All Blogs
Spend Management
May 4, 2022

Achieve spendlightenment: The power, vision, and flow.

Written by
Emma Dunstone
Emma Dunstone

Emma Dunstone is VP of Marketing at Airbase. She is an elected Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing — the largest professional marketing association in the world. Emma is a graduate of Bournemouth University, England, with a degree in Business Studies.

Achieve spendlightenment: The power, vision, and flow. Achieve spendlightenment: The power, vision, and flow.

We rigorously track, monitor, and analyze how our spend management software compares to competitors in the market, and we’re confident (and happy to demonstrate) that Airbase offers significantly more value than any other. 

Yet this relatively new category has a range of implementations from simple to comprehensive, all claiming to be spend management systems. Explaining how and why our product is superior — often to audiences who are unfamiliar with spend management itself — presents a challenge to our marketing efforts. 

Beyond spend management: The next level. 

Spend management is an idea whose time has come, and it’s gaining popularity fast. It has been developed to automate manual workflows, provide visibility and control over employee spending, and save companies time and money when processing, controlling, and accounting for spend. Different spend management systems succeed in providing these benefits to varying degrees, across some or all non-payroll spend. 

Given the broad range of features offered by different systems, we decided that we needed a better term than spend management to describe exactly what our product does — a definition that rises above a list of features to encapsulate an entirely new approach. We settled on the term spendlightenment. It’s the perfect way to describe what you get with Airbase. And it helps to distinguish Airbase from any other choice. 

From clever term to tangible results.

Spendlightenment describes a heightened state of financial consciousness that can only be achieved with the right approach to spend management. Attaining spendlightenment means having a level of vision, power, and flow that is transformative for a business. 

Airbase was early to the spend management sector and has taken a comprehensive yet flexible approach to its product from the get-go. Airbase continues to define the outer reaches of functionality for the category while others play catch-up. And, because companies don’t always need a comprehensive solution to begin with, Airbase believes spend management should be flexible — offering versions that range from free to full-featured. 

The bad vibrations of accounts payable.

Accounts payable, long plagued by inefficiencies, has been ripe for wholesale improvement for a long time. In many companies, AP processes are manual, and when there are software solutions in place, they’re typically a jumble of dated, disconnected systems, which creates extra work and clouds visibility. 

It’s hard to enter a state of flow and truly feel like you’re performing valuable work when performing manual reconciliations, chasing missing receipts, and correcting miscategorizations. These inefficiencies take a toll on finance team members. In one Accountancy Age study, 90% of accountants said they were stressed at work, and 43% had taken time off work due to stress. It can also hurt a company’s bottom line: Only 28% of surveyed finance professionals feel their reporting data is accurate, according to an IMA study

Levels of spend management: Why attempts to align the chakras often fall short.

If you look closely at companies that offer spend management solutions, you’ll see there are different levels of consciousness offered:

  • Basic: Some software-enabled card companies describe their approval workflows as spend management solutions. While it’s true that these workflows provide visibility and control for corporate card use, they don’t properly address the rest of the accounts payable ecosystem. 
  • Cross-over: Legacy systems that include more complex automation for paying vendors but still haven’t integrated corporate card spend.
  • Evolving: Working toward consolidation of all non-payroll spend, but without a depth and breadth of features and integrations. This hints at the true value of spend management, but falls short of what is possible. 

Spendlightenment means power, vision, and flow so that you can be all-seeing and all-knowing about your company’s spend. Airbase’s consolidated platform gives the best vision, our unrivaled depth and breadth of features produce maximum power, and our intuitive user interface, with automation and integrations, generates flow across the broadest spectrum available. 

Look beyond spend management to spendlightenment.

Once achieved, the benefits of spendlightenment are significant.

Vision: When it comes to spending company money, you need to see where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going, all in real time.

  • A real-time view of all non-payroll spend, across the whole organization.
  • Line of sight into spending before it occurs with pre-approvals for POs and card spend.
  • An automatic audit trail to clearly see what transpired in the past. 
  • Context for invoices that arrive in your inbox.
  • A vendor portal to also provide vision to your vendors.

Flow: Fluid workflows among and between operational teams that can be carried out from the office, at home, or on the go.

  • Interconnectedness between cards, reimbursements, and bill payments — all flowing seamlessly to the GL.
  • Highly customizable approval routing that flows even more seamlessly than the best yoga practice.
  • The ability to request spend, pay vendors, and attach receipts with just a few clicks. 
  • Amortization schedules that can be created automatically. 
  • Easy payment scheduling to optimize cash positions.
  • Auto-categorization of spend. 

Power: Moving from responding to after-the-fact issues to vanquishing risks and manual work while driving company growth. 

  • Rule-based expense policies that ensure compliance without effort.
  • Effortless reimbursement procedures, with money going straight into bank accounts (almost) like magic.
  • The ability to set spending limits on cards and control automatic renewals. 
  • Automatic provisioning and deprovisioning linked to your HRIS. 
  • A regular data sync to keep your GL current.
  • Enforced receipt compliance. 
  • Levers of control to ramp up or down spending with minor adjustments to the system.
  • A faster time-to-close.

Achieving a higher state.

Those who have achieved spendlightenment can devote more of their day to analytic and strategic work — the kind of work that is fulfilling — and feel the deep satisfaction of having a powerful impact on their company. Employees experience more control and accountability over their spending, and see finance team members as collaborators instead enforcers. Managing employee spending feels effortless for all involved. That’s true spendlightenment. 

Emma Dunstone
Emma Dunstone

About Airbase

Airbase offers a one platform solution to manage all non-payroll spend. It provides oversight and control over spending with real-time reporting and automatic syncing directly to your general ledger. Control all paymentsphysical cards, virtual cards, ACH, and checks – from one place. Close faster. Empower employees. Control spend.

To learn more about Airbase, contact us for a product demo.
Emma Dunstone
Emma Dunstone

Emma Dunstone is VP of Marketing at Airbase. She is an elected Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing — the largest professional marketing association in the world. Emma is a graduate of Bournemouth University, England, with a degree in Business Studies.

Off the Ledger:

Finance & Accounting Slack Group.

Join to connect with other finance professionals building great companies. Ask questions, provide your perspective, join the conversation, find resources.