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Capital Expenditures – Definition, Types, Examples, And More

capital expenditures

Capital Expenditures are those expenses of businesses that they pay with either cash or credit. The target here is to buy long-term physical or fixed assets for use in the business operations. Businesses capitalize those expenditures on the balance sheet. Hence, they do not show these expenses directly on the income statement of the company. Therefore, companies make these expenses to expand their operations or risk management.

In this article, you will learn about what capital expenditures are and how they work. You will also learn about the importance of making such expenses in business processes. Apart from that, we will also share with you how to calculate capital expenditure with the help of a formula. Finally, you will learn the pros and cons of capital expenditure for businesses. Hence, to learn more, read on through to the end of the article.

What Are Capital Expenditures?

What Are Capital Expenditures

According to Investopedia,

“Capital expenditures (CapEx) are funds used by a company to acquire, upgrade, and maintain physical assets such as property, plants, buildings, technology, or equipment. CapEx is often used to undertake new projects or investments by a company. Making capital expenditures on fixed assets can include repairing a roof (if the useful life of the roof is extended), purchasing a piece of equipment, or building a new factory.”

It is important for companies to spend a given amount. This helps the company maintain its existing property and business equipment. Apart from that, they also get to a better position to invest in new technology and other assets for the growth of the business or for business continuity.

However, there are certain considerations for an item to be considered to be capitalized. If a certain item has a useful life of less than one year, the business must expense on the income statement rather than capitalize it. That means the business cannot consider that item as a capital expenditure.

How Do Capital Expenditures Work?

How Do Capital Expenditures Work

According to the Corporate Finance Institute,

“Capital expenditures normally have a substantial effect on the short-term and long-term financial standing of an organization. Therefore, making wise capex decisions are of critical importance to the financial health of a company. Many companies usually try to maintain the levels of their historical capital expenditures to show investors that they are continuing to invest in the growth of the business.”

A capital expenditure tells you how a company invests in new and existing fixed assets. The target of the company is to maintain and grow your business. In other words, capital expenditure is the type of expense that a company capitalizes or shows on its balance sheet. They show it as an investment rather than showing it on the income statement of the expenditure.

The company spreads the cost of the expenditure over the asset’s useful life. Only then will the company be able to capitalize on an asset.

How To Calculate Capital Expenditure?

How To Calculate Capital Expenditure

According to Netsuite.com,

“CapEx purchases made in the current year are normally presented on the company’s cash flow statement. The accumulated amount of CapEX and the associated accumulated depreciation is normally displayed on the company’s balance sheet, and subtracting the accumulated depreciation from the accumulated CapEx purchases results in the net amount of CapEx or Fixed Assets at any point in time.”

Here is the formula which you can use to calculate capital expenditure:

Capital Expenditure = Change in Property, Plant, and Equipment + Current Depreciation

If you want to calculate capital expenditure, you will need to consider locating the property of the current and prior period’s property, plant, and equipment values. You will then need to include it in the balance sheet of the company. Furthermore, you will also need to include the amortization and depreciation on the company’s income statement. To get such information, all you need to do is check the financial statements.

Capital Expenditures – Major Pros And Cons

The following are some of the major pros and cons of capital expenditure that you need to understand:

Pros Of Capital Expenditure

The following are some of the major pros of capital expenditure from which a business may benefit:

  • Businesses make capital expenditures to account for the future. How much a business is spending now depends on the result of the past expenditures of the business. Hence, current decisions on capital expenditures will have a lot of influence on the company’s future activities.
  • Such expenditures from businesses also help them by providing them with direction. They are also in a better position to create long-term strategic goals and also create the budgeting process. These factors need to be in place before the authorization of capital expenditures.
  • The best thing about capital expenditures is that they are irreversible unless a particular business is incurring losses. Businesses customize their capital equipment to meet the specific needs and demands of the company.

Cons Of Capital Expenditure

Although capital expenditure is useful for making decisions, it also creates many problems with complexities:

  • It makes the accounting process more complicated. Hence, it gets difficult to identify, measure, and estimate costs related to capital expenditure.
  • Since capital expenditure has the potential to offer benefits in the long run, they are generally very expensive and consist of high initial costs.
  • Companies spend to get outcomes. However, there is no guarantee for such outcomes, as there are a lot of uncertainties. Hence, during financial planning, business organizations need to find out business risks and make plans for risk mitigation. Even then, in some cases, it is not easy to get past those risks.
  • There is a high initial increase in the asset accounts for the capital expenditure of an organization. But, if an asset starts to get out of service, it depreciates and loses its value.

Summing Up

Hope this article was helpful for you in understanding capital expenditures. Companies make this financial outlay to increase their scope of business operations. The aim is also to add future economic benefits to business operations. Businesses make capital expenditure payments for goods and services which they record or capitalize on the balance sheet of the company. They do not show this expense on the company’s income statement.

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Soumava Goswami

A passionate writer and an avid reader, Soumava is academically inclined and loves writing on topics requiring deep research. Having 3+ years of experience, Soumava also loves writing blogs in other domains, including digital marketing, business, technology, travel, and sports.

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