The Fortune 500 is a list released on an annual basis by the Fortune magazine, which is comprised of the top 500 corporations in the United States. Since its first release in the year 1955, the list has ranked companies using revenue information from the previous fiscal year. However, the ranking is not simply based on revenue, but on several other criteria, as well. In fact, Fortune makes use of 12 different indices to rank companies, with revenue as only one of these. Examples of other indices are shareholders’ equity, market value, and profits. In addition to their overall performance, companies are also scrutinized based on how well they are able to function in each of the states they are located in. The Fortune 500 also takes into account the various types of industries.
With the stringent criteria set, the Fortune 500 has since come to give the impression of financial strength to companies fortunate enough to be included in the list. Whenever the list is released, information on companies’ locations and CEOs are also included
The Fortune 500 must not be confused with the Fortune Global 500. Unlike the Fortune 500, which only includes U.S. corporations, the Fortune Global 500 is a list which ranks the top 500 industrial corporations worldwide. This is likewise released by Fortune magazine on an annual basis and also takes revenue into account. It started out as an international list, but initially did not include the United States. In the 90’s, it started incorporating U.S. companies as well. As a result, the slots in the list are generally divided among the U.S., Europe, and Japan.