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CAPEX vs. OPEX: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 13, 2023
Capex (Capital Expenditure) refers to funds used by a company to acquire or upgrade physical assets. Opex (Operating Expenditure) denotes expenses a business incurs through its normal business operations.

Key Differences

Capex, or capital expenditure, involves spending on long-term physical assets like buildings and machinery. Contrastingly, opex, operational expenditure, pertains to costs incurred in the course of day-to-day operations, like rent and utilities.
Capex impacts the balance sheet and cash flow statement by reflecting assets and affecting depreciation. Opex, however, directly influences the income statement, documenting costs associated with running the business, affecting net income.
Capex involves financial outlay intended for future benefits, thus impacting several forthcoming fiscal periods. On the other hand, opex influences the financials within the current period, aligning costs closely with immediate operations and revenues.
Capex offers a tax advantage by allowing businesses to deduct the asset’s depreciation over its lifespan. In contrast, opex can generally be deducted in the period they occur, offering quicker, though potentially smaller, tax reliefs.
Capex often correlates with business expansion, perhaps indicating potential future earnings growth. In contrast, higher opex, while necessary, might be viewed as limiting profit potential and could be a concern if it outpaces revenue growth.

Comparison Chart


Expenditure on acquiring/upgrading assets.
Expenses related to daily business operations.

Financial Statement Impact

Affects balance sheet and cash flow statement.
Directly impacts the income statement.

Tax Implications

Depreciation deductions spread over years.
Generally deducted in the incurred period.

Effect on Profitability

Not directly tied to immediate profits.
Directly tied to operational profits.

Strategic Implication

Often associated with growth and expansion.
Critical for maintaining ongoing operations.

CAPEX and OPEX Definitions


Capex is a financial metric representing a company’s investment in physical assets.
The annual report showed a rise in capex, signaling possible expansion.


Opex encompasses costs that a company incurs as a result of performing its normal business operations.
The manager aimed to reduce opex without hindering service quality.


Capex includes expenditures that are capitalized, influencing future periods.
The CFO outlined a detailed capex for the upcoming infrastructure upgrade.


Opex includes ongoing expenses like rent, maintenance, and various overhead costs experienced in business operations.
A significant portion of the company’s opex was allocated for maintaining its physical stores.


Capex is spending that contributes to a company’s asset base, intended for long-term benefit.
The increase in capex was attributed to investments in new technology platforms.


Opex is a measure of the expenses a business encounters in the course of its ordinary activities.
The financial analyst closely monitored the monthly opex to detect any unusual spending patterns.


Capex pertains to financial resources used for acquiring or enhancing fixed assets.
The company increased its capex to modernize the manufacturing plant.


Opex stands for all the expenditures a company makes in the process of turning its inventory into throughput.
The startup kept its opex low by utilizing a remote working model, thereby reducing office-related costs.


Capex often involves large-scale spending meant to foster future revenues.
Significant capex was allocated for the development of the new headquarters.


Opex refers to the regular and necessary costs, such as salaries and utilities, needed to keep a business running.
During the budget meeting, the CEO emphasized managing opex to ensure fiscal sustainability.


Can Capex become Opex?

Yes, the depreciation of assets (Capex) is recognized as an expense (Opex) over time.

What is Opex an abbreviation for?

Opex is an abbreviation for Operating Expenditure.

Where is Opex reflected in financial statements?

Opex is reflected on the income statement as it directly affects the company’s profits and losses.

Are training costs Capex or Opex?

Training costs are typically categorized as Opex since they are operational and do not create a long-term asset.

What does Capex stand for?

Capex stands for Capital Expenditure.

Why might a company increase its Capex?

A company might increase Capex to invest in new assets, signaling expansion or upgrading existing assets.

How does Capex affect a company’s financials?

Capex affects a company’s balance sheet and cash flow by reflecting asset acquisition and impacting depreciation.

Is employee salary considered Capex or Opex?

Employee salary is typically considered Opex as it is a regular operational cost.

How can Opex reduction affect a business?

Reducing Opex can increase net profit but, if done excessively, might impact the quality of goods/services.

Can rent be considered Capex?

No, rent is considered Opex as it is a regular and necessary cost to maintain business operations.

Can a company have high Capex and Opex simultaneously?

Yes, a company can have high Capex and Opex simultaneously, depending on its investment and operational strategies.

What could be considered Opex in retail?

Rent, utilities, and staff wages are examples of Opex in a retail context.

How do Capex and Opex affect taxes?

Capex affects taxes through depreciation deductions over years, while Opex is generally deductible in the incurred period.

Is marketing spend considered Opex?

Yes, marketing spend is typically considered Opex as it is a regular operational cost.

Are software purchases Capex or Opex?

Software purchases can be either Capex or Opex, depending on the firm’s accounting practices and the software’s use.

How is Opex different from cost of goods sold (COGS)?

COGS relates to direct costs of producing goods sold by a company, while Opex refers to ongoing business operating expenses.

Can reducing Capex impact a company’s growth?

Yes, significantly reducing Capex may limit a company’s ability to expand or upgrade, potentially inhibiting growth.

How does Opex impact profit?

Opex is deducted from revenue on the income statement, directly reducing net profit.

What is an example of Capex?

An example of Capex is purchasing a new piece of machinery for a manufacturing line.

How does Capex impact cash flow?

Capex is recorded as an outflow in the cash flow statement under investing activities.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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