North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners

License Applicants

Contacting the Licensing Staff

Buck Winslow, Manager, (919) 733-1421

Alice Grigsby, Specialist, (919) 733-1422 (original, reciprocal, & temporary CPA licensure applications, and change of status)

Mailing Address
Licensing Section
NC State Board of CPA Examiners
PO Box 12827
Raleigh, NC 27605-2827

Fax Number
Attn.: Licensing
(919) 715-8411

Eligibility

In North Carolina, an original North Carolina CPA certificate (license) will be issued to a person who is, or declares an intention to become, a citizen of the United States or is a resident alien; is eighteen (18) years of age or older; is of good moral character; meets the specified educational and experience requirements; and passes all sections of the Uniform CPA Examination (Exam). A person applying for a certificate (license) of qualification as a CPA must file an application and experience affidavit(s) with the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners (Board) on forms supplied by the Board. He or she must also supply documentation that proves he or she has met the statutory and regulatory requirements for certification (licensure). Three (3) certificates of good moral character signed by properly licensed CPAs must be submitted with the application for a CPA certificate (license).

Requirements for Original Certification (Licensure)

Uniform CPA Examination

An applicant for certification (licensure) must have successfully passed the Exam with a score of at least 75 on each section and in accordance with 21 NCAC 08F .0105 . If an applicant did not sit for the Exam as a North Carolina candidate, he or she must request the transfer of Exam credit from the jurisdiction that holds his or her Exam grades and also submit an Interstate Exchange form completed by the jurisdiction in which the applicant sat for the Uniform CPA Exam. NOTE:  These forms  (Application for Transfer of Credit for Passing All or Part of the Uniform CPA Examination in Another Jurisdiction and Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information are included in the Original NC CPA License Application Package.) An applicant must complete the initial portion of the Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information and forward the form to the board of accountancy where credits and/or status were established (be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope). That board of accountancy will complete the remainder of the form and return it to the applicant. The applicant will then submit the completed form as part of his or her application for NC certification (licensure).

Education

NCGS 93-12(5)a sets forth the education required of candidates applying for CPA certification (licensure). The 150 semester hours required include a concentration in accounting, as defined by 21 NCAC 08A .0309, and 24 semester hours of coursework which include one (1) three (3) semester hour course from at least eight (8) of the following 10 fields of study:

  • communications;
  • computer technology;
  • economics;
  • ethics;
  • finance;
  • humanities/social science;
  • international environment;
  • law;
  • management; or
  • statistics

Anyone applying for CPA certification (licensure) who holds a Master’s or more advanced degree in accounting, tax law, economics, finance, business administration, or a law degree from an accredited college or university or the equivalent thereof, is in compliance with  21 NCAC 08F .0410. An applicant who did not sit for the Exam as a North Carolina candidate must submit an official college/university transcript (with official school seal and signature of college registrar) that shows the completion of the education requirement pursuant to NCGS 93-12(5), 21 NCAC 08A .0309, and 21 NCAC 08F .0410.

Work Experience

The Board will not issue a certificate (license) to an applicant unless the applicant has acquired the appropriate work experience. 21 NCAC 08F .0401 requires that the work experience must be completed prior to the date an individual applies for certification (licensure). NCGS 93-12  defines work experience as:

  • One year’s experience in the field of accounting under the direct supervision of a certified public accountant who currently holds a valid license in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia.
  • Four years of experience teaching accounting in a four-year college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations or in a college or university determined by the Board to have standards substantially equivalent to a regionally accredited institution.
  • Four years of experience in the field of accounting.
  • Four years of experience teaching college transfer accounting courses at a community college or technical institute accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations.
  • Any combination of such experience determined by the Board to be substantially equivalent to the foregoing.

In calculating work experience, one year of work experience is 52 weeks of full-time employment. Full-time employment is defined as working at least 30 hours each week for at least one year. Experience affidavits for part-time work (less than 30 hours each week) must contain a record of the actual part-time hours the applicant performed accounting services only for each week of part-time employment. Actual part-time hours do not include hours paid for sick leave, vacation leave, attending CPE courses, or other time not spent directly performing accounting services. The applicant for certification (licensure) must submit to the Board experience affidavits from all of the relevant employers.

Accountancy Law Course

Within one year prior to applying for certification, all certificate (license) applicants must complete an eight-hour course on the North Carolina Accountancy Statutes and Rules, including the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. The Board suggests that applicants meet the requirement within the last few months prior to applying for a certificate (license). The North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA) [Phone (919) 469-1040 or 1-800-722-2836] offers two qualifying courses: a one-day, group-study seminar, “Ethics Principles and Professional Responsibilities,” and an online self-study course, “North Carolina Law Course: Ethics, Principles, and Professional Responsibility for North Carolina License Applicants.”

Submitting an Application for Original  Certification (Licensure)

Individuals applying for original North Carolina certification ( licensure) must submit the entire Original NC CPA License Application package including the application form; three (3) certificates of good moral character; the appropriate experience affidavits(s); proof of completion of the accountancy law course; a recent (taken within the past six months) passport-type color photo (the photo must be 2 x 2 and show the applicant’s face from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head, including hair and comprise between 1″ and 1 3/8″ of the total size);  payment by check or credit card.

If an applicant did not sit for the Exam as a North Carolina candidate, he or she must apply for the transfer of Exam credit from the jurisdiction that holds his or her Exam grades and submit an Interstate Exchange Form (included in the Original NC CPA License Application package). If an applicant does not have a Master’s degree in accounting, business administration, economics, or tax law, or a juris doctor (JD) with a concentration in accounting or tax, he or she must complete and submit the 150-Hour Worksheet for License Applicants (included in the Original NC CPA License Application package).

If you have questions regarding applying for original NC CPA certification (licensure), please contact Alice Grigsby.

Reciprocal Certificates (Licenses)

The Board may issue a reciprocal CPA certificate (license) to a CPA licensed to practice public accounting by another jurisdiction who resides in North Carolina or whose principal place of business is in North Carolina and who meets the statutory requirements for certification (licensure).  If an individual receives a reciprocal certificate (licensure) for North Carolina, he or she is not required to maintain his or her out-of-state license, however, he or she may choose to remain active in another jurisdiction.

A CPA from another jurisdiction who now resides in North Carolina or whose principal place of business in North Carolina who desires to use the CPA title in North Carolina must apply for a reciprocal certificate (license) using the Reciprocal NC CPA Licensee Application Package. He or she must furnish the Board with an affidavit signed by an official of the CPA licensing board in the jurisdiction in which the CPA is currently licensed to practice public accounting showing both the certificate/license number and that the applicant is in good standing. The applicant must provide evidence of his or her grades on the Exam through an affidavit signed by an official of the CPA licensing board in the jurisdiction where those grades were earned.

The Board staff automatically issues a temporary permit to practice to all reciprocal certificate (license) applicants upon receipt of the reciprocal license application and fee. The Board issues the applicant a statement confirming that the individual is in good standing in the jurisdiction issuing the CPA’s certificate (license) and that the individual is entitled to temporarily use the CPA title and engage in the public practice of accountancy in North Carolina for 120 days after issue or upon issuance of the individual’s reciprocal certificate (license), whichever comes first. The Board grants temporary permits to practice only to applicants for reciprocal certificates (licenses) pending their qualification under  21 NCAC 08H .0101.

If you have questions regarding reciprocal certificates (licenses) or temporary permits to practice, please contact Alice Grigsby.

Practice Privilege

An individual whose principal place of business is outside North Carolina is granted the privilege to perform or offer to perform services, whether in person or by mail, telephone or electronic means, in North Carolina as a CPA without notice to the Board, the submission of any other documentation or the payment of any fee, if the individual meets all of the following conditions:

  • Holds a valid unrevoked certificate (license) as a CPA or its equivalent issued by another state, a territory of the US, or the District of Columbia;
  • Holds a valid and unrevoked license or permit to practice as a CPA issued by another state, a territory of the US, or the District of Columbia;
  • Has passed the Exam; and
  • Has not been convicted of a felony under the laws of the US, any state, a territory of the US, or the District of Columbia and has never been convicted of a crime, an essential element of which is dishonesty, deceit, or fraud unless the jurisdiction in which the individual is licensed has determined the felony or other crime has no effect on the individual’s license.

 Individual Consent to Jurisdiction

An individual who qualifies for practice privilege and exercises the privilege by performing or offering to perform services as a CPA in North Carolina simultaneously consents as a condition to the grant of this privilege to:

  • Comply with the laws of North Carolina, the provisions of the chapter and rules adopted by the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners;
  • Have an administrative notice of hearing served on the licensing board in the individual’s principal state of business, notwithstanding the individual notice requirements of G.S. 150B-38; and
  • Be subject to personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and disciplinary authority of the Board.

If you have questions regarding the individual practice privilege, please contact Buck Winslow or Alice Grigsby. Information on the practice privilege for CPA firms is available here.

Foreign Accountants

A foreign accountant must meet all requirements for certification (licensure) in effect at the time of application. North Carolina and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan have established mutual findings of substantial equivalence, which allows for certification (licensure) between the jurisdictions. A Chartered Accountant applying for certification (licensure) as a North Carolina CPA, must contact Alice Grigsby to request an Application for Original CPA Licensure via International Qualifications Exam (IQEX).

Privilege License

Pursuant to NCGS 105-41, CPAs licensed by the Board are required to have an annual privilege license as issued by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Please review the Opinion Letter issued by the Department of Revenue for an explanation of the privilege license.