The Financial Foundation and the Financial Accounting Standards Board that it oversees are marking their 40th anniversary by introducing redesigned logos, branding and Web sites.

FASB’s new Web site features more user-friendly navigation, new “plain English” explanations of major FASB projects, and a digital timeline highlighting the most important events in the history of the three organizations. In addition, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which the FAF also oversees, is also getting a revamped logo and branding with a similar look to that of the FAF and FASB. FASB’s revamped Web site is debuting Monday, with the FAF and GASB sites due to be rolled out in the next few weeks.

“For 40 years now, since the FAF was created in 1972, we’ve had a very clear mission and that is to be the organization focused on accounting standards,” FAF president and CEO Terri Polley said in an interview. “The net result is having financial reports that provide useful information for investors and other users. But one of our key roles is also to ensure that out stakeholders are educated about our standard-setting process and also the standards that are the result of the standard-setting process. Thinking back over the last 40 years and looking ahead, we thought that now is the right time to refresh our brand identity with the new logos and also with updating the Web site.”

FASB was established in 1973 and the GASB came along in 1984, Polley noted, and the FAF wanted to demonstrate the connection between the two standard-setting boards and the FAF. The new logos use consistent visuals. Each organization has a specific “primary” color, as well as two highlight colors that represent the other two organizations. The integrated use of color aims to emphasize the unity among the three organizations, while leveraging awareness of one organization in relation to the others.

The new FASB site has been redesigned to be a primary source for thought leadership, news and information about financial accounting and reporting standards for public and private companies, and not-for-profit organizations. It includes videos and other new content intended to communicate up-to-the-minute information with all stakeholders, ranging from those who are new to the FASB and its activities to the technical accounting expert.

To commemorate the milestone anniversary, the new FASB site also features an interactive digital timeline that tells the story of the FAF, the FASB, and the GASB through photos, videos, and quotes from the past 40 years.

“We got high marks for our Web sites from people who were deeply involved in accounting matters, but not as high marks from people who don’t know as much about what we do and why we do it,” said Polley. “So we wanted to try make it simpler, a little bit more user friendly, make it easier for people to find information on specific projects and also give them information in plainer English so that if you’re not mired in the details of accounting, you can read what’s on the Web site and at least get an understanding of some of the projects that we’re working on.”

“The FASB Web site does more than just showcase our new logo,” said FASB chairman Leslie F. Seidman in a statement. “It’s a more intuitive Web platform that makes it easier to find the latest updates on projects and initiatives like international convergence and XBRL. With more video, media, and visuals, the new FASB website is designed to be more user friendly and dynamic.”

Polley sees it as a pivotal moment in the history of the FAF, with two new chairmen set to take the helm at both FASB and GASB later this year. “One other specific aspect of the Web site is an interactive timeline,” she said. “That’s a great way to get a brief history of the organizations from its inception in 1972, with lots of bits of information, like video clips and some old historical founding documents.”

Redesigned FAF and GASB Web sites will be unveiled in coming weeks, but in the meantime, the new FAF and GASB logos will be available for the public to view via temporary Web pages. The new branding, including more information on the 40th anniversary, will also be presented in the Financial Accounting Foundation 2012 Annual Report, which will be issued in May.

The FAF worked with H20, the creative services division of New York-based Peppercomm, to develop a brand positioning that captures the significance and stature of the standard setter’s role and to create the new visual identity that reflects its mission. The new Web sites were designed by Ball & Chain, LLC, based in Stamford, Conn.

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