Revisiting Creative Accounting in the Context of Islamic Economic and Finance System

  •  Ali Malik    
  •  Nasser I. Abumustafa    
  •  Haider Shah    


The paper investigates the possibility and spread of creative accounting (CA) related practices in the emerging financial system based on Islamic ideology and economics principles. Analytical methodology has been adopted in order to answer the research questions with a view to improving clarity of concepts. At the doctrinal level, there is little likelihood for practices associated with creative accounting as Islamic finance forbids use of misleading information in business transactions. At the operational level, however, factors like adoption of conventional accounting standards, use of income smoothing practices, and the flexibility in subjective interpretation of scripture based laws (Sharia) open up possibilities for the new financial system to be permeated by creative accounting practices. Islamic finance can be plagued by the pernicious effects of CA practices, therefore, any complacency on the part of advocates of Islamic finance can be misplaced. If practices like creative accounting continue to prevail in Islamic financial system, it will negatively affect the image of Islamic finance as an ethical, just, equitable and fair system. The authors have made a contribution by drawing attention of the research community to the neglected but important issue of creative accounting by critically analysing it and arraying the doctrinal view against the operational view.

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