Inflation in Returns

I’m sure this has been discussed…so sorry in advance. Do we add it to the return at the end? Or do we link it? example: Calculate the required return based on expenses and portfolio as 5%. Expected inflation is 3%. Is total required return 8?% Or is it (1.05)(1.03) - 1 = 8.15%? Does it even matter?

released versions of CFAI mocks indicate either was acceptable. i am multiplying on exam day though