With increasing digitization, the IT departments in companies are playing an increasingly important role. Because an efficient, cost-saving IT structure can make the difference in competition. The key term in this area is “cloud computing”, ie the operation of the company’s own systems in the cloud. The main difference between cloud computing and the on-premise use that has been customary up to now is not only the type of provision of the IT infrastructure – network-based or server-based – but also the financing. When it comes to financial expenditure in the IT sector, a basic distinction is made between CapEx (Capital Expenditure) and OpEx (Operational Expenditure).
CapEx: The one-time payment
CapEx is understood to mean capital expenditures that are made once by the company for the acquisition, renewal or improvement of fixed, physical goods or objects. This includes, for example, any hardware such as printers, computers or servers. Such investments are intended to increase the productivity and thus the profit of the company. From a business point of view, however, CapEx expenses are not costs at all, since investments are included in asset accounting and are therefore only booked as costs or expenses via the future change in depreciation. Accordingly, the expense is only claimed for tax purposes over a certain period of time.
OpEx: The recurring costs
OpEx expenses are recurring expenses to maintain business operations. This includes, for example, basic operating and administration costs such as ongoing software licenses, broadband costs or expenses for external consultants or technicians. This also includes the costs for a cloud-based IT infrastructure. In contrast to CapEx expenses, OpEx expenses are fully incurred as costs in the corresponding accounting period and can therefore also be claimed directly for tax purposes.
Showdown: who can do what?
CapEx expenses have the advantage that you initially have no further payments to make. For example, if you equip your company with a local IT infrastructure, you make a one-off, larger investment and the purchase is complete. In principle, this one-off purchase is also cheaper than leasing the product over the depreciation period. However, in today’s fast-paced world, your needs are likely to change. Either you need more capacity, which you have to buy more expensively, or you oversized your system and paid more than was necessary. Likewise, technology is evolving rapidly, so your hardware may need to be upgraded. Behind the supposedly one-off acquisition costs there can be a lot more than you previously calculated.
Due to their scalability, OpEx expenses offer the necessary, cost-saving flexibility and user-specific adaptation options at this point. Cloud solutions in particular make use of this pay-as-you-go advantage. On-prem systems cannot be sized based on average usage values, as this ignores isolated peaks. In order to meet these maximum values, your CapEx effort is ultimately higher than actually necessary. Incidentally, there are no high upfront investments if you switch to cloud solutions. In this way, the move to OpEx reduces capital expenditures and investment risk, as physical hardware is no longer required. A cloud-based system can be available at the push of a button, for example, and its scalability means it can be effective more quickly. At this point, not only costs are saved, but also a lot of time for the provision, maintenance and servicing of the devices. The service provider from whom you obtain the relevant services must take care of this. He is responsible for ensuring that your systems are always provided with updates and are fully functional. In the event of damage, he will also pay for the repairs. All these costs that you would normally have to bear are part of the service.
A second look is worthwhile
At first glance, one tends to favor CapEx expenses because of their isolation and uniqueness. But as we have found, you should take a closer look and weigh up: Today’s technologies and requirements are evolving rapidly and in order to be able to keep up in the long term, your IT infrastructure must be able to do the same. This technical and financial flexibility is offered by OpEx expenses such as a cloud solution for your systems. Due to the calculability and customization options, services can be adapted or replaced at any time to the consumption and current usage behavior. Ultimately, you only pay for what you really need and free yourself from rigid guidelines and poor scaling. Nevertheless, the following applies: OpEx does not have to recommend the perfect one for everyone, so let us calculate your possible savings and advantages. In this way we will find the best solution for you together.