Acquisition costs: an essential guide for business owners


Marie Jehanne

March 4, 2024 | 2 min read

Last Updated: Feb 29, 2024

Understanding acquisition cost is integral for investors and business owners who need to make key investment decisions and effectively allocate resources. A low acquisition cost can lead to a higher return on investment (ROI), while a high acquisition cost may result in a lower ROI.

What is acquisition cost?

Acquisition cost is the total cost that a business incurs for an asset, resource or entity, including discounts but excluding sales taxes, set-up, and delivery costs.
This cost, inclusive of the purchase price and other expenses necessary for preparing the asset for use, is a crucial component in the financial analysis of your investment. It directly influences your capital gain or loss for tax purposes when your asset is sold and is also instrumental in calculating the loss of value for assets that depreciate over time.

In the realm of business finance, the cost of acquisition is categorized as a capital expenditure. It’s not immediately recognized as an expense, but is capitalized and subjected to amortization or depreciation throughout the asset’s lifecycle, enabling your company to calculate the cost of the asset with its usage over time, providing a more accurate representation of your business’s financial performance.


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The different types of acquisition costs

Fixed asset acquisition cost

Acquisition costs for fixed assets, like real estate, are the purchase price and any additional costs required to purchase the asset and prepare it for its intended use. These additional costs can encompass delivery and handling charges, installation and set-up costs, and legal fees related to the purchase. The total acquisition cost is capitalized and then depreciated over the useful life of the asset. This method distributes the cost of the asset over its useful life, aligning the expense with the revenue that the asset helps to generate.


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Customer acquisition cost

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the cost associated with persuading a potential customer to purchase your company’s product or service, including expenses related to research, marketing, and accessibility. It’s a crucial business metric in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of marketing efforts and plays a significant role in calculating customer lifetime value (LTV). While fixed asset acquisition costs are necessary for business operations, customer acquisition costs directly impact a company’s profitability.
Mobile app acquisition cost is another type of CAC:

Mobile app acquisition costs

Mobile app acquisition costs are the expenses incurred in attracting and converting a user to download and use a mobile application. These costs can vary widely depending on the digital marketing strategies you implement, market competition, and the value proposition of your app itself. It’s an important metric for app developers and marketers as it directly impacts the profitability of the app.

It includes expenses related to advertising, like marketing campaigns, promotions, and any incentives offered to users to download the app. It also includes the cost of technology and personnel involved in tracking and managing user acquisition. The cost of acquiring a new customer is often compared with the lifetime value of the user to determine the return on investment for user acquisition efforts.

Minimizing mobile app acquisition costs while maximizing the user’s lifetime value is the key to a successful app business model. This requires a deep understanding of your target audience, effective marketing strategies, and continuous optimization of your app to increase user engagement and retention. Therefore, tracking and managing the mobile app acquisition cost is a critical task for any app business.


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