Capital budgeting or investment appraisal, as it is sometimes called, is budgeting for large investment projects. These projects include building a new plant, a new product, buying new machinery, or even another company. A capital expenditure (CAPEX) is not an expense. However, CAPEX can be depreciated over several years.
Investments in CAPEX generally take several years before they begin turning a profit. Analysts will determine at what point the investment is expected to generate a profit, and the minimum profit expected by the company, which is called a hurdle rate. When comparing two projects, the discounted cash flow method is used as part of the analysis. Comparing each project’s NPV and internal rate of return, analysts can make a determination about which project the company should decide on.