Colin Gorman on What Construction Expense State Lawmakers Should Fix First
Colin Gorman has been in public accounting since 2000. He has experience in several areas of taxation, accounting and financial management and specialized experience with construction accounting, small businesses, and litigation support and valuations planning.
Gorman earned a bachelor’s degree in business and economics and a master’s degree in accounting from Hendrix College in Conway. He served as treasurer of the Associated Builders & Contractors of Arkansas for several years and was its chairman in 2012. He also is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Marine Corps League.
Gorman bought Jerry Gorman & Associates PLLC in 2009 and merged it with EGP in 2011. He became its managing partner in July 2015.
Is the construction industry able to find enough workers or is there a shortage? Based on all of my discussions with clients, other contractors and what I read in the trade journals, finding talented and committed workers is a tremendous problem. I know there are efforts at the local community level and with the local trade associations to provide the technical training needed for future contractor employees. It then requires the contractors to employ unique tactics to attract and retain the top talent.
What does a certified construction accounting firm do that’s different from any other accounting firm? While our firm has other service offerings and niches, the construction industry is one of our main focuses. There are specific tax and accounting rules for construction contractors. To truly serve a construction client, the firm and a team of its employees must commit to the industry. In a continuingly complex regulatory environment, we have to continue to specialize.
We have our CPAs focus on construction-specific continuing education. We participate in local and national trade associations that allow us to integrate ourselves within the industry and to understand what really matters to contractors. We have to understand items specific to the industry such as the available methods of accounting, tax deductions, how to work with over- and under-billings and retainage. When you understand how all of these things work together, you can help a client maximize his financial position for bonding and banking purposes while minimizing taxes.
Our commitment to the industry and our experience was confirmed earlier this year when we were named as the exclusive Arkansas member firm of the Construction Industry CPAs & Consultants, which is a national association of the best construction CPA firms in the U.S.
Recently your firm announced it had merged with George & Co. of Jonesboro. Why did that move make sense? Jonesboro is a great community, and its residents are doing some wonderful things. We have had an office there for several years, and I’m always impressed with the activity and the people whenever I am there. As CPAs, our need to specialize will continue to grow.
Ron George has extensive construction experience to further complement our team and expand our resources and knowledge. CPA firms also have the same struggles that contractors do attracting talent. Our combined forces increase our footprint and make us more attractive to the superstars. Getting the right people continues our ability to give our clients the best service.
What laws would you like to see come out of the state Legislature for the benefit of the construction industry? I would like to see the state mirror federal depreciation laws. For federal purposes, small businesses can expense up to $500,000 of new or used fixed-asset (i.e., equipment and vehicles) purchases, whereas the limit for state purposes is $25,000.
I am also working with some local trade associations to propose legislation to clarify some onerous sales tax rules applied to contractors.
*How did your service as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and spending seven months in Iraq in 2003 help you as a managing partner? My time as a US Marine was definitely one of the most influential of my life. I see those experiences manifest in my day to day behavior. Although my Marines were amazing, if something were to go wrong on patrol, it was ultimately my responsibility. In a professional services firm leadership and responsibility is shared by all of our partners, but as managing partner I try and bring the same amount of commitment to the mission and responsibility for the outcome as I did while on patrol with my Marines. I also like to try and lead by example. I am not going to ask someone to do something that I am not willing to do myself. I would not ever say “attack the hill”. I would say “follow me up the hill”. One of the blessings that came from my experiences in Iraq was a little perspective. We all have bad days at the office and I know the people around me will agree that I can let my bad days show sometimes. But at the end of the day I get to go home to my wife and son and the pressures seem to wash away.
*Additional question asked during the interview but not printed.