AYX and ASC 606

I’m not sure what to do about Alteryx. I just know the market has got it all wrong.

I had it all wrong too. I thought (based on comments they made in the Q1 call) that they had more recurring revenue than they actually did. I messed up! I was interpreting the comments wrong, probably hearing what I wanted to hear.

They said they had reached 400m in ARR (annual recurring revenue) in Q1, so I figured there was no way Q2 revenue would be less than 100m (400 divided by 4) and probably would be a good deal more, maybe 110 or 115 million. After all, they had 109m revenue in Q1. Most SaaS companies have more each quarter.

But AYX is not a SaaS company. Because of that, ASC 606 requires them to recognize 35-40% of revenue in the quarter not in which it’s not delivered, but in which it’s generated. I didn’t realize how much impact that has. On 400m of ARR, only between 240 and 260 million is left to recognize ratably (evenly across all quarters). So they weren’t “guaranteed” 100m in Q2, but just over 60m! Big difference!

So for new contracts, and also for renewals, 35-40% of those hit revenue in the quarter when they happen. And not just 35-40% of the ARR, but the TCV (total contract value). Woah! These can be 3 year or 5 year contracts! That hugely affects recognized revenue each quarter, and even more so when comparing quarters YoY – it almost doesn’t make sense to do so at all with AYX!

But wait a minute, they said ARR at the end of Q2 was 430m. So where’s all the benefit from this 30m new in Q2 (plus however much in renewals, which we don’t know)? Well, two answers:

  1. We don’t know how much ARR rose in Q2 2019, but we can guess it was actually more than 30m. (I’ll give some guess numbers later.)
  2. Since we don’t know how many renewals there were this Q2, and in Q2 2019, the difference could greatly skew the comparison! Maybe Q2 2019 was a big renewal quarter, but they were 3 and 5 year deals, so they didn’t come back up this year (and won’t for a couple more years).

Alteryx has said they hit 200m of ARR in Q2 2018. If I fill in some guess numbers, we can see the real progress of the business using ARR, which (for AYX) makes a lot more sense than comparing quarterly revenue YoY!

Bear’s ARR guestimates

        Q1    Q2    Q3    Q4
2018     ?   **200**   220   250
2019   270   307   340   385
2020   **400   430**   *460*   __*500*__

Or by percentages...

        Q1    Q2    Q3    Q4
2019         53%   55%   54%
2020    48%  **40%**   _35%   **30%**_

They said ARR grew about 40% in Q2 and that they’ve guided for 500m by Q4 and said that’s 30% YoY growth, so I just filled in the rest of the numbers. Remember, they’ll be hoping to beat in Q3 and Q4.

It’s pretty clear: AYX was never really a company growing at 60% or 75%. Those jumps in comparable recognized revenue were simply due to accounting! AYX was growing in the 50% - 55% range, and now they’re growing in the low 40% range during the pandemic. They may slow into the high 30’s. But the 17% they turned in in Q2 and potentially lower numbers in Q3 and Q4 are due to accounting.

As I said at the top, I’m still not sure what to do with AYX. They’ve clearly seen headwinds and slowed down. I don’t think they’ll ever be a 60% or 70% grower, truly. But it also seems clear they are totally misunderstood. That doesn’t mean they’ll suddenly be rightly understood next week or next quarter.

So what to do? The short term is harder to gauge with AYX than with SaaS companies. If a SaaS company has weird and wacky revenue numbers, there’s something wrong. This is different. So do we hold AYX with long term intentions only, ignoring the short term? That’s kind of unlike us. But the alternative is to put it in the “too difficult” basket, as I’m now doing with LVGO/TDOC. Obviously we don’t have that level of complexity and confusion with AYX; frankly it just seems like pandemic headwinds we’ve seen with other companies. Even DDOG hasn’t been immune to those. AYX has slowed from 50% to 40%, though. Not 80% to 70%. That makes a big difference. Hard to know where it settles in 2021 or 2022. Maybe it’s reasonable to think it could grow like OKTA, which is seen as more than doubly as dominant as AYX based on PS ratio. I think that’s selling AYX’s dominance a little short. But perhaps the product just isn’t as “must-have” as we thought, at least in the short term.

I added about 15% to my mid-sized AYX position Friday, which didn’t even raise it back up to its pre-earnings level of 8% of my portfolio. It’s sitting at about 6.5% right now. Man, that drop! But I am keeping it. I just don’t know if I’m adding. Maybe some LEAPs (OT options reference so don’t respond here; look it up on Google if you want to know about LEAPs).

Would love to hear others’ thoughts. Perhaps Hastan and Fish (Ryan Reeves) and others might understand all this even better than what I’ve laid out here.



My 2 cents on AYX

  • I don’t understand the accounting details, so I’m not going to try to comment on that. However, I’m quite confident that Wall Street has full understanding of the accounting points you brought up, and they sold it down from $170 to $120. The drop is so severe it could not possibly be from typical MM manipulation.

  • IMO this will be dead money for at least 1 - 2 quarters until funds can see if things turn back up. I think it’s likely to fall further because I do not think there will be much support for it. Funds will try to slowly unload and the price will probably drift down. Also, we are far enough into the year that this could become a prime “tax loss harvest” target for any funds that bought it higher.

  • With continued health, economic, political, and international uncertainty, I think many companies are going to continue to limit expenditures. Many companies are still just trying to make sure they survive to the other side. From what I have read, AYX products are something that is in the category of being easy to delay for now. Even if there is a ROI, some companies efforts are so focused on survival they don’t have time to test/implement something like this in the short term.

I only had a small amount remaining of AYX, and I sold it all the day before earnings - mostly based on concerns I saw raised on this board. I am waiting to see what happens in the next few months. In the near term, if it drops to what I consider a “great” price, I will buy a small amount (or do something with options that I can’t specify because I prefer for my message not to be deleted).


Perhaps their Investor Relations Department should have made the effort to clarify their earnings flow to investors and the public so the public could truly understand their Quarterly Reports?

Hi Bear,

Big shout out for this clarification of the AYX revenue model. And recognizing Hastan in how you got there.

Some other posters here really helped me get this as well (not saying all of it and I’d never be able to explain it as well as you; but, I also want to thank:

‘Well, they now reported ARR for the first time as a separate metric in the earning release and ARR was up more than 40% YoY. They also guided for an increase in ARR of more than 30% for FY2020. This clearly shows that the underlying business is still growing strong despite the covid 19 headwinds.’

Quarterly revenue peaked at : 156.45m in 4Q2019. 4Q2019 is a local peak.

1Q2020 108.83m vs 3Q2019 103.4m 5.25% increase
2Q2020 96.2m vs 2Q2019 82.04m 17.25% increase.

We can see 1Q2020 was the bottom and 2Q2020 is picking speed again.

Me here: these crucial observations were what kept me in this name.

I’m sure you read these and what Cloud72 followed with:

‘AYX’s revenue growth rate should be back to normal in the next few quarters. How fast is the recovery is anyone’s guess. I am not trying to predict the economy.
AYX is a high quality business. It’ll be short sighted to sell out a quality business because of a few quarters of bad performance. There’s no fundamental problems that I can see.’

So my question is given your new understanding of the AYX revenue model, does this make sense to you, about the trending revenue moving upward already?

Thanks for your consideration,



‘So for new contracts, and also for renewals, 35-40% of those hit revenue in the quarter when they happen. And not just 35-40% of the ARR, but the TCV (total contract value). Woah! These can be 3 year or 5 year contracts! That hugely affects recognized revenue each quarter, and even more so when comparing quarters YoY – it almost doesn’t make sense to do so at all with AYX.’ - Bear

Bear, what you wrote above here is to quote you, Woah! With some additional !!!

How do you figure TCV is also being recognized up front?

Thanks again,




It’s pretty funny that ASC 606 was developed in order to prevent companies from recognizing too much revenue up front. It has been planned and then implemented prior to the advent of SaaS companies. It keeps companies with perpetual license models from recognizing all of their license revenue up front and spreads some of this license value over the term of the contract, which includes product support.

A typical 3 years deal in my former company could show a license value of $100 and support of $45 (3 X $15) for a total of $145. Under ASC 605, we would book the entire deal but recognize $100 (about 69%) in the month of the sale. Support is recognized ratably over the 3 years term. Under ASC 606, the up-front portion recognized is about 35% of the total deal amount (license + support) or about $50, with the remainder spread out evenly over the term of the contract.

Under ASC 605, with a perpetual license model and a corresponding compensation plan, one can imagine all of the creative ways companies found to legally (although unethically) drive license revenues. ASC 606 was supposed to remove a lot of these bad incentives under ASC 605. Unfortunately, ASC 606 took years to develop and implement and did not foresee the advent of SaaS business. Annual Run Rate is a much better figure to use for SaaS companies, although it doesn’t fully reflect growth, because the revenues are evenly spread out over the term of the contract. For example, most of our companies do more revenue in the 2nd year of a contract than the 1st year, because of the increased usage as time goes by.

Here are historical value ranges showing Hi, Low, & Close EV/Sales. They changed from ASC 605 to ASC 606 in 2019 but the revenue numbers in the table for 2018 are ASC 606.

Quarter	Hi	Lo	Close	Shares	$+ST	S/TTM	EV/S H	EV/S L	EV/S C
Mar-17	$17.50	$14.61	$15.63	48.5	$164	95.9	7.13	5.67	6.18
Jun-17	$20.50	$14.79	$19.52	58.3	$153	106.3	9.80	6.67	9.26
Sep-17	$24.07	$18.64	$20.37	62.3	$157	118.0	11.39	8.52	9.44
Dec-17	$29.16	$19.98	$25.27	62.7	$174	131.6	12.58	8.20	10.72
Mar-18	$38.88	$24.46	$34.14	63.5	$179	153.4	14.92	8.96	12.96
Jun-18	$41.47	$30.45	$38.16	60.7	$331	174.6	12.52	8.69	11.37
Sep-18	$63.18	$37.26	$57.21	65.6	$328	203.0	18.79	10.42	16.86
Dec-18	$67.40	$42.23	$59.47	66.1	$330	253.6	16.26	9.70	14.20
Mar-19	$85.68	$56.24	$83.87	67.5	$367	279.3	19.39	12.27	18.95
Jun-19	$111.89	$78.11	$109.12	62.6	$333	309.8	21.54	14.71	20.98
Sep-19	$147.79	$104.00	$107.43	64.0	$874	350.6	24.47	16.48	17.11
Dec-19	$116.43	$86.00	$100.07	69.1	$787	417.9	17.38	12.34	14.67
Mar-20	$160.11	$75.17	$95.17	65.6	$763	450.7	21.60	9.24	12.15
Jun-20	$168.56	$79.90	$164.28	66.0	$736	464.9	22.36	9.77	21.75
Sep-20	$185.75	$117.35	__*$121.38	66.5	$736	474.5	24.48	14.90	15.46*__

September, 2020 is estimated using company guidance and slight dilution with no change in the cash position.

The primary takeaway I have from this data is that Alteryx current EV/Sales is higher than the low levels we have seen in all but two quarters and the growth rate has hit a wall. So I would not be surprised if we see another 30% drop in the stock price, although your ARR analysis makes me feel a little better about this as well as the fact that some growth may reappear when the huge jump in adoption licenses convert to normal licenses in Q4.

Generally, I think Alteryx’s price is short-term high but long-term low. I’ve now got about a 13% position that I’ll keep and probably add if the price gets back down to around $80.



I think you are misinterpreting a fuzzily worded sentence. 35-40% of TCV is booked in the quarter for both “new” contracts and for “renewal” contracts. with the remainder of either kind spread over the remaining duration of the contract. So a 3 year deal re-upped with customer X hits two of 24 quarters much harder than the other 22 quarters?

1 Like

How do you figure TCV is also being recognized up front?


I actually wrote to Investor Relations and here’s what they said:

Because of ASC 606 the way we recognize revenue is somewhat disconnected to ARR. 35 to 40% of TCV (total contract value which could have a 1 or 3 year term) is recognized up front and the rest is recognized ratably during the life of the contract. ARR is based on the ACV (annual contract value) of contracts at the beginning of the period.

I asked if renewals were handled the same way and they said yes.


PS - I think you asked me another question in another post, but I didn’t understand what you were asking. Maybe if I think AYX is already re-accelerating? I don’t.


Hey Bear,

You got it spot on. One more thing is that 80-85% of AYX’s in-period bookings are typically expansions. So that’s why customer count can grow 27% with a positive expansion rate and revenue growth is only 17%. The bulk of the growth comes from upsells.

To understand the upsells though is tricky. The expansion rate is based on annual contract value whereas revenue is booked based on total contract value.

Our dollar-based net expansion rate is a trailing four-quarter average of the annual contract value, or ACV, which is defined as the subscription revenue that we would contractually expect to recognize over the term of the contract divided by the term of the contract, in years, from a cohort of customers in a quarter as compared to the same quarter in the prior year.

So a big increase in contract duration would show huge growth in revenue but not the same jump in expansion rate. The same thing happens on the downside. A shortening in duration has a disproportionate effect on revenue growth.

So what we can sort of piece together is that Alteryx simply had fewer expansions or if they did, the length of those expansions was shorter because customers wanted to conserve cash. To add insult to injury, Alteryx was giving out those adoption licenses which likely exaggerated the problem even further.

After those adoption licenses wind down, the company should see some nice upsell ability. While this accounting certainly isn’t the only issue, it definitely exaggerated things. You’re exactly right when you say that Alteryx never really was a 75% grower. They just had a confluence of long duration upsells right after the ASC 606 change and got lumped with every other SaaS company.



it could not possibly be from typical MM manipulation.

There is no such beast on a stock that trades 2-9m shares a day. The market sets the price, period, full stop. It still has over $11Bn market cap even with another 10% drop today. This ain’t a pink-sheet name.

Anyone who blames their losses on spurious conspiracy-theories of ‘manipulation’ is going to lose a lot of money in the markets.



AYX has ~69mil shares outstanding. So 69m x $109 = market cap ~$7.5b. EV is under $7bil.

Where are you getting $11bil? Is my share count way off?


"There is no such beast on a stock that trades 2-9m shares a day. The market sets the price, period, full stop. It still has over $11Bn market cap even with another 10% drop today. This ain’t a pink-sheet name.

Anyone who blames their losses on spurious conspiracy-theories of ‘manipulation’ is going to lose a lot of money in the markets."

  1. um… isn’t that what I said?.. could not possibly be?..

  2. I think you’re off on the market cap.

  3. I’m not blaming conspiracy theories. I have no losses - I bought at $78 in March and sold my remaining shares before ER.

  4. I disagree with your conclusion about manipulation. I’m sure it’s OT on this board, so I won’t debate it further.



Hi Bear,

This article seems to say the same thing: AYX is a solid company, with solid fundamentals, being beaten down by a recession, and possibly misunderstood as well: