Are the “Fortune” rankings the same as “Inc”? Who can file (CEO, COO, CFO, CPA)? Where does one file? How are financials verified?
The different business magazines have their own proprietary ranking systems for companies (I used to work for one).
They have their reporters maintain contacts with company CEOs, CFOs, etc., and verify their financials. But the ultimate decisions as to who to include and how to rank them lies with the business magazines themselves, which is why they have different rankings based on different criteria.
The CEO or CFO of a fast-growing company will typically contact a reporter, or perhaps the boss, typically a director of content, and initiate discussions. (I used to work as an assistant to the research director and field these calls). Business magazines are always looking for good new stories and things to write about. But ultimately, a company's inclusion on such a list is "by invitation only."