Issued shares are those shares that have been distributed to shareholders by a corporation. These shares are issued either as compensation for employees or suppliers, or to investors in exchange for cash. The number of issued shares is reported in the financial statements of the issuing entity.
Any shares that have been repurchased by a corporation (treasury stock) are not included in the issued shares total.
Issued shares vary from authorized stock, in that authorized stock has only been approved for issuance by the board of directors, while issued shares have actually been distributed. The amount of issued shares can be equal to or less than the total number of authorized shares.
Issued shares are also known as issued stock.