What is Fait Accompli?

Definition: Fait Accompli is an event that has already happened and it is considerate irreversible. In other words, a fact that has taken place already.

What Does Fait Accompli Mean?

Fait accompli is a French that literally means “an accomplished fact”. It is used to describe a situation where certain decision has been taken or certain incident had took place and the affected parties were not aware of it. In the moment they are informed about it there’s a fait accompli situation since there is nothing they can do to change what has happened and therefore, the term is mostly employed when the situation mentioned is irreversible.

In business, there are many instances where fait accompli situations can take place. For example, business and financial reports are in itself fait accompli statements, since everything that is being presented already took place and the company can do something to change future results but there is nothing they can do to change past results. Also, lawsuits are fait accompli scenarios, where the person being sued is notified about the existence of the legal procedure after the claim has been filed, which means there is nothing to do about the fact that derived in the lawsuit, therefore the term can be properly employed.

Example

The National Sales Manager of a company called Sweet Beverages Co. is currently reviewing the sales performance of the different states, cities and districts that the company serves. According to the reports sent by the accounting department, it seems sales have decreased in the last three months. Apparently, the 3 states that represent 75% of the company’s sales have performed poorly due to an apparent delay in product deliveries.

Clients have been complaining for weeks about it and the regional manager didn’t updated the National Sales Manager adequately about the situation. Since the scenario is fait accompli there’s nothing the Manager can do to remedy this awful past results, but now he has to address the situation properly to make sure it doesn’t happen again.