Accounting for pension plans: Back to the basics with 5 things to know

Start adding items to your reading lists:
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.


We discuss what you need to know about accounting for defined benefit pension plans, including: remeasurement, recognizing costs, and significant interim events.

Accounting for defined benefit pension plans can be a complex area, and companies need to be aware of the guidance. That’s why Heather Horn and PwC pension specialist Nicole Berman go back to the basics to highlight a few of the fundamental accounting rules for these types of plans, including: 

  • 2:33 - Remeasurement. Nicole walks through the timing of measurement, including how to measure plan assets and obligations.  

  • 4:42 - Pension costs. Nicole reminds listeners what’s included in pension costs and talks about how pension costs are determined.

  • 6:02 - Recognizing costs. Nicole discusses the timing of recognition. 

  • 11:28 - Significant interim events. Big events, like plan freezes, require specific accounting. Nicole explains.

  • 16:23 - Final thoughts. We wrap up by sharing a few frequently asked questions―including what to think about when it comes to disclosures.  

About our guests

Nicole Berman is a Director in PwC's National office who advises the firm’s partners and clients on accounting for complex transactions related to revenue recognition and employee compensation matters, including stock-based compensation, pensions, OPEB, and restructurings, under both US GAAP and IFRS. She helps craft the firm's positions on new financial reporting pronouncements and assesses the technical merit of FASB and IASB proposals.

About our host

Heather Horn is PwC’s National office thought leader, responsible for developing our communications strategy and conveying firm positions on accounting and financial reporting matters. She is the engaging host of PwC’s accounting and reporting weekly podcast and quarterly webcast series, as well as periodic webcasts for the power and utilities industry. With over 25 years of experience, Heather’s accounting and auditing expertise includes financial instruments and rate-regulated accounting.

Contact us

Heather Horn

Heather Horn

US Strategic Thought Leader, National Professional Services Group, PwC US

David Schmid

David Schmid

International Accounting Leader, National Professional Services Group, PwC US

Follow us