Airbase, like other fintech startups, provides guides and how-to articles on its website. Many of these guides explain financial concepts. But what I noticed when I looked up the startup’s top-ranking articles in Ahrefs was that these guides did not just define these concepts, they also provided useful advice to readers. For example, a startup will need to hire a CPA to conduct an audit at some point, but that fact doesn’t tell you what to do in that situation. There are many factors to consider when you hire a CPA. Airbase provides guides that discuss the additional factors that are relevant to financial concepts.
What Airbase Does
Airbase is an accounting automation app. It combines three types of accounting automation tools to create a multi-functional software suite. For example, Airbase offers corporate spending cards like Ramp does. It also provides an automatic invoice payment system similar to Bill.com. And its third service is an expense categorization tool that’s similar to Expensify. By providing all three services itself, Airbase makes it possible for its customers to use a single vendor for accounting automation.
Airbase doesn’t replace accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero but it does have integrations for these platforms. It isn’t a payroll processor either. Airbase is a tool for companies whose employees are allowed to make their own purchases on the company’s account. These employees include traveling sales representatives who use a corporate spending card to reserve hotel rooms as well as engineers who use a corporate card to pay for subscriptions to SaaS apps. The platform allows the company to authorize purchases, track spending, and classify each purchase.
The target market for Airbase’s software is businesses that are large enough to need accounting automation software. These firms may also have specialized business departments such as a corporate treasury. It’s also likely that many of Airbase’s customers are rapidly growing startups that now need to add more formal financial management functions. So a potential customer could be a startup that didn’t have a corporate treasury before, but plans to set one up now.
Adding Detail About Audits
Like other startups, Airbase provides how-to guides for its customers as a form of content marketing. One of its top-ranking articles is a guide for audit preparation. As the company explains, there are three types of audits, but the one we’re concerned about here is the financial statement audit. Publicly traded companies must hire an independent CPA firm to conduct a financial statement audit once per year, and that’s a well-known fact. But Airbase explains that sometimes a company needs a financial statement audit before it goes public. For example, late-stage investors may demand an audit.
While a financial statement audit is often mandatory, the company still has some control over the process. The audit firm is independent, but the company still gets to select the audit firm. For example, some investors might prefer an audit conducted by the Big 4 accounting firms, which include Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, and Ernst & Young. Regional CPA firms also conduct audits and often charge much lower prices for audits, but if Series C round investors will not accept a regional firm, then the startup will need to pay a higher price to hire one of the major firms.
Airbase’s article about audit preparation also includes a call to action at the end, and that call to action fits in well with the subject of the article. For example, Airbase explains that the auditors will want to look at the receipts for everything the company’s employees bought. It then explains that its software can helpfully organize these receipts so the auditors can quickly pull up the data.
Explaining the Corporate Treasury Function
Another popular Airbase article explains the corporate treasury function. Once again, the startup goes beyond providing a basic definition of a corporate treasury department and provides useful advice. The main point of the article is explaining the purpose of the corporate treasury, which is ensuring that the corporation has enough cash on hand to meet its current obligations. As a result, the corporate treasury is relatively risk-averse and does not try to maximize returns on investment.
The corporate treasury has to manage risks including foreign exchange risk and interest rate risk. But while these functions are considered part of the corporate treasury’s duties, Airbase explains that the treasury should primarily be concerned with minimizing risk. So a startup might prefer to create a budget with a built-in buffer against unfavorable FX moves instead of setting up its own FX hedges, even though setting up FX hedges is one of the tasks performed by the treasury.
This is contrarian advice that might not appear in an article that provides a basic definition of the corporate treasury. It’s not obvious that the best move for the treasury might be to avoid hedging even though that’s often considered one of its responsibilities.
Airbase is using an effective strategy here. Sites like Wikipedia and Investopedia already provide basic definitions of many business concepts, and it would be hard to outrank these types of websites. But Airbase is going beyond defining concepts and providing additional advice to potential customers. It is also explaining how a company has multiple ways to deal with various business risks. As a result, Airbase’s content marketing helps the company demonstrate its expertise.