Contacting the Licensing Staff
Buck Winslow, Manager, (919) 733-1421
Alice Grigsby, Specialist, (919) 733-1422 (original, reciprocal, & temporary CPA licensure applications, and changes of status)
Cammie Emery, Assistant, (919) 733-1423 (initial and renewal CPA firm registrations, CPE, and peer review)
NC State Board of CPA Examiners
PO Box 12827
Raleigh, NC 27605-2827
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. A person applying for a certificate of qualification as a CPA must file an application and experience affidavit(s) with the 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. Three (3) certificates of good moral character signed by properly licensed CPAs must be submitted with the application for a CPA certificate.
Requirements for Certification
Uniform CPA Examination
An applicant for licensure must have successfully passed the Uniform CPA 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 apply for the transfer of Exam credit from the jurisdiction that holds his or her Exam grades and submit an Interstate Exchange Form completed by the jurisdiction in which the applicant sat for the Uniform CPA Exam.
NCGS 93-12(5)a sets forth the education required of candidates applying for CPA certification. 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 three semester hour course from at least eight of the following 10 fields of study:
- computer technology;
- humanities/social science;
- international environment;
- management; or
Anyone applying for CPA certification 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 raised school seal and signature of college registrar) which shows the completion of education requirement pursuant to NCGS 93-12(5), 21 NCAC 08A .0309, and 21 NCAC 08F .0410.
The Board will not issue a certificate 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 licensure. NCGS 93-12 defines work experience as:
- one (1) year experience in the public practice of accountancy under the direct supervision of a properly licensed CPA; or
- one (1) year experience in the field of accountancy under the direct supervision of a properly licensed CPA; or
- four (4) years experience in the field of accounting; or
- four (4) years experience teaching accounting in an accredited college or university[21 NCAC 08F .0409]; or
- four (4) years experience self-employed in accounting; or
- any combination of such experience determined by the Board to be substantially equivalent to the above.
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 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 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. 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.”
Reciprocal Certificates and Temporary Permits to Practice
The Board may issue a reciprocal CPA certificate to a properly licensed CPA from another jurisdiction who now resides in North Carolina or whose principal place of business is in North Carolina and who meets the statutory requirements for licensure. Please note that reciprocal certification is based on the individual’s licensure to practice public accountancy in another jurisdiction. If an individual applies for and receives a reciprocal certificate for North Carolina, he or she is not required to maintain his or her out-of-state license as part of this State’s CPA licensing requirements. 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 temporary permit and a reciprocal certificate. 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 number and that the applicant is in good standing. The applicant must provide evidence of his or her grades on the Uniform CPA Examination through an affidavit signed by an official of a CPA licensing board that can verify the grades.
Upon approval of a temporary permit, the Board will issue the applicant a statement confirming that the CPA is in good standing in the jurisdiction issuing the CPA’s certificate and is entitled temporarily to use the CPA title and engage in the public practice of accountancy in North Carolina for a stated period. The stated period will expire 120 days after issue or upon issuance of the individual’s reciprocal certificate, whichever comes first. The Board grants temporary permits to practice only to applicants for reciprocal certificates pending their qualification under 21 NCAC 08H .0101.
If you have questions regarding reciprocal certificates or temporary permits to practice, please contact Alice Grigsby.
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 North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners, 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 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 Uniform CPA Examination; 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 North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners.
A foreign accountant must meet all requirements for certification 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 licensure between the jurisdictions.