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.
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:
The Automation test suite should be indicated if any of the integration pieces are broken. This suite need not cover each and every small feature/functionality of the solution but it should cover the working of the product as a whole. Whenever we have an alpha or a beta or any other intermediate releases, then such scripts come in handy and give some level of confidence to the customer.
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
It’s always a good idea to verify integration capabilities with vendors prior to purchasing a new software. However, as your business management software will be the central system used to house all your company data, and you likely won’t replace this system nearly as often as you would other tools, it is imperative that you carefully evaluate your integration requirements during the software selection process and review these requirements with vendors.
The Internet can be a big, bad, scary place because of all the viruses and malware that are out there. The last thing any small business owner wants is for their work computer, tablet and/or smartphone to be infected by a malicious program that’ll set back the smooth running of their operations. These security and anti-virus apps give small businesses protection and peace of mind.
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)
In this article, I'll discuss some of the best practices I discovered through on my own journey toward automation. These are practices you should consider when automating your testing cycles to make sure you build a suite of tests that work well and can be maintained throughout the life of your application. (This article is based on a presentation that can be viewed in full here.)