offers less complex programs that accommodate less if you don’t need this capacity. You can live-record interactions with clients or customers and incorporate comments or details regarding how “hot” they are, as well as their preferences or quirks. You or an employee can call up the file before meeting with someone and get a quick rundown of what you can expect.
ADP Workforce Now’s key features include talent, benefits and payroll management and time and attendance keeping. It has a benefits plan creation wizard, which can be set up depending on a company’s on-boarding procedures. Benefits management functionalities are compliant with IRS reporting rules while its dashboard can be used to view all reporting statuses. Support for devices running on Android and iOS means that the solution can be accessed anytime anywhere.
Tools are specifically designed to target some particular test environment, such as Windows and web automation tools, etc. Tools serve as a driving agent for an automation process. However, an automation framework is not a tool to perform a specific task, but rather infrastructure that provides the solution where different tools can do their job in a unified manner. This provides a common platform for the automation engineer.
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.
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.
As mentioned previously, automated testing frees you up to focus on larger issues such as customer needs, functionality and improvements. Automated testing also reduces the cost and need for multiple code revisions, so over the course of time, the investment pays out. In addition, each time the source code is modified, the software tests can be repeated. Manually repeating these tests is costly and time-consuming, but automated tests can be run over and over again at no additional cost.
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.

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’ll still get a few other features besides, such as expense tracking and an “It’s Deductible” feature that can help you out all year long, making tax time that much easier. And the “SmartLook” feature enables you to talk to a tax expert in real time if you run into a problem. When you grant the expert access, he’s able to see exactly what you see on your monitor so he can provide guidance.
Though every new small business accounting solution launches online these days, there's still a case to be made for using desktop products. They're more feature-rich than even the top-of-the-line cloud-based applications. They're faster. They're also local, so you can still work if your internet connection goes offline. Over the years, they've all come to depend on the internet for some of their functionality (online banking, integrated and mobile apps, and so on), but you can still access their core accounting tools even if your web connection is down.
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

The move to agile has led many teams to adopt a pyramid testing strategy. The test automation pyramid strategy calls for automating tests at three different levels. Unit testing represents the base and biggest percentage of this test automation pyramid. Next comes, service layer, or API testing. And finally, GUI tests sit at the top. The pyramid looks something like this:
With Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), business customers, testers, and developers can collaborate to produce testable requirements that help them build higher quality software more rapidly. However, ATDD is still widely misunderstood by many practitioners. ATDD by Example is the first practical, entry-level, hands-on guide to implementing and successfully applying it.
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.
Unless you're a brick-and mortar retail operation that collects money due immediately, you probably need to create invoices for customers. There are still businesses that complete this task using a word processor, but they then must have a separate method for tracking invoices sent. There are more integrated, effective ways to do that if the only accounting chore you want to do on your computer is to send invoices to customers. Zoho Invoice is one such cloud-based application, as are Hiveage and Invoicera. All three provide tools for creating and sending invoices, but they also help you receive and track payments. Bill Payment Services
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

While automation saves you a lot of time, it still takes time. You can't run all your tests all the time. It takes too long and would generate an unmanageable analysis and maintenance effort. In my group, we've taken both manual and automation testing to three levels: sanity, end-to-end, and full. In addition to our feature tests, on every code commit, we run a set of high level, cross-feature tests to make sure that a code change in one feature hasn't broken another one. Only then do we run a set of more extended tests specific to the feature for which the code was committed. Then, we run our suite of feature-level sanity tests on our continuous delivery environment every three hours to make sure all features are in good shape. We only do this on one browser though, because we've found that if a test fails, it doesn't usually depend on the browser. Finally, we run feature end-to-end testing on our nightly environment.
VPN stands for virtual private network, which is a server and connecting network that’s really a gateway between your computer and the web. Instead of your computer connecting straightaway to a website, it first goes through another computer than only then connects to the site. This makes for a safer and more private Internet connection for added security.
Social media marketing is essential to small business success. Social media enables you to reach your leads and customers for a fraction of the price of a traditional ad campaign, making it extremely effective. When you consider that so many people use social media, it is also where your customers are—and that means your brand should be there, too. Here are the best marketing tools for social media.

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.
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.
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.
This doesn’t replace the face-to-face communication that’s a necessary part of software development. Instead, it enhances that aspect by providing another channel through which to communicate. Think of it this way – email didn’t replace the telephone; it was just an additional tool that could be used to communicate. The same holds true with tools like TestComplete by SmartBear – they’re not replacements for face-to-face communication as much as they’re ways to improve communication.
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 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.
With Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), business customers, testers, and developers can collaborate to produce testable requirements that help them build higher quality software more rapidly. However, ATDD is still widely misunderstood by many practitioners. ATDD by Example is the first practical, entry-level, hands-on guide to implementing and successfully applying it.
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.
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)
An image-based automated functional testing tool that enables testers to interact with AUT the same way end users do. TestPlant eggPlant is completely different from traditional testing tools in its approach: modeling user’s point of view rather instead of the test scripts view often seen by testers. This allows testers with less programming skills to learn and apply test automation intuitively. The tool supports various platforms like Web, mobile, and POS systems. It offers lab management and CI integration as well.
TDD is misleading if you don’t realize that it is more about software design and teamwork than testing. According to the authors, an Agile programmer using TDD to write “test-first” code can think about what functionality they want from the code and then partner with a tester to make sure all aspects of the code are performing to that standard of functionality.
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?

Xero is an accounting software that is largely known for having revolutionized accounting. Developed to provide the best user experience possible, the solution is easy to use, making tough accounting tasks like double bookkeeping simple even for first time users. For those who require a bookkeeper, the vendor offers certified advisors who are more than willing to assist them. The platform has gained traction in countries like the UK, US, Australia and Europe. It comes with integrations with known third-party applications and accounting tools and the software’s Express Setup feature makes set up a breeze. You can maximize the product’s potential with the assistance of its help center.
Infusionsoft Complete can track up to 10,000 contacts for you, but Infusionsoft also offers less complex programs that accommodate less if you don’t need this capacity. You can live-record interactions with clients or customers and incorporate comments or details regarding how “hot” they are, as well as their preferences or quirks. You or an employee can call up the file before meeting with someone and get a quick rundown of what you can expect.
Sufficient test coverage typically demands significant effort. Hundreds of test cases may be needed to exercise all use scenarios, validate boundary and edge cases, and ensure that an application is compatible across browsers and devices. Data-driven automated testing separates test procedures from test data, allowing you to cover more scenarios with a minimum amount of effort. Easily repeat test cases across browsers or devices to ensure your application’s compatibility and consistent performance.

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


It’s true that everything is not to be automated using Automation testing process, things to be automated are; login forms, registration forms,and the place where numbers of users access the Software simultaneously can be automated. Moreover, all GUI items, connections with databases, field validations and many-more can be efficiently tested automatically rather than manually.
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