What Is a Capital Expenditure?

What Is a Capital Expenditure?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A capital expenditure is a sum of money spent by a business or organization to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as property, industrial buildings, or equipment. This type of spending is made to maintain or increase the scope of their operations. These expenditures can include things like repairing a roof, purchasing a piece of equipment, or building a new factory. Capital expenditures are different from operating expenditures, which are ongoing expenses for running a business. While operating expenditures are fully deducted on the business’s taxes in the same year, capital expenditures, being investments, are capitalized, meaning they are spread out over years on the balance sheet as part of depreciation.

Related Questions

1. Are capital expenditures deductible?

Yes, capital expenditures can be deductible. However, they aren’t fully deducted in the year they are paid or incurred but spread out or depreciated over years in the business’s balance sheet, considering their life span.

2. How does capital expenditure affect a business?

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Capital expenditures can significant impact a business. They can lead to improved operational efficiency, increased production capacities, or higher product quality, which can generate more revenue in the future. However, because they typically involve large amounts of money, they can also impact the company’s short-term profits and cash flow.

3. Are capital expenditures considered assets?

Yes, capital expenditures are considered assets because they are investments made by a company to purchase or improve physical assets like property, equipment, or industrial buildings. These assets are expected to generate long-term profits for the business.

4. What is the difference between capital and operational expenditure?

Capital expenditure is money spent on obtaining or upgrading physical assets and is considered an investment for the company. On the other hand, operational expenditure is the money spent on the day-to-day running of the business. Unlike capital expenditures, operational expenditures are fully deductible on the business’s taxes in the same year.

5. How is a capital expenditure recorded?

A capital expenditure is recorded as an asset on a company’s balance sheet rather than an expense on its income statement. The cost of the asset is then gradually written off over the asset’s life span through an annual depreciation expense, spreading out the impact of the expenditure over multiple years.