creative accounting(redirected from Cooking the books)
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The practice of recognizing revenue in a way that makes a company look better than it is while still conforming to the GAAP. Creative accounting seeks to inflate stock prices, for example, by selling assets at the end of a year to create a profit that offsets a loss. One could argue that creative accounting hides a company's true financial state, but, unlike aggressive accounting, creative accounting is generally legal. See also: Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
The use of aggressive and/or questionable accounting techniques in order to produce a desired result, generally high earnings per share. Creative accounting may include selling assets with a low cost basis, shipping unusually large quantities of product near the end of the year, and failure to write down inventories that have declined in value.