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What is Capital Expenditure (Capex)? Definition

What is Capital Expenditure (Capex)? Definition

Capital expenditure (capex for short) is a term that you’ll likely hear in business settings, especially in accounting and finance. But what exactly is it? In the most basic sense, capital expenditure refers to the money that a company spends to acquire or improve its long-term assets. These long-term assets can range from real estate to manufacturing equipment to patents and copyrights. There are two types of capital expenditures: routine and project-based. Routine cape x spending is what you would expect it to be – the regular, necessary expenses needed to keep the business running, such as repairs, maintenance, and office supplies. Project-basedcape x spending is associated with one-time initiatives that are not part of the company’s regular operations, such as expansion projects or acquisitions. Now that you know the basics of capital expenditure, let’s take a look at some specific examples to get a better understanding of how it works in the real world.

What is Capital Expenditure?

A capital expenditure (capex) is an expenditure that a company incurs to create or enhance the value of its long-term assets. These assets may include physical property, such as land or buildings, or intangible assets, such as patents or intellectual property.

A company might incur a capital expenditure to build a new factory or office, to buy new equipment, or to develop new products. The decision to make a capital expenditure usually involves estimating the future benefits that the asset will generate and comparing those benefits to the costs of the investment.

Capital expenditures are typically made when a company expects the asset to generate economic benefits for several years into the future. For example, a company might invest in new equipment with the expectation that it will increase production and reduce costs.

While capital expenditures can be beneficial, they also involve risk. A company might make a capital investment but fail to realize the expected benefits. In some cases, a company might even have to write off the entire value of the asset if it does not perform as expected.

For this reason, companies typically carefully consider capital expenditures before making them. They often use various tools, such as cost-benefit analyses and risk analyses, to help make these decisions.

The Different Types of Capex

There are many different types of capital expenditure, each with its own definition and purpose. Here are some of the most common:

-Acquisition costs: These are the costs associated with purchasing an asset, such as a piece of equipment or a property.

-Construction costs: These are the costs associated with building or improving upon an asset, such as constructing a new factory or renovating an old one.

-Expansion costs: These are the costs associated with expanding the capacity of an existing asset, such as adding a new production line to a factory.

-Maintenance costs: These are the costs associated with keeping an asset in good working condition, such as regularly scheduled maintenance on a piece of machinery.

Pros and Cons of Capital Expenditure

There are pros and cons to any business decision, and capital expenditure is no different. Here are some of the key pros and cons of making a capital expenditure:


-Investing in new equipment or property can help increase productivity and efficiency
-Can lead to increased revenue and profits
-Can help create or preserve jobs


-Requires a significant amount of upfront funding that may not be immediately recovered
-There is always a risk that the investment will not pan out as expected
-The decision to make a capital expenditure should not be made lightly – it should only be undertaken after careful consideration of all factors involved.

How to Calculate Capital Expenditure

To calculate your company’s capital expenditure, you will need to first determine what is considered a capital asset. A capital asset is defined as an item that has a useful life of more than one year and is used in the production of income. Examples of capital assets include buildings, machinery, equipment, vehicles, and land.

Once you have determined what is considered a capital asset, you will then need to calculate the depreciation expense for each asset. The depreciation expense is the amount of the asset’s cost that is allocated to each year of its useful life. To calculate the depreciation expense for an asset, you will need to divide the asset’s cost by its estimated useful life.

After you have calculated the depreciation expense for each capital asset, you will then need to add up all of the expenses to get your total capital expenditure.

What are the Differences Between Capex and Opex?

Capex vs. Opex

Capex, or capital expenditure, is the money a company spends to buy, upgrade, or replace physical assets such as buildings, machinery, vehicles, or land. This spending is often in pursuit of new growth opportunities. Opex, on the other hand, stands for operating expenses and refers to the costs associated with running a business on a day-to-day basis. These costs can include everything from rent and utilities to wages and marketing efforts.

While both are important expenses that must be managed effectively in order for a business to be successful, there are some key differences between capex and opex that should be considered when making business decisions. For one, capex is typically a one-time expense while opex is an ongoing cost. Additionally, capex often requires more up-front planning and funding than opex since it usually necessitates a larger initial investment. Finally,capex typically results in the acquisition of a long-term asset that can appreciate in value over time while opex represents the cost of necessary but non-productive activities required to keep a business running smoothly.


Capital expenditure, or capex for short, is a type of spending that is used to purchase long-term assets or make improvements to existing ones. This can include things like buying new equipment, building new facilities, or making additions or repairs to existing ones. Because it represents a long-term investment, capex is typically financed through loans or bonds rather than being paid for out of pocket. As such, it is important to carefully consider any proposed capital expenditures in order to ensure that they are prudent investments that will ultimately benefit the company.

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