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Glossary

Capital Expenditures

Capital expenditures refer to essential expenditures vital for the long-term growth or expansion of a business. These expenditures are regarded as assets and are usually subject to depreciation over time.

What are capital expenditures?

Capital expenditures (CAPEX) are investments in long-term assets, such as property, plant, and equipment. These investments are made with the intention of generating future benefits, such as increased revenue or reduced costs. For example, a company might invest in a new production line to increase its output. Capital expenditures are typically recorded as assets on a company's balance sheet until the assets are fully depreciated.

How do you calculate capital expenditures?

In financial modeling, capital expenditures (CAPEX) are typically calculated as the sum of all the cash flows associated with the purchase and installation of a long-term asset. These cash flows can come from various sources, such as debt financing, equity financing, or operating cash flow. To calculate CAPEX, you need to know the purchase price of the asset, the amount of any down payment, the amount of any financing costs, and the length of the asset's useful life.

What's the difference between capital expenditures and operating expenditures?

The main difference between capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenditures (OPEX) is that CAPEX involves investments in long-term assets, while OPEX covers expenses incurred in the day-to-day operations of a business. For example, a company might make a capital expenditure to purchase a new machine, while its operating expenditures might include the cost of electricity to run the machine. Capital expenditures are typically larger and more important than operating expenditures, and they can have a significant impact on a company's financial performance.

What's the difference between capital expenditures and capital costs?

Capital expenditures (CAPEX) are the outlays of cash made by a company to acquire or upgrade long-term assets. Capital costs, on the other hand, are the total costs associated with a capital expenditure, including the initial cash outlay and any subsequent costs related to the asset. For example, if a company purchases a new machine for $10,000, the initial cash outlay is the capital cost, while the subsequent costs associated with the machine, such as maintenance or repairs, would be the capital expenditure. The distinction between a capital expenditure and a capital cost is important for financial analysts, as the two terms have different implications for a company's bottom line. A capital expenditure is a recurring expense, while a capital cost is a one-time expense.

What are the primary factors that determine capital expenditures?

Several factors influence capital expenditures (CAPEX), including a company's anticipated future cash flows, the opportunity cost of capital, and the company's long-term growth rate. Additionally, a company's capital expenditures may be influenced by its debt-to-equity ratio, its dividend policy, and its tax rate.

What are the differences between a capital expenditure and a capital cost?

A capital expenditure (CAPEX) represents the initial outlay of cash by a company to acquire or enhance a long-term asset. On the other hand, a capital cost encompasses the ongoing expenses associated with a capital expenditure, which may include depreciation, interest expense, and taxes. While a capital expenditure is a one-time expense, a capital cost represents the ongoing financial impact of the initial investment.

What are some examples of capital expenditures?

Capital expenditures, also known as Capex, encompass investments in long-term assets like property, plant, and equipment. These assets are essential for producing goods and services and are crucial for a company's growth and expansion. Examples of capital expenditures include the purchase of new machinery, the construction of new facilities, and the acquisition of new land. These investments can be costly but provide companies with significant competitive advantages.

Not all capital expenditures yield immediate benefits. For instance, purchasing new land may not offer immediate advantages. Evaluating the benefits and risks of each potential capital expenditure is essential for making informed decisions.