Discovering potential misallocation of funds within a business partnership is upsetting. The assumption is that the person working with you has the company’s interests at heart. Learning that this might not be the case is bound to be disconcerting.
One must tread carefully in addressing such matters. Apply a deliberate approach when raising the topic of financial irregularities.
Step #1: Gather concrete evidence
Begin by collecting proof that justifies your suspicions. Review financial records, bank statements and other relevant documentation that helps establish a clearer understanding of the monetary discrepancies.
Step #2: Hash out the matter in private
Arrange a confidential meeting to discuss your concerns. Choose a neutral setting where you are both comfortable speaking frankly. Block off the room and put phones on mute so there is no possibility of someone interrupting.
Step #3: Clearly articulate your thinking
Verbalize your concerns concisely and from a neutral perspective. Prepare your thoughts beforehand so you are less likely to use inflammatory language. Use evidence to support your points, and avoid making unfounded accusations.
Step #4: Listen with an open mind
Request reasons and explanations for the differences you are seeing. Stay open to the idea that your partner could be innocent. A two-way dialogue fosters mutual understanding and can uncover misunderstandings or unintentional errors that are the root of the problem.
Step #5: Safeguard future transactions
To prevent further trouble, put in place tighter financial controls. According to the ACFE, up to 5% of business revenue vanishes due to undetected fraud. Implementing more robust security measures, such as having more than one person count cash deposits and comparing internal books with external bank statements, will give you greater peace of mind.
Addressing suspicions of financial misdoings requires prudence and diplomatic thinking. Once the conflict is past, protect your venture’s fiscal integrity by laying the foundation for a more transparent and secure future.