Good question. This concept often gets confused with “authorized shares”. Issued shares are those shares that the corporation has actually “issued”, i.e., transferred to a shareholder. This can be in the form of a certificate, and that can be typical in a small business. In larger businesses, the ownership of issued shares is usually a journal entry in the corporation’s books and records, or with the broker. The number of issued shares cannot exceed the number of authorized shares. “Shares” and “stock” can be interchangeable, though can occasionally mean different things.