When dividends are declared, ordinary shareholders are the last set of persons to be paid. The amount paid will differ from one month to another depending on the profits declared by the company. Preferred shares on the other hand, often have a fixed dividend rate specified at the time of issuance. The dividend is usually expressed at a percentage based on the face value or par value of the shares. Unlike ordinary shareholders, preferred shareholders typically receive their dividends before ordinary shareholders receive theirs, and the dividend amount is predetermined and unchanging throughout the duration of that investment.