How to prove an executive’s misconduct to shareholders.

Running a successful business will present a never-ending string of challenges. Although many of these issues will be external threats, internal issues may be present that can lead to risk for the entire organization. For example, you never know when someone involved in the operations of the company might engage in some significant misconduct, like embezzlement.

Recognizing the warning signs of such misconduct won’t be enough to protect the business. You will need to be able to convince shareholders or a board of trustees to take action to remove someone from a position in which they could do real damage to the business.

Those tasked with the big-picture decision-making for a successful business often loathe taking dramatic steps without a compelling reason to do so. How do you convince shareholders or other corporate authority figures to take action against someone misusing their authority or company resources?

Bring in outside experts

You can’t simply stand up in a shareholder meeting and announce that someone has engaged in major misconduct. You need evidence, and you likely need to involve other shareholders or directors once you have proper proof of what has happened.

The simplest means of developing a strong case will be to bring in those capable of actually proving your accusations. Forensic accountants often play an integral role in embezzlement cases.

IT specialists could be important in cases where you allege corporate espionage or some kind of misconduct while utilizing company infrastructure. There are many private professionals that can uncover or analyze evidence in a way that will make it compelling to those who make the big decisions for your organization.

Protecting yourself is also crucial

It is far too common for those concerned about the future of an organization to leave themselves personally unprotected as they act to intervene in what they perceive as serious misconduct.

From reviewing the terms of your contract with the company to ensure that your actions won’t violate your employment arrangements to asserting your rights if you must act as a whistleblower, there are numerous steps that you can take to protect yourself from retaliation and other concerns after you identify and speak up about misconduct from within the company.

Gathering appropriate evidence can help reduce the chances of negative consequences for you as a professional or for the business as an organization after you speak up about your concerns.

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