How to Find the Average Number of Common Shares That Are Outstanding in an Income Statement

by Tim Plaehn

The number of shares of common stock a company has outstanding affects at least two important financial metrics for the company. The number of shares multiplied by the current share price represents the market capitalization or total value of the company. The second metric is the net income, divided by the number of shares, represents the earnings per share, which is widely analyzed and followed by investors. Most corporations include a line to indicate shares outstanding on the income statement whenever financial information is released.

1. Locate the investor information or resources page on the company's website. A link to this page can often be found at the top or bottom of the company's home page or other pages on the website.

2. On the investor relations Web page, look for a link to filings and financial reports made to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Publicly-traded corporations are required to file regular financial condition reports with the SEC, and companies will provide links to the filed reports.

3. Select a link for the company's latest form 10-Q. The 10-Q is a quarterly financial report. A copy of the form will either open as a new Web page or download to your computer as a PDF document.

4. Locate the income statement for the most recent quarter on the 10-Q. The income statement may be called another name such as statement of operations. You can recognize the income statement as a column of numbers with the company revenues on the top line, followed by a list of expenses and a resulting net income further down the list. The income statement will usually show the recent quarterly results in one column and the results for the same quarter from the previous year in another column.

5. Find the item on the income statement labeled “Weighted Average Number of Shares Outstanding” or something similar. The shares outstanding will usually be on a line just above or below the net income per share for the quarter.


  • A quick way to find a company's investor relations page is to look up the stock price in Google Finance and use the link provided in the right column of the share price summary page.
  • Many companies reprint the quarterly income statement with the number of shares outstanding in quarterly earnings press releases. Press releases typically can also be found on the investor’s page.

About the Author

Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.