What is "Contributed Capital?"
The actual paid-in capital value for newly issued shares can be very different from stated par value for the same stock
Contributed capital" ("paid-in capital") is one of the two main categories on the Balance sheet under "Owner’s equity." The other is "Retained earnings." Contributed capital, in turn, has two main components:
- "Stated capital," which is the stated, or par value of the issued shares of stock. The stated capital appears on the example Balance sheet below in the sum of values listed as "Preferred stock" and "Common stock."
- "Additional paid-in capital," which represents money paid to the company above the par value.
Explaining Contributed Capital in Context
Sections below show how paid-in capital items appear on the Balance Sheet and describe the creation of new paid-in capital in context with related accounting and finance terms, including the following:
- What is "contributed capitall" ("paid-in-capital")?
- How do firms acquire paid-in capital when they issue new shares of stock?
- Where does "contributed capital" appear on the Balance sheet?
- For a complete introduction to Owners Equity on the Balance Sheet, see Owners Equity.
- The article Stock Bond Par Value explains the meaning of Par for new stock share issues.
- See Balance Sheet, for a complete introduction to Balance sheet structure, contents, and role in financial reporting.
Acquiring Contributed Capital
Investors Pay Issuers in More Than Par
At a public stock offering, the difference between a stock share par value and the actual market price can be substantial. Par value for a stock is an accounting convention for the "price" initially set by the company. The concept came into use as a way of letting companies announce to the public that they will sell no shares below a certain price (par), to assure investors that no one will receive a more favorable offer.
At a company's IPO (Initial public offering), however, the market price can rise far above par, especially if the investing public has high expectations for company growth and company performance. The same difference may appear at the company's secondary, and subsequent stock offerings to the public. In brief, par value says little about the market's confidence in the company or potential future stock prices. What investors are willing to pay, more than par, however, is viewed as an indicator of future performance. For this indicator, they can look to the separate components of contributed capital on the Balance sheet.
Paid in Capital on the Balance Sheet
Contributed capital (paid in capital) entries on the Balance sheet show up under Owner's Equity, as shown in the lower part of the Exhibit 1 Balance sheet, below.