Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Stockholder Meaning

A Stockholder is a person, company, or an institution who owns one or more company shares and whose name share certificate has been issued by the company. They are the company owners, but their liability is limited to the extent of their value of shares.

They are also known as shareholders. Fund generated from stockholders is reported in a balance sheet of organizations as paid-up capitalPaid-up CapitalPaid in Capital is the capital amount that a Company receives from investors in exchange for the stock sold in the primary market, including common or preferred stock. This considers the sale of stock that an issuer directly sells to the investor & not the sale of stock on the secondary market between investors. read more under shareholder’s fund. Their influence in the business depends on the percentage of stock that they own out of the total share capital. They get the shares from either the primary or secondary market.

Key Takeaways

  • A stockholder refers to a person, company, or institution who possesses one or more company shares and whose name share certificate has been issued by the company. 
  • The shareholders are considered company owners, but their liability is limited to the value of the extent of the share.
  • Equity shares and preference shares are the two types of shareholders.
  • They can choose the company’s Board of Directors and perform an essential role in any company decision-making, such as acquisitions, mergers, or other critical decisions.

Stockholder Explained

Stockholders are individual or corporate investors who subscribe to the share capital of a company. They are legal owners whose influence in the business is limited to their contribution.

Generally, stockholders are the company’s owners, but they are treated separately from the company, and their liability is limited to the extent of their shareholding. However, they have some stockholders rights like voting rights. In addition, they can select the company’s board of directorsBoard Of DirectorsBoard of Directors (BOD) refers to a corporate body comprising a group of elected people who represent the interest of a company’s stockholders. The board forms the top layer of the hierarchy and focuses on ensuring that the company efficiently achieves its goals. read more and play a vital role in any company decision-making, like acquisitionsAcquisitionsAcquisition refers to the strategic move of one company buying another company by acquiring major stakes of the firm. Usually, companies acquire an existing business to share its customer base, operations and market presence. It is one of the popular ways of business more, mergersMergersMerger refers to a strategic process whereby two or more companies mutually form a new single legal venture. For example, in 2015, ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co and Kraft Foods Group Inc merged their business to become Kraft Heinz Company, a leading global food and beverage more, or any other important decisions. The main benefits for these shareholders is the increase in their sahe value and dividend of the companyDividend Of The CompanyDividends refer to the portion of business earnings paid to the shareholders as gratitude for investing in the company’s more when the business grows and profitability increases regularly. Similarly, if the company is not doing good and not generating profit, the value of shares will decrease, and shareholders will lose their money.

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There are two types of stockholders:


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#1 – Equity Share

Equity stockholders are the actual owners and members of the company with voting rights and control over the company’s operations. Equity shareholders get dividend payments after paying them to the preferred stockholder. The equity stockholder is the leading investor of the company, and this is a natural source of funds. These stocks are also known as ordinary sharesOrdinary SharesOrdinary Shares are the shares that are issued by the company for the purpose of raising the funds from the public and the private sources for its working. Such shares carry voting rights and are shown under owner’s equity in the liability side of the balance sheet of the more.

#2 – Preference Share

These shareholders have a preference over equity stockholders. Preference shareholders or preferred stockholders generally receive a fixed dividend and are compensated or paid before equity stockholders. In bankruptcy, preferred stockholders are entitled to be paid off from company assets before equity stockholders. Preference stockholders do not have any voting rights.


There are two methods for the calculation of stockholders’ equity.

  • Stockholders Equity = Total Assets – Total Liabilities
  • Stockholders Equity = Paid-Up Share Capital + Retained Earning + Accumulated other Comprehensive Income – Treasury Stock

Thus, from the above formula we can calculate stockholders’ equity.


Let’s take an example.

You can download this Stockholder Excel Template here – Stockholder Excel Template

Given below is the balance sheetThe Balance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the more of Max Inc as of December 31, 2018. In this example, we will try calculating stockholder’s equity using the above two formulas.

In the below examples, the company has a bank balance of $300, an inventory of $2,500, and debtors of $700. These come under the company’s current assetsCurrent AssetsCurrent assets refer to those short-term assets which can be efficiently utilized for business operations, sold for immediate cash or liquidated within a year. It comprises inventory, cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities, accounts receivable, more. Therefore, the total existing holdings of the companyCurrent Assets Of The CompanyCurrent assets refer to those short-term assets which can be efficiently utilized for business operations, sold for immediate cash or liquidated within a year. It comprises inventory, cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities, accounts receivable, more are $3,500. On the other hand, the Non-Current AssetsNon-Current AssetsNon-current assets are long-term assets bought to use in the business, and their benefits are likely to accrue for many years. These Assets reveal information about the company's investing activities and can be tangible or intangible. Examples include property, plant, equipment, land & building, bonds and stocks, patents, more, company has land worth $500, buildings worth $2,500, and plant & machinery at $1,200; therefore, the total non-current assets of the company are $9,200.

  • Total Assets = Current Assets + Non-Current Assets
  • Total Assets =$3,500 + $9,200 = $ 12,750

Now we will calculate the total liabilities of the company.

The company has a creditorCreditorA creditor refers to a party involving an individual, institution, or the government that extends credit or lends goods, property, services, or money to another party known as a debtor. The credit made through a legal contract guarantees repayment within a specified period as mutually agreed upon by both parties. read more of $ 1100 and short term borrowingsShort Term BorrowingsShort-term loans are defined as borrowings undertaken for a short period to meet immediate monetary more of $400. These come under current liabilitiesCurrent LiabilitiesCurrent Liabilities are the payables which are likely to settled within twelve months of reporting. They're usually salaries payable, expense payable, short term loans more. Therefore, the total recent liability of the company is $1,500. The company has long term borrowingsLong Term BorrowingsLong Term Liabilities, also known as Non-Current Liabilities, refer to a Company’s financial obligations that are due for over a year (from its operating cycle or the Balance Sheet Date). read more, i.e., non-current liabilitiesNon-current LiabilitiesThe most common examples of Non-Current Liabilities are debentures, bond payables, deferred tax liabilities etc. Non-Current Liabilities are the payables or obligations of an entity which might not be settled within twelve months of accounting such transactions. read more of $7,000.

  • Total Liability = Current Liability + Non–Current Liability
  • Total Liability = $1,500 + $7,000 = $8,500

According to stockholder’s equity 1st formula:

  • Equity Stockholders = Total Assets – Total Liability
  • Equity Stockholders= $12,750 – $8,500 = $4,250

Now we will calculate equity of common stockholders as per the 2nd Formula:

Stockholders equity formula Example


Some of the advantages are as follows:


Some of the disadvantages are as follows:

Stockholder Vs Stakeholder

  • All stockholders are stakeholders of a company but the opposite is not always true.
  • All stakeholders do not possess the right to vote. Only common stockholders  who own stocks have the right to vote for management decisions.
  • All stakeholders are not entited to get dividend. Only who own shares will get it.
  • In case of company dissolution or bankruptcy, shareholders will get their share only after all other stakeholders like creditors, bondholders, employees, etc get their share.
  • All stakeholders are not owners of the business. Only the ones who own shares are owners.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is stockholder vs shareholder?

The shareholder purchases shares from the company and invests money in buying those shares. In comparison, stockholders purchase stocks from a specific company or market.

What is stockholder vs stakeholder?

Stockholders are the partial company owners who buy stock and have access to specific rights related to ownership. In comparison, apart from business owners, stakeholders often have ownership claims to the company in which they have interests.

What is stockholder vs bondholder?

Shareholders are the ones who own stock in a company. At the same time, bondholders are the ones who own bonds issued by a company.

What is stockholder vs creditor?

Shareholders are considered the company’s owners. In comparison, debenture holders are merely lenders to the company. They are regarded as creditors. Shareholders actively participate in the company’s decision-making procedure. Conversely, debenture holders cannot participate in the decision-making process.

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