Capital expenditure is that expenditure which results in acquisition of an asset or which results in an increase in the earning capacity of a business. The benefit of such expenditure lasts for a long period of time. As we have already discussed, capital expenditure contributes to the revenue earning capacity of a business over more than one accounting period whereas revenue expense is incurred to generate revenue for a particular accounting period. The revenue expenses either occur in direct relation with the revenue or in relation with accounting periods, for example cost of goods sold, salaries, rent, etc. Cost of goods sold is directly related to sales revenue whereas rent is related to the particular accounting period. Capital expenditure may represent acquisition of any tangible or intangible fixed assets for enduring future benefits. Therefore, the benefits arising out of capital expenditure last for more than one accounting period whereas those arising out of revenue expenses expire in the same accounting period.
This represents expenditure incurred for the purpose of acquiring a fixed asset which is intended to be used over long term for earning profits there from. e. g. amount paid to buy a computer for office use is a capital expenditure. At times expenditure may be incurred for enhancing the production capacity of the machine. This also will be a capital expenditure. Capital expenditure forms part of the Balance Sheet.
Examples: Purchases of land, buildings, machinery, furniture, patents, etc. All these assets stay in business and are used again and again. Other examples are money paid for goodwill (like the right to use the established name of an outgoing firm) since it will attract the old firm’s customers and thus will result in higher sales and profits; money spent to reduce working expenses like conversion of hand-driven machinery to power-driven machinery and expenditure enabling a firm to produce a large quantity of goods. Expenditure which does not result in an increase in capacity or in reduction of day-to-day expenses is not capital expenditure, unless there is a tangible asset to show for it.
All sums spent up to the point an asset is ready for use should also be treated as capital expenditure. Examples are: fees paid to lawyer for drawing a purchase deed of land, overhauling expenses of second hand machinery, cartage paid for bringing machinery to the factory from supplier’s premises and money spent to install a machinery; and even interest on loans taken to acquire fixed assets only for the period before the asset becomes operational.
Capital expenditure can be defined as expenditure incurred on the purchase, alteration or improvement of fixed assets. For example, the purchase of a car to be use to deliver goods is capital expenditure. Included in capital expenditure are such costs as:
- Delivery of fixed assets;
- Installation of fixed assets;
- Improvement (but not repair) of fixed assets;
- Legal costs of buying property
- Demolition costs;
- Architects fees;