Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) isn't the only company making a change that will help investors. Procter & Gamble(NYSE: PG) says it will no longer treat restructuring charges as one-time or special items. The new policy will take effect once the consumer-products giant ends its current restructuring program in July 2003.

"P&G can sustain growth without special restructuring charges by staying focused on the strategic choices that got us back on track," said CEO A.G. Lafley. Those charges have added up to over $3.5 billion since 1999, according to The Wall Street Journal, but they shouldn't total more than $150 million to $200 million a year in the future, and will be absorbed into a "single-number reporting system."

When a company classifies expenses as one-time events, it sometimes excludes them and reports earnings on a pro forma basis. Though it's also required to report GAAP numbers that include the expenses, it usually places more emphasis on the pro forma results. The two-tiered system can be extremely confusing, as investors try to figure out which number is most meaningful. Many companies classify expenses as "one-time" that actually recur quite frequently, clouding the issue even further.

Here's hoping P&G sticks to its guns in the future, and that more companies will follow its lead.