The Bear Stearns hedge fund meltdown put “fair value” on the front pages. Now, Financial Accounting Standard No. 157 is going to put it on your books, and soon.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s fair value standard will be effective in a couple of months. The standard—known officially as FAS No. 157, Fair Value Measurements—is effective for fiscal years beginning after Nov. 15, 2007, and interim periods within those fiscal years. For calendar year-end companies, that means implementation is required in the first quarter of 2008.

FAS 157 establishes a framework for how fair value should ...