Cook the books

Idiom

Cook the books

Definition

Changing financial records in order to deceive people and hide a company’s true financial performance.

Examples

The company was accused of cooking the books to hide their losses.

The accountants had to cook the books to make the company look profitable.

Origin

US, early 20th century

FAQs

What does it mean to “cook the books”?

How is “cooking the books” done?