In four months flat, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has cranked out a proposal for a new standard on accounting for post-retirement benefit plans, including pensions.Not only has the board been quick to write the proposal, but it may be quick to implement it as well. If approved soon, it will be effective for fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2006.

"The board wanted to focus on a balance sheet that is complete, and to measure the pension-related assets and obligations at the same date as all other assets and obligations," said FASB project manager Peter Proestakes. "The board thinks that if we include the pension and other post-retirement benefit status, then the investor has a much better ability to see and assess how well the employer was able to carry out that obligation."

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