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September 16, 2022

Accountants, never correct tagging errors again.

Written by
Laura Hendrix, CPA
Laura Hendrix, CPA

Laura is a Solutions Consultant at Airbase. She began her career at the regional accounting firm Rubin Brown, then served as in-house accountant in the healthcare industry. Prior to Airbase, she was Corporate Controller for TrueAccord, a digital debt collection agency. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accountancy from Missouri State University.

Accountants, never correct tagging errors again. Accountants, never correct tagging errors again.

In my experience, accountants quickly learn which employees can be trusted to submit their expenses perfectly: correctly tagged, receipts attached, always on time — an accountant’s dream. Conversely, we also learn which ones need a bit of, well, handholding. However, we recognize that employees need to focus on their own jobs, and often simply don’t have time to double-check things like tags and categorizations. 

As accountants, we have to make the time. Mistakes like improperly tagged transactions can throw off budgets, make forecasting inaccurate, and have tax implications. They can also slow the monthly close, and could even lead to a time-consuming restatement. But the costs in terms of time and money of fixing errors adds up. One well-known study by the Global Business Travel Association found that one in five expense reports contains an error, and it takes an average of 18 minutes and $52 to correct an error. 

How Airbase helps employees use correct tags every time. 

Airbase makes it easy for employees to correctly tag transactions so that finance doesn’t have to resolve errors. It also empowers employees to feel confident they’re doing it correctly. The result can be a shift in the perception of finance’s role in a company: we’re no longer seen as the “police” chasing after people to fix mistakes, but rather as collaborative partners. It may sound like a subtle distinction, but our customers repeatedly tell us about significant improvements in spend culture that Airbase facilitates. 

Use accounting policies to set employees up for success. 

Administrators in Airbase can create accounting policies with default line and transaction tags. These are highly customizable, so admins can set default tags according to the needs of individual employees and departments.


Let’s take a close look at how this flexibility could be leveraged to eliminate tagging errors. 

  1. When you create your accounting policies, I recommend creating a separate policy for each department in your company. 
  2. Use the Tag Visibility feature to select which tags are visible to employees under that policy. For example, you can customize the marketing policy so that members of the marketing department only see tags related to marketing.
  3. Use the Alias feature to rename expense categories to be more relevant to the individuals using that accounting policy. This allows for a unique expense category to be employee-facing that maps to the chart of accounts how you prefer. An example would be replacing the chart of account “Employee Meals” with “In-Office Meals” to provide clarity to the request.

How approval workflows add additional control. 

Building approval workflows into the creation of a spend request ensures that all information is correct before any money is spent. Virtual card transactions are approved with the card creation request, thus avoiding issues with incorrect tags in closing the books. With purchase orders, transaction tags and categories can also be selected up front for bill payments. 

With our Advanced Approvals module, approval workflows are also very customizable, so you can create approval chains that ensure tags and categories are vetted by the right people. For example, you could ensure that a transaction over a certain amount must be approved by a member of the finance team to make sure all information is correct before spending happens. 

I’ve learned that when the system makes it easy to do things correctly, nobody has to be stressed about fixing or making errors when creating spend requests. An intuitive workflow that is designed to set employees up to succeed gives everyone, including accountants, more time to spend on more important tasks. 

Learn more about how Airbase frees up accountants’ time to focus on value-added activities. Schedule a demo!

Laura Hendrix, CPA
Laura Hendrix, CPA
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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.
Laura Hendrix, CPA
Laura Hendrix, CPA

Laura is a Solutions Consultant at Airbase. She began her career at the regional accounting firm Rubin Brown, then served as in-house accountant in the healthcare industry. Prior to Airbase, she was Corporate Controller for TrueAccord, a digital debt collection agency. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accountancy from Missouri State University.

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