Power BI V Tableau – A story from the accountant’s perspective

Why bring up these two analytics software?


Well I’m writing from the accountant’s perspective. We have compared previously, Spotlight Reporting, Futrli and Fathom. Which are all analytics software marketing directly to accounting firms. Now I want to compare the heavyweights. The top players in the Business Intelligence analytics space. The software used by corporate giants.


See Gartners 2019 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms


That’s your first indicator. There is Power BI (Microsoft) & Tableau ranked the very best and then DAYLIGHT. They are the heavyweights. They hold a huge market share. As accountants, we like to first study all the players. To know what is in fact the best. Let me save you some time. There is no better than Power BI and Tableau.


Lets dive into a comparison of them both.


Disclaimer: This comparison is made from the perspective of an accountant, and not enterprise business.





1. Functionality – A range of visualisations, user interface layouts superior to anything on the market.

2. Market Share – has been around for a lot longer than Power BI (Power BI is catching up fast).

3. The community and product support is excellent.



1. Complicated – designed to be used by data scientists and experienced analysts. (Not accountants).

2. Tableau is probably overkill for accountants most of the time.

3. Expensive – implementation budgets are substantial.


Microsoft Power BI



1. Intuitive – easy to use for an accountant

2. Seamless integration with Microsoft Excel & Office 365

3. Integration with the Microsoft Azure Stack (Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics)



1. Not Established – Tableau is 10 years in front.

2. Visualisations – Microsoft have open sourced their visualisation building software to catch up but it is behind Tableau.

3. Support – The community is still growing. It’s not great when you are in search for answers.



Power BI is the overwhelming choice. We are accountants. I don’t mean that in a demeaning way. We want the best weapons at our disposal but we must play within the realms of our profession. Power BI lets us do this. Tableau does not. Our background with Excel makes it the obvious choice. Not to mention it opens the doors to work with smaller clients with enterprise level technology. Tableau is just to expensive too facilitate this.