Expense Category

What expense category is computer hardware?

Computer hardware is a type of business expense. There are many different ways to categorize expenses, and computer hardware could fall into multiple categories. Here are a few possible expense categories for computer hardware:

Capital Expenditure

A capital expenditure is an expense that is made to acquire or improve a long-term asset. Computer hardware is a long-term asset because it has a useful life of more than one year. Capital expenditures are recorded on the balance sheet as assets. Examples of capital expenditures include:

  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Servers
  • Software

Operating Expense

An operating expense is an expense that is incurred in the normal course of business. Operating expenses are recorded on the income statement. Examples of operating expenses include:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Wages
  • Depreciation

Depreciation Expense

Depreciation is a method of allocating the cost of a long-term asset over its useful life. Depreciation expense is recorded on the income statement. Computer hardware is a long-term asset, so it is subject to depreciation. The depreciation expense for computer hardware will be different for each business, depending on the cost of the hardware, its expected useful life, and the depreciation method used.


Computer hardware can be classified as a capital expenditure, an operating expense, or a depreciation expense. The correct expense category for computer hardware will depend on the individual business and its accounting methods.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. Please check with an attorney or financial advisor to obtain advice with respect to the content of this article.
“Accurate classification of expenses is vital for businesses as it forms the backbone of financial reporting, tax compliance, and strategic decision-making. It enables businesses to track and analyze their spending patterns, identify cost-saving opportunities, and assess the profitability of various operations or projects. Having a single source to turn to for accounting classification suggestions, such as the Ramp Expense Classifier tool, is immensely helpful as it provides consistency, reduces ambiguity, and streamlines the expense classification process.”
Audrey Carroll
Senior Manager, Accounting, Ramp

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