Fortune 500

An amalgamated list of the top 500 public and private companies in the United States generated based on their annual revenues for their fiscal year.

Author: Andy Yan
Andy Yan
Andy Yan
Investment Banking | Corporate Development

Before deciding to pursue his MBA, Andy previously spent two years at Credit Suisse in Investment Banking, primarily working on M&A and IPO transactions. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Andy was a Business Analyst Intern for Capital One and worked as an associate for Cambridge Realty Capital Companies.

Andy graduated from University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and is currently an MBA candidate at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a concentration in Analytical Finance.

Reviewed By: Adin Lykken
Adin Lykken
Adin Lykken
Consulting | Private Equity

Currently, Adin is an associate at Berkshire Partners, an $16B middle-market private equity fund. Prior to joining Berkshire Partners, Adin worked for just over three years at The Boston Consulting Group as an associate and consultant and previously interned for the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Senate.

Adin graduated from Yale University, Magna Cum Claude, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics.

Last Updated:September 13, 2022

The Fortune 500 is an amalgamated list of the top 500 public, and private companies in the United States generated based on their annual revenues for their fiscal year. This list is written by Fortune Magazine annually, and for a company to be ranked within the list is of great esteem.

A fiscal year is an accounting term used to represent a one-year period companies use to prepare their financial statements and tax filings.

It is typical for seasonal companies like Walmart and Target's fiscal year not to follow the traditional calendar year. This is done because doing so helps better align their operational expenditures to paint a more accurate picture of the company's financials.

With data from each company's fiscal year, Fortune can analyze each company's after-tax profits, stockholders' equity, assets, market value, and earnings per share (EPS).

As a result, Fortune can present accurate rankings, allowing them to factor in informed aspects such as lead generation, corporate benchmarking, and investment insights to its audience. However, accessing these rankings is expensive and ranges from $999 upwards.

Nevertheless, the reputation garnered from appearing on this list is substantial as a movement within or off the list entirely is very momentous for the company as it can indicate that the company is doing something successfully or needs to fine-tune aspects of its operations.

History of the Fortune 500

Fortune Magazine organized its first list of both public and private profitable American companies in 1955 as a result of Edgar Smith's efforts to quantify the United State's economic prevalence.

As an assistant managing editor, Smith’s vision came to fruition as Fortune decided to begin producing an annual list. However, Fortune’s original list was rather selective and only included companies that were in the energy sector, mining, or manufacturing industries.

While this was rather binding and non-inclusive for larger corporations, the barrier to entry of generating nearly $50 million in annual revenue to even be considered greatly established the quality and impact of the companies on the rankings.

Four decades later, in 1995, Fortune Magazine went through a substantial change as the 500 lists then began to become slightly more inclusive, as they opened up the rankings to companies that were also in the service industry.

This change paved the way for what the Fortune 500 list has become today. For example, in 1995 alone, the service companies made up almost 60% of the top 500 list - with 291 companies then being able to join the rankings.

Without this change, companies like Walmart and AT&T would not have had the ability to dominate the list during the years they did and still do.

Fortune Magazine is recognized as a reputable benchmark today with such a rich history.

What is the Fortune Magazine

The Atlantic Monthly Company created Fortune Magazine in 1929, founded by Henry Robinson Luce. It began publishing monthly, then biweekly, and recently publishes multiple times a year.

Founded by Luce during the Great Depression, alongside his Yale classmate Briton Hadden, Luce’s goal was to create a prestigious magazine that had a target audience of wealthy and influential people.

Luce decided to create a barrier of entry with this publication in hopes that it would attract readers who are both enthusiastic and able to benefit from the information.


Throughout the history of these publications, over a thousand companies have been featured on this prestigious list which has drastically changed since its first issue. Furthermore, this list is often an indicator of the economy’s strength and a company’s recovery from tough years.

Moreover, through the Fortune 500 survey, Fortune can gauge each company's dexterity due to their 10-K analysis, in addition to similar financial statements that provide insight into operational functionality.

Its widespread media presence is used to propagate unparalleled news to help readers by providing high standards of accuracy and transparency in terms of businesses.

As a result, it is now known as the premiere and internationally renowned business magazine that is revered for its annual publishings of the Fortune 100, 500, and Global 500 listings.

List of Companies

While listing out every company in the Fortune 500 for 2022 would be somewhat exhaustive, listed below are the top 10 performers as of 2022 and their industries:

The top 10 performers as of 2022 and their industries
Rank 2022 2021
















CVS Health


CVS Health



UnitedHealth Group


UnitedHealth Group



Exxon Mobile


Berkshire Hathaway



Berkshire Hathaway

















Exxon Mobile


Additionally, looking back to 2021, it is evident that these companies are top performers as many of them have continued success from the previous year, as seen above.

Many of these companies continue to grow and consistently be prominent names among the top ten due to the overlapping values you find in common between them.

Adam Fridman, the founder of ProHabits, pursued research across almost 400 companies while screening over 2,000 different values to find commonalities among the Fortune 500, leading him to a newfound understanding of five major values.

For example, the top five values exemplified across all the companies in the 500 list are

  • Integrity
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation
  • Customer Service
  • Respect

These values then intertwine into the types of skills that a top company is looking for when recruiting for roles, thus creating a productive and altruistic culture. 

What makes a Fortune 500 Company

The primary piece of being able to qualify for this list would be that the company should be the United States based. Regardless of whether or not said company has overseas operations, the main requirement is that it is native to the US, as global companies have another list.


Fortune then considers the U.S.-based companies which have reported their financial statements and earnings to the public or government agencies. Although these companies must report their statements, they can be either public or private.

However, whether these companies are public or private, Fortune cannot consider private firms that fail to file their financial statements with a government organization or reputable foreign company due to a lack of fiscal data.

Based on the registered data, companies are then ranked concerning their 10-K filings, revenue generated, and information garnered from their fiscal year.

Additionally, as mentioned in Fortune Magazine’s history, the major barrier to entry was the industry a company fell into. Currently, as long as the said company is under the service, energy, mining, or manufacturing sector umbrella, it can be considered to be ranked.

It is also important to note that in addition to all this, companies were still excluded from the list due to facing bankruptcy as well as mergers and acquisitions.

How are they different from the Global 500

The methodology for screening the Fortune verse Global 500 is slightly different. The Global 500 lists the top 500 companies worldwide based on revenue.


For 2022, global companies are ranked based on the revenue generated in the fiscal year ending on the last day of March 2022. These companies must then report their financial statements to a government agency, and Fortune compares their earnings to their previous year’s performance.

Fortune accounts for each company:

  • Revenues
  • Profit
  • Balance Sheet
  • Employees
  • Medians

Revenue numbers include those of subsidiaries and the reported revenues for discontinued operations, excluding excise tax. This slightly varies for banks and insurance companies, whose operating capital is derived from gross interest income and premiums.

Company profits are then shown after taxes but before preferred dividends and include substantial credits or charges, cumulative effects of accounting changes, and minority interests. 

When reading Fortune’s datasheet, note that profit figures in parentheses are negative, and those showing a percentage reduction over 100% indicate a drop from profit during the previous year to losses during the current year.

As per the Balance Sheet assets and Employee data, Fortune calculates both using end-of-Fiscal year data. For non-American companies' figures have been converted to the US Dollar at the end of that company’s fiscal year with the exchange rate.

Finally, Median figures for profit changes do not include companies that lost money in the previous year or both.

Benefits of Working at these Companies

As established, being on the Fortune 500 is considered very prestigious as all the firms on the list are considered to be of premium quality. As a result, there are a plethora of benefits of working at such companies.

The reasoning behind why they are often great companies to work for is that their revenues and profits are typically very consistent, as these companies understand that their workforce is the key to success - thus investing a lot of resources into them.

With each company having its own mission, culture, and values, being a part of a company that helps develop you further into a successful professional is rewarding in many ways.

Additionally, the name recognition of working for such a company often holds a beneficial impact due to the keywords on your resume, LinkedIn, and future job applications, as recruiters favor those who have worked for a large, successful company and have been well trained.

Moreover, the skillset one develops in a larger firm is often highly specialized and more sophisticated due to the resources and financial support available. As a result, smaller companies and other firms would significantly benefit from individuals who can contribute such value.

Finally, working for such an organization gives employees a leg up with flexible career paths and job opportunities, whether internal or external transfers. Plus, you will be able to build a vast and altruistic network of co-workers, mentors, and customers that can help you down the line.

Final Considerations

That being said, working for a Fortune 500 company comes with bragging rights as they consistently generate vast amounts of revenue to differentiate them from competitors while helping their clients and employees grow through their resources. 

As these companies continue to dominate the market share in their respective industries due to their successful values and operations while producing more than the majority of the United State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), their presence within the 500 is synonymous with their success.

Moreover, as new companies try to become integrated into this prestigious list and well-established companies strive to maintain or better their positioning within the 500, Fortune continues to produce this updated list annually.

Thus, these US-based companies strive to optimize their services to increase production value and other operational facets that contribute to their ranking.

Furthermore, in addition to the Fortune 500 list, Fortune also puts out the following rankings:

  • 40 Under 40
  • Global 500
  • 100 Best Companies to Work For
  • World’s Most Admired Companies
  • Most Powerful Women

Nevertheless, the purpose and rationale behind Fortune’s rankings are to teach the competitive entrepreneurial spirit within companies and individuals everywhere.

With the Fortune 500, Fortune has constructed a competitive and transparent mechanism for firms all over the United States to compare their successes.

Researched and authored by Shreyas John | LinkedIn

Reviewed and Edited by Aditya SalunkeLinkedIn

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