Until 2004, the annual Forbes 500 list ranked the top United States companies according to sales, profits, assets, market value and number of employees. In 2004, the Forbes Global 2000, which includes companies outside the U.S., replaced the Forbes 500. Compiled annually, it uses similar data.
Unlike the Fortune 500, which ranks companies based on revenue, editors at Forbes magazine used five factors to compile its Forbes 500 list. Rather than concentrating solely on revenue, Forbes looked at companies more holistically, taking into account other indicators of corporate health, for instance, weighing sales against profits, real assets against size of workforce and more. Only one of many measures available to CEOs, the Forbes 500 list was well regarded in the business community.
Similar to the Forbes 500 list, its successor, the Forbes Global 2000, is considered a more comprehensive snapshot of corporate standing in the world economy. The Forbes Global 2000 ranks companies by four equally-weighted metrics: sales, profits, assets and market value. According to “Global 2000: How We Crunch the Numbers,” Forbes uses the most current 12-month data available to compile one list of companies for each of its metrics. In 2014, in order to qualify for one of these initial lists, companies had to meet at least one of these benchmarks: sales of $4.04 billion, profits of $250.9 million, assets of $8.20 billion or market value of $4.86 billion. Companies’ composite scores are calculated by adding up their scores in the four metrics, and then they are ranked in descending order.