McKinsey's Valuation: Capitalized Software Ambiguity

Page 178. McKinsey’s Valuation 6th edition

Some companies, such as UPS, have significant investments in software. Under certain restrictions, these investments can be capitalized on the balance sheet rather than immediately expensed. Although it is labeled as an intangible asset, treat capitalized software no differently than property and equipment; treat amortization as if it were depreciation; and treat investments in capitalized software as if they were capital expenditures (4)

Footnote 4: The cash flow statement in the UPS annual report combines investment in property and equipment with investments in software within capital expenditures. Attributing reported capitalized expenditures entirely to PP&E would overstate the actual investment

The main text & the footnote seem to be saying different things. Main Text says to treat software like PPE. The footnote for the same paragraph says treating software like PPE would overstate actual expenditure. This seem ambigous. What’s the explanation?

You mixed up the content.

They are saying Capitalized Software is labeled as Intangible Assets. The treatment is SIMILAR to PP&E, where the amortization expense is like depreciation expense under PP&E.

In the Cashflow Statement, the Total Capex includes capex in PP&E and capex in software investment. If you say that the Total Capex is entirely due to PP&E, that would overstate the actual amount invested in PP&E as you included the software investment number in it.

Got it. Thank you.