How do capital and revenue expenditures differ?

capital and revenue expenditure examples

Capital investment decisions are a driver of the direction of the organization. The long-term strategic goals, as well as the budgeting process of a company, need to be in place before authorization of capital expenditures. Repair cost of an asset is a revenue expenses rather than a capital expenditure. Capital expenditure is charged as an expense in income statement gradually over its useful life. If it is incorrectly treated as a revenue expense, the amount of expenses will be significantly rise in the income statement leading to a lower profit.

  • This makes it more difficult to determine the true financial impact of a project.
  • Capital expenditures involve larger monetary amounts that are too large to be expensed against a shorter revenue period.
  • In contrast, a low ratio shows that a company may not have enough funds available to make capital purchases.
  • The cash-flow-to-capital-expenditures (CF-to-CapEx) ratio relates to a company’s ability to acquire long-term assets using free cash flow.

Revenue expenditures are short term costs that are charged to the income statement as soon as they are incurred. It’s not enough to say that capital expenditures are everything that revenue expenditures aren’t. They break down differently, depending on the size of the payment and the time across which it needs to be paid for. Plus, capital expenditures will show up differently on your reporting metrics. Operating costs are recorded as expenses on the company’s profit and loss statement, while capital costs are recorded on the company’s balance sheet as an asset. You might think that startup costs could be taken as an expense of beginning a business since they are spent at startup.


Under GAAP, certain software costs can be capitalized, such as internally developed software costs. Items that are expensed, such as inventory and employee wages, are most often related to the company’s day-to-day operations (and thus, used quickly). The purpose of capitalizing a cost is to match the timing of the benefits with the costs (i.e. the matching principle).

capital and revenue expenditure examples

Startup costs are categorized into capital expenditures or operating expenses, depending on how long it takes to recover each specific cost through future revenues. Capital expenditures are recorded on cash flow statements under investing activities and on the balance sheet, usually under property, plant, and equipment (PP&E). Capital expenditures or capital expenses are funds used by companies or businesses for the purchase, improvement, and maintenance of long-term assets. These are broadly classified into two categories, i.e. capital expenditure and revenue expenditure.

Definition and Explanation of Revenue Expenditures

To understand the topics of capital expenditures and revenue expenditures, first of all, it is very prime to go through the meaning of expenditure itself. Expenditure is primarily spending of money or funds for buying or availing service. It can be an exchange of valuable things in exchanges for foods and services also. Expenditures and expenses are quite identical words but expenditure simply denotes the acquiring of assets while the deduction in the value of assets is shown by expenses. On the income statement, depreciation is recorded as an expense and is often classified between different types of CapEx depreciation. On the balance sheet, depreciation is recorded as a contra asset that reduces the net asset value of the original asset acquired.

In another example, costs to maintain a capital asset, like a piece of equipment in working order and in its current condition, are not considered capital costs or expenses. But the cost of making changes to a piece of equipment to improve its condition adds to its value, so that’s a capital expense. All in all, the expenditure to increase current, and future economic benefits, is capital expenditure. It is a long-term investment which an enterprise performs, in the name of assets, to create financial gain for the years to come. The expenditure which we incur on a regular basis for conducting the operational activities of the business is Revenue Expenditure.

Intangible Assets

The firm also spends it to increase its lifespan to generate future cash flows or to decrease the cost of production. Depreciation is considered to be a revenue expenditure because it does not result in the acquisition of another asset. Instead, Depreciation simply reduces the value of the existing fixed asset over its useful life. Capital Expenditures are expensed when they are incurred whereas Revenue Expenditures are expensed when they are used or consumed. Capital Expenditure refers to an expenditure that gives rise to the acquisition of a non-current asset.

capital and revenue expenditure examples

Most firms put a minimum dollar limit for capital expenditures, ranging from $100 in small companies to several thousands of dollars in large companies. When expenditure results in a service whose benefits are consumed in the current period, it is called an item of revenue expenditure. New engine significantly increases the useful life of the aircraft and as such, its cost must be capitalized. However, the carrying amount of the replaced engine must be de-recognized in the same manner as disposal of any fixed asset.

What Is Capital Expenditure (CapEx)?

So, if something is of a capital nature, its benefit may extend to several years. Further, it creates a capital asset or capital liability, such as plant and machinery, land and building or share capital, loan etc. Capital expenditures are charged to expense gradually via depreciation, and over a long period of time. Depending on the asset, depreciation charges could extend out for more than a decade. Revenue expenditures are charged to expense in the current period, or shortly thereafter.

  • Capitalizing is recording a cost under the belief that benefits can be derived over the long term, whereas expensing a cost implies the benefits are short-lived.
  • Capital expenditures are often used for buying fixed assets, which are physical assets such as equipment.
  • By following the best practices mentioned above, businesses can ensure that their capital resources are used efficiently and effectively.
  • Improvements are capital expenses incurred to increase the value or prolong the useful life of long-term assets.
  • Operational expenditures (OpEx), on the other hand, are expenditures related to the day-to-day operation of a business.

Below is a truncated portion of the company’s income statement and cash flow statement as of the company’s 10-Q report filed on June 30, 2020. These small costs will be listed as expenses in the current accounting period and will be offset against revenue immediately. A company’s financial statements can be misleading if a cost is expensed as opposed to being capitalized, which is why management must disclose any changes to uphold transparency. Capital expenditures are related to growing and improving the assets of a business. Operational expenditures (OpEx), on the other hand, are expenditures related to the day-to-day operation of a business. Capital expenditure, also known as CapEx, is money a business spends to acquire, improve, or maintain physical long-term assets.