Airbase aims to offer comprehensive solutions for the procure-to-pay process, a sector characterized by intricate payment, approval and accounting workflows, and the necessity for seamless integration between different financial processes. Airbase responds to these needs by providing a range of tools to streamline purchasing, compliance and spending within organizations.
With a product line that encompasses guided procurement, AP automation, expense management, and corporate cards, Airbase allows users to select the combination of modules that suits their current needs while providing room to scale in the future. Airbase’s platform integrates with many popular ERP and other business systems, either directly or through an open API.
The company, founded in 2017 by CEO Thejo Kote, aims to reduce the inefficiencies burdening finance teams, particularly in accounts payable. Kote filled us in about Airbase’s recent activities as well as its plans for the future.
How would you describe what your company does?
Kote: Airbase is the only procure-to-pay solution to combine enterprise-grade power with a delightful user experience. With Airbase, companies easily tackle complex global payment, approval and accounting workflows and enjoy effortless adoption by Finance, employees, and all other stakeholders and vendors. Airbase radically simplifies purchasing to ensure compliance and smarter spending. It empowers organizations to stop uncontrolled spend, save time and money, and get a faster close.
Organizations can combine any or all of our best-of-breed products — Guided Procurement, AP Automation, Expense Management and Corporate Cards — to meet their needs today and as they scale tomorrow.
Our collaborative platform seamlessly syncs to the most popular ERPs and integrates with HRIS and adjacent business systems directly or via our open API. Airbase fits into your tech stack so that teams can work with existing tools. Light change management with no-code workflows offers flexibility and rapid time-to-value.
What is in your product line, and what is your flagship product?
Kote: Airbase offers a comprehensive procure-to-pay solution that includes four modules to address all non-payroll spend. Guided Procurement, AP Automation, Expense Management, and Corporate Cards (Airbase, AMEX or SVB cards) can be adopted as a full platform or in any combination.
Our flagship product is a combination of two modules, Guided Procurement and AP Automation. This combination supports a full procure-pay-close experience for AP purchasing with full stakeholder routing and approvals, automated invoice management, two-way and three-way matching, payments, and syncing to the GL.
What product of yours do you think should be better known among accountants?
Kote: The Guided Procurement module should gain more recognition among accountants. Its innovative intake workflows guide every employee on what they need to submit for a purchase and handle its routing, ensuring compliance and control from the get-go. These user-friendly, no-code workflows prevent uncontrolled spending and ensure audit-ready compliance. They may be familiar with other intake solutions and other AP Automation solutions but they will not be familiar with a solution that ties intake to all other workflows for all types of spend for a full procure-pay-close experience.
What was the last big initiative or project your company completed?
Kote: In April 2023, Airbase launched Guided Procurement, becoming the first spend management platform to automate the purchasing intake process. These no-code, customizable workflows guide employees through the procurement process, ensuring all vital information and required documentation is captured and routed to the relevant stakeholders. The end result is a full audit trail of compliance and approval for all transactions. This innovation addresses the critical need for simplifying procurement processes amidst increasing complexity, providing greater control, efficiency and visibility into spending, which translates into enhanced risk management and savings.
What is the most exciting new thing you’re working on?
Kote: Airbase is continually working on enhancing its platform to provide more integrative and automated solutions for managing company spend. We’re currently using generative AI and machine learning capabilities to enhance our Expense Management module with the aim of streamlining the traditionally cumbersome processes in expense management.
What differentiates your company from others similar to it? What makes you different?
Kote: Airbase stands out as a procure-to-pay (P2P) software solution by blending enterprise-grade power with an intuitive, easy-to-use, and configurable user experience. It is the only solution designed for the needs and preferences of companies with 50 to 5,000 employees. The platform is adept at handling the organizational, accounting and payment complexity demanded by global mid-market to enterprise-level organizations, providing seamless and efficient spending management from initial request to final reconciliation.
One of the key differentiators of Airbase is its ability to transform the perception and adoption of procurement processes. While procurement is often viewed as a bureaucratic and time-consuming process, Airbase flips the script by offering a P2P solution that not only adheres to best practice procurement safeguards and controls, but also accelerates the purchasing process from request to reconciliation.
Airbase addresses the challenges with a user-friendly platform everyone loves to use, without sacrificing control or the ability to handle complexity. Airbase’s consumer reviews consistently praise its user experience. At the same, however, Airbase integrates seamlessly with ERPs and crucial business applications, providing unparalleled control and visibility across the entire spending process, and scales with businesses, accommodating their immediate needs and evolving alongside their growth. This unique approach, balancing power with usability, sets Airbase distinctly apart in the P2P space.
What is the biggest challenge facing companies like yours right now? How do you work to address it?
Kote: One of the biggest challenges might be the rapid evolution of financial technology and maintaining a product that not only keeps pace with these changes but also continuously innovates and leads in the space. Airbase addresses this by maintaining a keen focus on customer feedback and market trends, ensuring that the platform is not only responsive to current needs but also anticipatory of future demands and challenges in the procure-to-pay landscape.
What is the biggest tech challenge facing accountants today?
Kote: The integration of various financial processes and tools into unified, streamlined and automated workflows is a significant tech challenge. Accountants often grapple with disparate systems for procurement, AP, expenses and card management, which can create inefficiencies, and a lack of visibility and control over organizational spend.
What is the biggest challenge with selling to this market? Of being a company whose customers are primarily accountants?
Kote: Accountants are used to putting in longer hours to solve problems rather than asking for additional budgets for solutions that can save them time. It is also difficult to provide solid, verifiable evidence that automation can have a positive ROI for their organization that is acceptable by their leadership teams.
If your company has been experimenting with generative AI, how have you incorporated it into your business?
Kote: We have begun the process of incorporating generative AI and have an ambitious roadmap to do more. Currently, AI is used to “read” unstructured data from receipts and populate it into the appropriate fields in Airbase for expense reporting. ML is used to auto-categorize transactions based on past patterns. These initial efforts save time and money and improve accuracy. We are working on using AI for spend analytics, and see opportunities to use it for vendor management, system onboarding, and creating faster, better integrations.
If you could telepathically transmit one (non-marketing or sales) sentence into the head of every accountant in the world, what would that sentence be?
Kote: “Embrace technology that simplifies and automates — it is the key to evolving your role beyond numbers and becoming a strategic advisor in your organization.”
Airbase at a Glance:
Location: 548 Market St., Ste 93249, San Francisco, California 94104
Staff Size: 300
Number of Offices: Fully remote
Website Info: https://www.airbase.com/