cook the books
From the mid-17th century. A metaphor for cooking, whereby ingredients are changed, altered and improved by the process. Thus financial statements can also be so modified to the benefit of the "cook".
- (idiomatic) To manipulate accounting information, especially illegally.
- Enron Corp., once a major U.S. corporation, is now famous for cooking the books.
- (idiomatic, by extension) To falsify an account of an event.
to manipulate accounting information
to falsify an account of an event