[The latest in our ongoing series of discussions on successful thought leadership with recipients of JD Supra’s Readers’ Choice awards:]
Stanley Foodman of Foodman CPAs & Advisors has been training martial arts for more than half a century. And he has no intention of quitting because “every time I practice, I learn something. I can’t stop learning “
The same goes for him when he writes about tax compliance, which helps him understand his clients’ problems so he can better guide them through their challenges ranging from international tax and business advice to stolen property recovery assets, money laundering and bank fraud are enough to discover the hidden.
How did you get into writing?
I started writing back before 2010, maybe even earlier, on the recommendation of some lawyers I worked with as litigation advisors. They suggested that writing would make me a more prominent thought leader by putting my name in front of more people.
I thought the bigger my audience the better it was for me, so I said okay and started publishing.
What inspires you
What inspires me are events of the day that grab my attention and, at some level, push emotional buttons because I can help people understand and respond to them. There are always new cases to be decided in a tax court, criminal cases related to taxes, changes in tax laws and regulations, developments that affect other areas, not just taxes, such as banking compliance, corporate governance and international activities.
I am constantly learning new things. [The] Process gives me a better understanding of the customer’s perspective …
I’m looking for the interplay of forensic bookkeeping, complex international taxes, and corporate governance to see how and where I can educate people and help them sleep well at night. Tax law is a particularly complex area. It is poorly understood by the public – even bank compliance officers – who do not always understand the impact of US tax law on their day-to-day operations. I’m just trying to calm down and give people food for thought.
What’s your writing process?
I have someone to help me research the topics that grab my attention and which we summarize in articles on specific topics. After it’s written, I go through it carefully to make sure it’s correct of course, but also to work on grammar and vocabulary: I’m very demanding in writing in the active tense and using precise language to understand the concepts and situations to describe articles that are covered in my book.
I am very demanding of … using concise language to describe the concepts and situations …
I think vocabulary is very important and that by simplifying our vocabulary we can lose the context and subtleties of situations. I am very aware of these things when I write.
I also write from the perspective of how my work will be viewed if I have to go to court as an expert. I don’t write controversially, I don’t use superlatives, etc.
How do you benefit from writing?
The funny thing about writing is that it’s a self-taught tool. As I research and design my articles, I am constantly learning new things. I think there is a huge benefit to this, especially since it allows me to better assess customers’ perspective as they try to understand tax legislation – a document that is not written the way people are used to see. is thousands of pages long and is written in eight-point script by the government.
By writing, I can learn, see the deeper picture, and extract the underlying principles so that I can better educate the people who read my work.
What is the value to you in writing?
To me, a great value in my writing is the support it provides to clients and other readers, people who are in a difficult situation such as a tax dispute, compliance issue, or facing someone from the Internal Revenue Service. There are a hundred questions they can have and many of the answers they need can be found on our website. This makes JD Supra an invaluable asset for disseminating information and news to our target audience.
[Writing] Gets attention and public recognition and, if properly advertised, can lead to other opportunities, such as television or radio …
We know this from the feedback we receive from lawyers, senior compliance officers, financial institutions, and the like. And from the recommendations they send us when their customers need the kind of compliance support we can provide.
What advice do you have for others who want to become thought leaders?
First, don’t give up. Not everything is published – not everything I write is published – because, as the saying goes, not everything that glitters is gold. But that shouldn’t discourage you – you just have to keep working on it.
Second, work on expanding your vocabulary for clarity. How things are worded, how they are worded, is of the essence and you should never stop trying to improve your use of the language. It’s like sanding a piece of wood: just keep sanding and make it as smooth as possible.
And third, don’t expect the letter to be converted into money straight away. It won’t. At least that was my experience. But it does attract attention and public recognition and, if properly advertised, can lead to other opportunities, such as television or radio, and the opportunity to meet people who want to use your services.
Stanley Foodman is the CEO of Foodman CPAs & Advisors, one of the most respected forensic accounting and advisory firms in Florida. He was a leader in the Top Ten Authors in the Tax Category 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards by JD Supra. Follow his latest writings here.