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What is Capex and Opex

If you want to run a successful business, there are financial terms you should familiarize yourself. For instance, you should understand the difference between Capex and Opex.

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What is CapEx and OpEx?

Capex refers to a Capital expenditure while Opex refers to an Operational expenditure. Capital expenditure is incurred when a business acquires assets that could be beneficial beyond the current tax year. For instance, it might buy brand new equipment or buildings. Also, it could upgrade an existing asset to boost its value beyond the current tax year. Capex is also known as a Capital expense.

Operational expenditure consists of those expenses that a business incurs to run smoothly every single day. They are the costs that a business incurs while in the process of turning its inventory into an end product. Hence, depreciation of fixed assets that are used in the production process is considered Opex expenditure. Opex is also known as an operating expenditure, revenue expenditure or an operating expense.

 How CapEx and OpEx are Treated in Accounting

Capex – Capital expenditures are not fully deducted in the accounting period they were incurred. In other words, they are not fully subtracted from the revenue when computing the profits or losses a business has made. However, intangible assets are amortized over their lifespan while the tangible ones are depreciated over their life cycle. All monies spent to get new inventory, including machinery or intellectual property, are grouped under Capex.

Opex – Operating expenses are fully deducted in the accounting period they were incurred.  All funds spent when converting inventory into throughput falls under opex. This includes employee wages, repair and maintenance of equipment, rental fees, and utility bills and so on. If a business invests in real estate, the expense is grouped under Capex. However, all the costs incurred when managing such an income generating building falls under Opex.

CapEx Summary

  • Purchase of fixed assets.
  • Preparation of the purchased asset so it can be appropriate for business use.
  • Fixing of asset’s problems,
  • Restoration of an asset’s value through upgrading
  • Adapting a machine to a different use

Operating Expenditures Summary

  • License fees
  • Advertising costs
  • Legal and attorney fees
  • Telephone and power overheads
  • Insurance fees
  • Property management costs
  • Property taxation expenses
  • Vehicle fuel and repair costs
  • Leasing commissions
  • Salary and wages
  • Raw materials and supplies
  • Office overheads

IT Spending – CapEx or Opex?

Traditionally technology investments most often were considered for capital expenditures over OpEx, because CFOs could take advantage of amortization these expenses over an extended period of time. Nowadays, more and more companies switch IT investment from CapEx to OpEx and they have a reasonable argument for this switch – moving company IT infrastructure to the cloud. Once this moving happens, additional CapEx benefits fall as far as the company no longer need static investments for the hardware, software and resources. Services and options are purchased as needed, costs are fluctuating and OpEx works better for such expenses type and supports necessary scalability.

What Do Most Businesses Choose Between the Two?

Now you can answer this: What is capex and opex. But which one of the two would you prefer? From the income tax perspective, most entrepreneurs prefer Opex to Capex.  A case in point is when a business opts to lease rather than buy equipment to be able to deduct its full cash expense for leasing when computing its taxes for that accounting year. The benefit of having the ability to deduct expenses is the fact that it minimizes the income tax that is charged on your net income. Besides, you will only incur an operational cost once you lease the item again.

When a Business Can Opt for CapEx

A business that wants to boost its profits and book value can opt to incur a capital expense by purchasing a new machine rather than leasing one.  It will have to deduct a small portion of it as an expense in that accounting year. In such a case, the business’ balance sheet would indicate a higher value of assets and net income. It also means that it would save very little on tax.

Capital expenditures entail huge investments in goods that are placed on the balance sheet and are then depreciated over the life of the asset.  On the other hand, operating expenditures appear on the profit and loss A/C. They relate to costs incurred on a continuous basis. If you are in an organization that anticipates quick growth or technological changes, Opex should suit you best. Instead of purchasing a capital good and then get stuck with it, you will be better of leasing one. Once you pay your leasing fee, there will be no further financial obligation on your part. But if you cannot avoid Capex, and have no limited access to capital investments, you should go for it. Now you have the answer to this, what is capex and opex, and it is upon you to decide which one to go with.

Taking Control of CapEx and OpEx

It is obvious that operational expenses and capital expenses together account for a fairly large percentage of the company annual budget. When you’re trying to cut costs and improve bottom line, it is a better catch balance between CapEx and OpEx, than cutting either or both budgets. When juggling CapEx and OpEx it is vital to have expense approval processes streamlined and transparent, so that you had full control. CapEx Approval and Opex Management Software by Comindware delivers all the necessary tools for thorough expenses management, workflow automation and improved employees collaboration.
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Elena Haidukova is an Online Marketing Manager at Comindware Inc., and a passionate advocate for empowering executive managers onward to workflow automation and running their businesses effectively.

Posted on:  in Tips and Tricks

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