10 features that prove Airbase crushes it for accountants.
During my time as an accountant at a publicly traded company, I experienced first-hand the frustrations of being buried under a mountain of never-ending, repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming work. My team spent a lot of precious time:
- Doing variance analysis for each GL account to catch errors from improperly coded transactions.
- Finding missing recurring monthly entries.
- Tracking down missing receipts, invoices, and supporting documentation.
- Accruing expenses.
- Explaining policies to employees, and much more.
I wasn’t providing as much strategic value as I envisioned, or was capable of, because of these demands on my time. The demands on our team’s time were constantly growing as our business grew. Even with a variety of software solutions, Excel templates, and drafted policies and procedures, I was still drowning in this manual, time-consuming work. I thought to myself, is this really the only way? At the time, I thought it was.
When I first saw what Airbase was aiming to do — consolidate and automate all non-payroll spend, including bill payments, corporate cards, and employee expense reimbursements — it blew my mind. I thought, why did this not exist a few years ago? How is this solution not in every accounting and finance team’s tech stack? The massive opportunity to completely change the way corporate accounting teams work and free them up to provide strategic value to their companies was immediately obvious to me.
After going deeper into the product, it was clear to me that Airbase was built with accounting teams in mind. Its workflows and tools automate our everyday tasks and take away the pain from the month-end close. Here are 10 ways Airbase meets the unique needs of accounting professionals.
1. Managing the entire lifecycle of spend, from request, payment, to syncing to the GL.
Accounting teams are constantly thinking about the entire end-to-end process of managing spend. That’s important because you have to expect that, at any time, an auditor may wish to review your books and examine the entire lifecycle of your spend processes. You need to ensure you have the necessary visibility and controls in place from the moment spend is requested to the point where the journal entries are posted to the GL.
From one simple dashboard, Airbase can answer the questions an accountant must always be prepared for: What was this spend for? Where is the supporting documentation? Who approved it? How was it paid for? When was it paid? Where is the transaction in the GL? I can finally answer all these questions in a simple and easy way through Airbase.
2. Automation of transaction coding.
This is extremely powerful because the accounting team is responsible for properly coding transactions to the correct GL accounts. This process takes a lot of time, it’s very tedious, and, depending on how many GL accounts you have, can be very confusing. It’s not just your team that you are relying on to correctly code these transactions, but also all the business groups across your organization who spend company money.
Accountants worry about errors, and miscategorizations are a frequent type of error that plagues them. Miscategorizations can confuse budgeting, create friction, must be corrected, and can even require a restatement of the financials. With Airbase, you can set rules for virtual cards and physical cards that automatically code vendor-specific expenses to the appropriate GL account. And, employees don’t have to guess which GL account is the right one when submitting for an out-of-pocket expense. Airbase can show only the necessary GL categories to employees based on their departments, so the selection is simple and straightforward.
Once coded and approved, transactions are automatically synced to the GL without any hassle. Automated transaction coding saves a significant amount of time, frustration, and effort for both accounting teams and employees who need to spend money to grow the business.
3. Automated amortization.
Prepaying for an expense is common practice, and managing all these prepaids with Excel was the standard procedure when I was in corporate accounting. I would have to amortize each of these expenses every single month, create the transaction posting, and track when each expense was fully amortized. This process is error-prone and time-consuming. It’s hard to manage all of this because you have many separate expenses with different amortization schedules — and this is just another task you must complete during month-end.
Airbase automates this entire process by marking expenses that are prepaid and amortizing them using a straight-line method while prorating the first and last month. These entries are scheduled and posted automatically to the GL without any need for Excel sheets and manual entry. Even better, with NetSuite amortization capabilities, you can pull amortization schedules from NetSuite and put them into Airbase.
4. Audit-ready platform.
Whether for internal or external audits, having all the appropriate controls, documentation, and systems in place is important to effectively access all information. The amount of time and resources that are required to prepare for an audit are enormous, but much less so with a spend management platform like Airbase.
Airbase was designed with these audits in mind. As card transactions take place, the relevant documentation is added to the transaction file in real time, so it’s ready whenever you need it in Airbase and directly in your GL. Receipt compliance can be built into all your card transactions and reimbursement requests, so employees never forget to attach a receipt. When everything you need — requests, approvals, purchase orders, invoices, payment details, tax, and other supporting documentation — is kept in the same platform and available at any time, you can focus on other parts of the audit process.
Airbase syncs all these details to your GL and also provides a transaction URL that’s embedded in the GL posting, which makes accessing this information for each transaction quick and easy for all internal and external stakeholders.
5. Invoice email context.
Airbase recognizes that documentation and transaction details are sometimes captured outside of an invoice or PO. These details are increasingly contained in email communication — important details that provide users with an understanding of the purpose of the expense and who the spend owners are, and sometimes additional terms and documentation. This context can be necessary when approving an expense in the event of an audit or to make payments correctly.
With Airbase, even the emails with an associated spend request are captured once forwarded, as well as all supporting documentation. Your approvers can better understand what they’re approving, and the accounting team can actually understand the overall context of that spend and rest assured all the information is captured in preparation for any audit.
6. Consistent policies and rules built in.
Consistent policies and workflows for all types of spend built into one consolidated system reduce the need to train the finance team and employees on multiple policies and processes. With Airbase, I can go in and request spend without needing to memorize an expense policy. The system knows who needs to approve the spend and who needs to be informed. Whether for a virtual card, physical card, purchase order, or out-of-pocket expense, the policies and rules are consistent and intuitive, and can be tailored by subsidiary, department, or business group. Airbase allows companies to largely replace language-dependent expense policies (i.e., documents) with rule-based systems.
7. Spend visibility through observers.
One of the biggest problems facing accounting teams is driving visibility of spend across an organization. In today’s dynamic work environment, various teams are often working in tandem on initiatives that spending is tied to, and keeping everyone in the loop on progress is key. Beyond approval workflows, which Airbase automates and streamlines, you may also want to give visibility to certain business groups across the organization on the status of spending. For example, the legal team might want to be aware of spend that’s happening for new vendors in order to review their contractual details. Or, you may want your CEO or CFO to have visibility into all spend over a certain dollar figure.
The Airbase observer policies allow organizations to make sure that the right people are kept up to date on spend that is relevant to them in an effective automated solution, with no developer assistance or coding required.
8. HRIS integrations.
Manually provisioning and deprovisioning employees from the tools they need for their jobs is not only extremely time-consuming, but it also opens your organization up to enormous risk. With Airbase, this process can be automated through integrations with 27 of the most popular HRIS solutions — which means your company is going to save time, reduce errors, ensure compliance, and reduce risk. Additionally, all spend from a departing employee can be transferred to another employee in your organization to ensure continuity and keep critical services from falling through the cracks.
9. W-9 collection and tax reporting.
Accountants in companies who outsource to contractors, freelancers, and other vendors, both domestically and globally, are concerned with tax compliance. It takes a lot of time and effort to collate all of the necessary tax documentation related to contractors. Airbase automates W-9 collection, which gathers necessary tax information from your vendors.
Before, I would have to go back and manually get all this information from vendors. But through Airbase, I can collect that information right away as part of the vendor onboarding process, so when I do have to report to tax authorities through 1099s, I have all the information in place, which improves the efficiency and effectiveness of my tax reporting.
10. Hands-free reimbursements.
As accountants, we generally force employees in our companies to wait until month-end (sometimes longer) to get reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses. We need the time to process expense reports to make sure the documentation and approvals are all in order before paying an employee back. This onerous task is set aside to be completed on a regular cadence.
With Airbase, employees can submit expenses as incurred. Even partial expenses for a project or a trip can be submitted. As soon as the expense has been approved and documentation uploaded, the funds flow directly to the employee’s bank account. Automating this process saves accountants time and gets money to employees faster.
These 10 features are evidence that Airbase truly was built with accountants in mind. The time saved can truly transform the role accountants play in their company. Let us show you how, first-hand!
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 payments – physical cards, virtual cards, ACH, and checks – from one place. Close faster. Empower employees. Control spend.
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