What is 'Creative Accounting '

Creative accounting consists of accounting practices that follow required laws and regulations, but deviate from what those standards intend to accomplish. Creative accounting capitalizes on loopholes in the accounting standards to falsely portray a better image of the company. Although creative accounting practices are legal, the loopholes they exploit are often reformed to prevent such behaviors.

BREAKING DOWN 'Creative Accounting '

A primary benefit of public accounting statements is that they allow investors to compare the financial health of competing companies. However, when firms indulge in creative accounting they often distort the value of the information that their financials provide. Creative accounting can be used to manage earnings and to keep debt off the balance sheet.

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