Site icon North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners


The North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Examiners is an independent, self-funded, occupational licensing board responsible for protecting the public through regulation of the CPA title in North Carolina.

Use of CPA Title

The North Carolina General Assembly, through the North Carolina Accountancy Act, has authorized the Board to regulate the use of the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) title. Non-CPAs are allowed to practice accountancy in North Carolina as unregulated accountants. Individuals who live in North Carolina and are licensed by another jurisdiction, but not by this Board, can  use “CPA” or “certified public accountant” on a résumé  if they include the jurisdiction that granted the CPA certificate/license and the status of the certificate/license if it is on any status other than active (inactive, retired, lapsed, etc.).


Selecting a CPA

Because the Board cannot endorse or recommend a specific CPA or CPA firm to consumers, word-of-mouth referrals from individuals who have used the services of a CPA  or CPA firm may be a good way to select a CPA. However, there are certain steps you should take when selecting a CPA to perform services for you or your company or organization.

After selecting a CPA or CPA firm to perform services for you, but before any work is done by the CPA or CPA firm, make sure you receive a written engagement letter. The letter should, at a minimum, detail the work to be performed, name the specific employee(s) who will be performing the work (if the work is outsourced, confirming that all private and personal information is secure), and the cost of the services.

Public Record Information

To fulfill the requirements of NCGS 93B-3, the Board makes the public record portions of its database (including public disciplinary action) available through this website. If an individual or firm has any public disciplinary action on file with the Board, a “Public Documents” link will display on the Details page of the record. The information obtained from the database is not an official endorsement of any licensee or CPA firm.

Register of Active North Carolina CPAs

A Register of Active North Carolina CPAs is available for purchase. The Register is $75 (payable by check) and is provided as an Excel document. The Register does not include individuals on inactive, retired, suspended, revoked, or surrendered status.

The Register contains the following public record information:

In the context of the Board’s records, a licensee’s email address is not a public record and is not part of the Register. To purchase a Register, please complete this form and send it and payment to Communications Officer, State Board of CPA Examiners, PO Box 12827, Raleigh, NC 27605.

Filing a Complaint

If you have reason to believe that a CPA or CPA firm has violated  a statute or rule governing CPAs, you may file a complaint with the Board. The Board does not intervene in private disputes about the fees a CPA charges, and does not have disciplinary authority over non-licensees such as accountants. Please use the Board’s database to determine if the person or business is licensed by, or registered with, the Board. The NC Dept. of Justice may be able to assist you with a complaint against non-licensees. If you have documentation regarding a non-licensee using the title “CPA” or “certified public accountant,” please forward that information to the Board so that the Board can take actions to prevent future use of that title.

You may file a complaint with the Board online or by mail on the Record of Complaint form. The complaint must center on a violation of North Carolina General Statute 93 or the North Carolina Administrative Code, Title 21, including the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. The Record of Complaint must provide a specific and detailed summary of the complaint, including all evidence in support of the allegations. Please redact all social security numbers, bank account numbers, etc., from supporting documentation.

Once a complaint is filed with the Board, it cannot be withdrawn; the Board retains the authority and discretion to determine whether the matter may proceed. If the complaint does not center on a violation that is within the Board’s jurisdiction, the Board may close the case without taking further action. In matters where there is a criminal or civil proceeding regarding the same issues, the Board will generally wait until the criminal or civil matter has been resolved before making a final determination regarding the complaint.

The Staff Attorney and the Professional Standards staff review all  complaints and evidence to determine if the allegations are within the Board’s jurisdiction. If the allegations contain issues that are arguably within the Board’s jurisdiction, the Board staff sends the Respondent (the person or firm against whom the complaint was filed) an initial letter and a copy of the entire complaint and asks the Respondent to respond to the allegations. The Board staff will  review the Respondent’s reply, and may send it to the Complainant (the person who filed the complaint) for their response. The investigative process may require additional information or evidence from the Complainant, the Respondent, and any related parties.

Although the Complainant and Respondent may communicate with each other to resolve the issue (such as the return of client records), the Board’s investigation will continue until the Board determines that its disciplinary interests have been resolved. The Complainant and Respondent cannot discuss the case (either directly or hypothetically) with any Board member; improper communication with Board members could disqualify those Members from hearing the case.

After the Staff Attorney and the Professional Standards staff have gathered information, they refer the case to the Board’s Professional Standards Committee. The  Committee (three Board members appointed by the Board president) reviews the complaint and may recommend that additional information be gathered, recommend to the full Board that the case be closed, or recommend that the case continue forward. The Committee does not determine guilt or innocence; it simply reviews the complaint to determine whether the allegations, if supported by competent evidence, would warrant a contested case proceeding. After receiving the Committee’s guidance, the Staff Attorney and the Professional Standards staff may approach the Respondent to negotiate a Consent Order. The majority of disciplinary actions are achieved by Consent Order because this allows the Board more options in achieving a balanced resolution. If a settlement cannot be reached, a Public Hearing will be held,  and the Board may issue an Order. The Respondent has the option of appealing the Order to Superior Court.

Practice of Accounting via the Internet

Although purchasing public accounting services on the Internet is a convenient way to access a broad range of services, it is important to do your research before selecting a practitioner. Because Internet practice involves no face-to-face client contact, it is easy for an unqualified person to masquerade as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). In addition, a practitioner offering public accounting services on the Internet may be physically located anywhere in the world.

The following information should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to purchase public accounting services on the Internet. Instead, these tips are offered as consumer protection suggestions for consumers contemplating the selection of an Internet practitioner.

Resources for Consumers

NC State Board of CPA Examiners CPA and CPA firm database:  Public record information, including disciplinary action, on the Board’s licensees

NASBA’s CPAverify: Licensing information on about 97% of licensees in the US and its territories (helpful if individual/firm is not licensed in NC)

AICPA’s Public Peer Review Database:  a list of public accounting firms and their enrollment status in the AICPA Peer Review Program (PRP)

Excerpts from North Carolina General Statutes: statutes that are applicable to the NC State Board of CPA Examiners, its applicants, and licensees

North Carolina Administrative Code: rules that are applicable to the NC State Board of CPA Examiners, its applicants, and licensees

NC State Board of CPA Examiners online complaint form and Record of Complaint form

NC Department of Justice Consumer Complaint Center:  Assistance filing a complaint against a non-CPA accountant

Excerpt from the AICPA’s Guide to Financial Services Your CPA Can Provide:  an explanation of four types of financial services 1) financial statement preparation; 2) compilation; 3) review; and 4) audit

IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications:  searchable directory that provides a list of preparers  who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion

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