Ok, you may be wondering why small businesses would need an enterprise resource planning tool (ERP)–especially because these tools have enterprise right in the name, so they should be too bulky for any small business, right? Fortunately, the technology that connects huge multinational corporations has become advanced enough that it can provide the same interconnected resources to businesses on a budget. These are the best ERP solutions for small businesses.
First, you need the right tools. Second, you need qualified testers who need to be trained. Third, you need to invest time and effort in automation infrastructure and to develop tests on top of it. Developing automated tests is a software development effort itself. Tests need to be designed, coded, and validated before you can really put them to use. But the biggest effort comes just when you think you're done.
Although this a complete list of the best software for small businesses in each of these categories, there might be other options that work better for your company. Click on the category headers below for a full list of available products. For personalized recommendations based on your business needs call one of our Technology Advisors at 877-822-9526 for a free, 5-minute consultation.
With KashFlow accounting software for small businesses, you can invoice your customers, reconcile bank transactions, accept invoice payments online and generate more than 50 reports. The software includes a mobile app for Android and iOS, and integrations are available. It can be used by businesses in many countries, including the U.S., but its payroll features are exclusive to U.K.-based businesses. kashflow.com
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.
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.
Hubspot calls themselves an inbound marketing and sales software, but the software modules come as stand alone or integrated marketing, CRM, and sales tools. The CRM is always free, and sales and marketing tools start at $0 and scale from there. From website building tools to lead generation and tracking modules and drip campaigns, Hubspot covers all the bases.
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)
SmartBear’s TestComplete is an easy to use automated UI testing tool. TestComplete supports cross platform testing and multiple scripting languages. It also instruments both iOS and Android native apps. In addition, TestComplete offers a record and playback feature and uses the Google Chrome browser to emulate all other browsers. Test Complete does not test on native iOS Safari or Android Chrome.
To further inform our decisions, we contacted each vendor to measure the quality of their customer support. Posing as small business owners in the market for accounting software, we chatted with sales reps and customer service teams and asked a variety of questions. This also helped clarify any concerns and issues we came across while researching and testing each product.
In software testing, test automation is the use of special software (separate from the software being tested) to control the execution of tests and the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or add additional testing that would be difficult to perform manually.
Testing in these short Agile iterations often necessitates a “shift left” approach. This shift left in agile development process means testing starts much earlier in the application lifecycle. As a result, in such an approach, developers with strong technical expertise are increasingly being held accountable for testing, and thus, they often work alongside testers to create test automation frameworks.
GitHub’s major competitor is Bitbucket, an Atlassian product that has deep integrations with JIRA, Confluence, and Trello. For up to 10 users, Bitbucket is cheaper. When you hit 10+, it’s more expensive but may work out as cheaper for large enterprises. Also, if your company is looking to spark interest in the open source community, there’s no bigger audience than GitHub’s.
HP's QTP, which is launched as Unified Functional Testing, provides automated functional testing and automated regression testing. It supports scripting interfaces and offers a GUI for easy use. It can be used for enterprise quality assurance. It uses VB scripts to specify test procedures and manipulate application's objects which are being tested.
myBooks Online Accounting Software comes equipped with all the essential features for small businesses that are looking to manage their accounting processes at an affordable price. This web based accounting application has a few automation capabilities to speed up one’s workflow, including automating conversions for foreign currencies and automatically displaying bank feeds on your dashboard. myBooks Online Accounting software supports multi-currency transactions, which essentially eliminates the intricacies attached to foreign exchange processes. Moreover, it features an enterprise-grade security to safeguard your financial data from external threats.
You already know the value of software testing. But fast-paced software development environments can create time and cost constraints that make it difficult to thoroughly test an application prior to release. If defects slip undetected into the production environment, the result can be customer dissatisfaction and increased maintenance costs. Test automation allows your team to execute more tests in less time, increasing coverage and freeing human testers to do more high-level, exploratory testing. Automation is especially beneficial for test cases that are executed repeatedly, such as those for cross-browser and cross-device compatibility, and those that are part of a full or partial regression suite.
Designed for developers, Cypress is an end-to-end solution “for anything that runs inside the browser.” By running inside of the browser itself, Cypress can provide for more consistent results when compared to other products such as Selenium. As Cypress runs, it can alert developers of the actions that are being taken within the browser, giving them more information regarding the behaviors of their applications.
Test automation mostly using unit testing is a key feature of extreme programming and agile software development, where it is known as test-driven development (TDD) or test-first development. Unit tests can be written to define the functionality before the code is written. However, these unit tests evolve and are extended as coding progresses, issues are discovered and the code is subjected to refactoring. Only when all the tests for all the demanded features pass is the code considered complete. Proponents argue that it produces software that is both more reliable and less costly than code that is tested by manual exploration. It is considered more reliable because the code coverage is better, and because it is run constantly during development rather than once at the end of a waterfall development cycle. The developer discovers defects immediately upon making a change, when it is least expensive to fix. Finally, code refactoring is safer when unit testing is used; transforming the code into a simpler form with less code duplication, but equivalent behavior, is much less likely to introduce new defects when the refactored code is covered by unit tests.
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.
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 business applications are built in-house and some are bought from vendors (off the shelf software products). These business applications are installed on either desktops or big servers. Prior to the introduction of COBOL (a universal compiler) in 1965, businesses developed their own unique machine language. RCA's language consisted of a 12-position instruction. For example, to read a record into memory, the first two digits would be the instruction (action) code. The next four positions of the instruction (an 'A' address) would be the exact leftmost memory location where you want the readable character to be placed. Four positions (a 'B' address) of the instruction would note the very rightmost memory location where you want the last character of the record to be located. A two digit 'B' address also allows a modification of any instruction. Instruction codes and memory designations excluded the use of 8's or 9's. The first RCA business application was implemented in 1962 on a 4k RCA 301. The RCA 301, mid frame 501, and large frame 601 began their marketing in early 1960.
More than 30 years after the first small business accounting applications were introduced for the PC, there's still no shortage of options available for small and midsize businesses. Today, all the new solutions are cloud-based, though you can still buy desktop accounting software, we'll explain below. In general, however, accounting services are mostly online, and they've benefited from the transition, thanks to their availability anywhere via the internet, and the drastic simplification and improvement in usability that most of them have made in the course of the move online.
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.]