Backdating allows executives to choose a past date when the market price was particularly low, thereby inflating the value of the options.
An example illustrates the potential benefit of backdating to the recipient.
Because the option value is higher if the exercise price is lower, executives prefer to be granted options when the stock price is at its lowest.
Alternatively, is there a way of legally trying to achieve the required objective?
If the document is putting in place something which “should have been done” but hasn’t been, usually for tax or similar reasons, then the position is straightforward.
And to say it's up to the bean-counters to catch this situation is silly, because the whole reason you're using phony dates is so that the bean-counters won't know what you really did.
And this is why defenses to backdating sometimes get hard for me to understand.