What Limited Tableau’s Margins Last Year



Tableau continues to invest heavily in research and development

Tableau Software (DATA) has been making huge research and development investments to launch improved products and stay competitive. During the fourth quarter, the data visualization company launched Tableau 2018.3, which the company says “includes heatmaps, new dashboarding capabilities and multiple table storage for extracts.” Last year, the company spent $382.9 million on research and development, compared with $334.1 million in 2017.

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Tableau’s operating expenses grew 18.3%

Tableau has also been spending heavily on sales and marketing during its expansion across geographies and industries. It spent $593.8 million on sales and marketing last year, compared with $517.4 million in 2017.

Under ASC (Accounting Standards Codification) 605, Tableau’s operating expenses rose 18.3% year-over-year last year, impacting its net income. However, the company’s bottom line looks much better under ASC 606.

The new revenue recognition method boosted the company’s revenue, as we discussed previously. The company’s growing headcount has also affected its margins. The company added 692 employees last year, bringing its global headcount to 4,181.


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