What Does the Expression “Cooking the Books” Mean and Where Did it Come From?

If you know someone using creative accounting to balance the books, they’re probably also breaking the law.

This individual would likely need someone with sophisticated bookkeeping skills comparable to those of a skilled chef who can prepare a dish so artfully that no one can tell how it was done.

If authorities discover that the books have been cooked and criminal charges are laid, it is said that the accountant and the employer have “cooked their own goose.”