How to Calculate Capital Expenditures?

How to Calculate Capital Expenditures

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How to Calculate Capital Expenditures

Capital expenditures (CapEx) are the funds used by a company to acquire, upgrade, and maintain physical assets such as property, buildings, an industrial plant, technology, or equipment. CapEx is often used to undertake new projects or investments by the firm.

To calculate capital expenditures, you need two figures from the company’s financial statements, specifically from the balance sheets of the current and previous year and the current year’s cash flow statement. Here’s how you do it:

Capital Expenditures = (PP&E_current year – PP&E_previous year) + Depreciation_current year


  • PP&E_current year is the value of Property, Plant & Equipment reported in the current year’s balance sheet.
  • PP&E_previous year is the value of Property, Plant & Equipment reported in the previous year’s balance sheet.
  • Depreciation_current year is the depreciation expense for the current year found in the cash flow statement.

Here’s why this formula works: The difference between the current and previous year’s PP&E values reflects net changes due to CapEx (which increases PP&E) and depreciation (which decreases PP&E). So, if you add back in the depreciation (which was a non-cash expense that reduced PP&E), you get the total capital expenditures for the year.

Please note that this formula assumes that the only changes in PP&E are due to capital expenditures and depreciation, which might not always be the case. For example, companies can also reduce PP&E by selling assets.

Example of How to Calculate Capital Expenditures

Imagine a company, XYZ Corp, that reports the following in its financial statements:

  • Property, Plant & Equipment (PP&E) at the end of 2022 (current year): $800,000
  • PP&E at the end of 2021 (previous year): $600,000
  • Depreciation for 2022: $50,000

You would calculate XYZ Corp’s capital expenditures (CapEx) for 2022 using the formula:

CapEx = (PP&E_current year – PP&E_previous year) + Depreciation_current year

So for XYZ Corp, the calculation would be:

CapEx = ($800,000 – $600,000) + $50,000
= $200,000 + $50,000
= $250,000

This means that XYZ Corp had $250,000 in capital expenditures in 2022.

Again, this is a simplified example. In real-life situations, it may be necessary to adjust for other changes in PP&E such as sales of assets, or to get information directly from the cash flow statement if it’s available and detailed.

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