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December 16, 2021

How marketing departments can budget with Airbase: An interview with Kendra Pecan.

Written by
Darragh Collins
Darragh Collins
How marketing departments can budget with Airbase: An interview with Kendra Pecan.How marketing departments can budget with Airbase: An interview with Kendra Pecan.

Q1: As a project manager, what are the challenges that you face, and have they changed for you now that you’re at a spend management company?  

They’re very different! I think many of the challenges for me came around the planning aspect of the role. I often had to forecast projects for the year ahead and, along with that, how much we were going to spend and how we were going to spend it.

Before joining Airbase, it was so challenging to get visibility into what actual spend was at any one time. If I wanted to know what my spend was in the middle of the month, I would have to put in a finance request, which could take up to two weeks to receive. I could often be waiting until the end of the following month when the finance team had closed the books.

As a result, my budget and my actuals were a lagging indicator, which meant we couldn’t be proactive. We could only ever be reactive.

If we found out we were over budget, we were already a month behind fixing the problem. Or, if we were under, we had to rush to spend that money and figure it out fast, which meant we couldn’t make informed decisions about where we should invest that spend.

Since joining Airbase, it’s been amazing because many of the stresses and uncertainties are gone. I don’t have to deal with that lag time any more. I can go into Airbase whenever I want and see exactly what the state of our finances is. If I have questions, I can go to the person immediately. I don’t have to wait three weeks, and then return to them and say:

“Hey, do you remember this expense?”

Q2: How can a spend management solution help marketers do their jobs?

As a project manager, you must invest your budget effectively for your programs to be successful. Knowing exactly how much you’re spending and how much you have left to spend at any moment is key to being able to do this.

Having that ability to pull funds from a program that isn’t performing very well and moving it to another program means that your force multiplier in the market will be way higher.

This visibility and flexibility provide an excellent solution when you have those lightning-strike ideas and you need to move quickly so that you can be more responsive to outside market opportunities. This is key to being a successful marketing team.

If you hit on something unique, but it wasn’t included in the original budget, it’s often dismissed or postponed, but, with Airbase, marketing teams can be agile and move fast with market changes, which is precisely what good marketing teams should be doing.

Q3: In a fast-growing company, marketing teams often need to spend money quickly. How can Airbase support this growth?

The amount of friction that Airbase removes from the process is incredible. In the past, I would often put in funding requests, and it could be up to two weeks before I got an answer. Two weeks is a lifetime if you need to move fast on something, especially in a startup environment. Time at a startup is like dog years, and a lot can happen in two weeks!

With Airbase, I can get approvals in a matter of minutes, and the number of different ways I can get spend approval is invaluable. I can pay my vendor by using ACH, or credit cards. The historical invoicing process can often be time-consuming, messy, and frustrating. With Airbase, I can pay my vendors faster, which means they are happier and more responsive. It improves those relationships, making everything go smoother.

Q4: What does a marketing budgeting and planning process look like with Airbase?

As we come to the end of the year, we’re currently in the middle of the budget planning for 2022. For many, this can be quite a daunting process. One of the things that I find fascinating is that Airbase gives us a perfect picture of our yearly spend. This allows us, very clearly and quickly, to see what trends and seasonality we have. You don’t have to spend hours drafting and merging Excel sheets to pull this information, and the entire process is much less tedious.

We also have greater visibility over which relationships with vendors will carry over into the following year, and have a better picture of what that will require. We can accurately forecast how much a program will cost and if we need to add to the existing budget, or move funds somewhere else.

Q5: What kind of an impact can utilizing a spend management product have on operational efficiency within a fast-growing company?

I think the impact is quite comprehensive. Having the ability to ensure that you are spending money in the right places at the right time, and are able to react to market pressure and be more proactive across the board, is immeasurable.

It’s not a complicated conversation when a marketing team can move fast through the process and eradicate that usual slog.

It’s a case of identifying a need, outlining a pivot, and making that change — the friction put in place around the financial side of things is practically eliminated. Spend management lets marketing teams do their jobs — and you can’t put a price on that!

Darragh Collins
Darragh Collins

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.
Darragh Collins
Darragh Collins
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