written by | May 3, 2022

What is Capital Expenditure? Explained in Simple Words

Capital expenditure (CapEx) is the amount businesses use to purchase, maintain or enhance long-term assets. This kind of corporate spending is regarded as an investment that improves the economic value of operations by increasing effectiveness or capacities. The long-term assets are typically permanent and not consumable. They can be tangible, for instance, land, machinery or vehicles, construction, equipment, software, and even intangible, like patents or licences.

Capital expenditure allows a business to protect its assets and invest in its future expansion. In contrast to other expenditures reported on the income statement capital, expenditures are capitalised and are reflected on the balance sheet in the form of an asset.

Capitalised costs are paid off over the asset's useful life with periodic depreciation expenses. We'll go through capital expenditure definition, types, examples, and much more!

Did You Know?

Calculating capital expenditures can be done using data from a company's balance sheet and income statement.

Also Read: Revenue Expenditure: Definition, Types & Examples

Operating Expenses vs Capital Expenditure

Let's start with capital expenditures which are short-term expenditures required to run a normal business. Operating expenses are primarily the cost of rent, payroll, utilities, maintenance material, and equipment, and these expenses can be deducted from your income for the year they are made.

Capital spending is when money is used to purchase a long-term asset or extend an existing asset's longevity. Anything with a lifespan below one year is not considered long-term, and it should be fully expensed in the fiscal year that it was purchased. If work performed on the asset only maintains its condition, it will also be costly without adding to its useful lifespan.

Because of the very different accounting implications of OpEx, and CapEx, many companies are shifting toward software as a service (SaaS) models. SaaS models allow companies to subscribe to cloud-hosted software.

By paying subscription fees rather than buying expensive software upfront, businesses can free up funds and manage their operating expenses. The absence of software purchases will also reduce IT and hardware staff expenditures. Hence, it will allow funds to be channelled into other areas to improve the financial performance of your business.

Capital Expenditure Examples

The best way to know the definition of capital expenditure is through an example. Walk-In Wellness is an urgent healthcare centre that offers alternative medical treatment in addition to emergency room patients. Let's examine the expenses they incur and then categorise them accordingly.

  • Purchase of bandages and other over the counter medicines: Operating expense
  • Purchase of X-ray machines: Capital expense
  • Paint potholes, repair potholes or paint the lines on parking lots, i.e., operating cost.
  • Pave a second empty lot next to it to create parking spaces, i.e., capital expenditure

How Do You Calculate Capital Expenditures?

The main point behind what is CapEx is to know the formula to calculate it. If you're able to access your company's cash flow statements or income statement and balance sheet, you don't have to calculate manually. In any case, performing the calculation with your hands can help you better understand what it means. Take the steps below to determine capital expenses:

1. Get Your Company's Financial Statements

You'll need your business's financial records for the last two years to calculate capital expenditures. These documents will give you the necessary information to calculate the amount.

2. Subtract Fixed Assets

Subtract the fixed assets in the financial statements from the previous year. Then, subtract the fixed assets for the fiscal year that has just concluded.

This will reveal the changes in the fixed assets. From this point, you'll need to eliminate any intangible assets because capital expenditures only use tangible assets for expenditures. Also, it is important to eliminate any assets your business acquired through the report period's acquisitions.

3. Subtract the Depreciation Accumulated

Subtract the accumulated depreciation of the previous year from the accumulated depreciation for the last year ended. This will give you the year's total deduction.

4. Add the Total Depreciation

After subtracting, add the depreciation calculated in the third step to the change in fixed assets we figured out in the second step.

This will produce the total capital expenses for the time frame you're calculating.

Using the account balance and income statement, you may apply the following formula, where PP&E refers to property, plants, and machines. Equipment, property and plant appear in your company's balance sheet.

capital expenditures = PP&E (current period) - PP&E (prior period) + depreciation (current period)

Can Capital Expenditures Be Tax-deductible?

Capital expenditures are not immediately tax-deductible. However, the price of the capital investment is spread over the asset's useful life, and the yearly depreciation can be tax-deductible every year.

Instead of the traditional depreciation method, companies can also use section 179 and bonus depreciation. These two IRS tools speed up the depreciation process for qualified capital expenditures and provide substantial instant tax reduction the year of the purchase.

Capital expenditure is a crucial indicator of the growth in its finances. Even though these expenses are capitalised on the balance sheet and are not included in the earnings statement, the analysts closely examine capital expenditure because it directly affects the growth, flow of cash, and performance.

Also Read: What is Cost Estimation? Methods and Examples

How Do You Make Use of Capital Expenditures?

After you've determined your company's capital expenses, you can use this figure to assist your financial plan. This is because the company's capital expenses can help determine the amount

of money being put into new fixed assets or those already in place.

This will assist you in making your decision by analysing the amount you've spent on fixed assets during previous times. It is ideal to invest in assets that bring the greatest profit to your company, and it is also advisable to select assets that last for a long time. Knowing your capital expenses will provide you with a better understanding of the future investment options to avoid financial loss. The financial decisions that your business makes could harm or even help you make profits. Make sure you make the right choices and perform an accurate and thorough cost of capital.

Capital Expenditure Examples

Many scenarios can help to understand better the importance of capital expenses in a variety of ways. Here are some examples to assist you in your calculation:

Example 1

Let's suppose you own a furniture business, and in 2018 you decided to invest money in new equipment and an expansion of your facility. Then, you decide to determine the capital expenses of your business for the year. You will be able to determine the following data:

  • Depreciation = ₹25,000
  • PP&E at the end of the year = ₹5,00,000
  • PP&E as of the start of the year = ₹45,000

Based on these numbers, you can start the calculation of the capital expenditure.

Begin taking the PP&E amount at the start of 2018 (₹45,000) by that of the PP&E at the close of 2018 (₹60,000). This gives you a difference from PP&E by ₹25,000. Then, add this amount to the amount of depreciation (₹25,000). This would result in a capital expense of ₹40,000 in 2018.

Example 2.

You have a boutique that bought new equipment and computers to run your business in 2018. In 2018, you gathered the following data from your financial records to estimate your capital expenses.

  • Depreciation in 2018 = ₹20,000
  • PP&E during the current time = ₹15,000
  • PP&E for the preceding period = ₹10,000

Calculate the capital expenses of your business by using these formulas:

  • Capital expenditures = PP&E (current period) - PP&E (prior period) + depreciation (current period)
  • Capital expenses equals (₹15,000 - ₹10,000 + ₹20,000
  • Capital expenditures = ₹5,000 + ₹20,000
  • Capital expenses = ₹25,000
  • So the capital expenditures of your business for 2018 totalled ₹25,000.


CapEx is a crucial process. It's essential to any company and demands strict scrutiny at every stage of the approval process. It is essential to make sure everyone's in the same boat and that everyone involved in the approval process is armed with the latest information. It is essential to identify where processes are hanging up and speed up your CapEx approval times.
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Q: What are various types of capital expenditure?


Types of capital expenditures can involve buying property, computers, furniture, equipment, land, and software.

Q: Capital expenditure is what type of expenditure?


Capital expenditure is the amount of money that the government spends on health facilities, machinery, equipment, buildings, education, and other related activities. Also, capital expenditure includes investments made by the government to generate future profits or dividends and acquire fixed assets such as land.

Q: What are some of the good capital expenditure examples?


Purchase of raw materials, advertising expenses, electricity bills, direct labour costs, etc., are a few capital expenditure examples.

Q: What is capital expenditure?


Capital expenditure is a payment made for services or goods recorded on the balance sheet and capitalised there, and it's not expensed on the income statements.

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