The Board’s Licensing section administers and monitors the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) compliance program. It also processes initial and renewal applications for CPA certification, certificate reclassification (inactive status, reinstatement, and reissuance) applications, interstate exchange forms, & license verification letters. In addition, the Licensing section processes initial and renewal CPA firm registrations and monitors the peer review compliance program.
Contacting the Licensing Staff
Buck Winslow, Manager, (919) 733-1421
Cammie Emery, Specialist, (919) 733-1423 (initial and renewal CPA firm registrations, CPE audit, and peer review compliance)
Alice Grigsby, Specialist (individual CPA licensure & renewal, certificate reclassification applications, interstate exchange forms, and license verification letters)
NC State Board of CPA Examiners
PO Box 12827
Raleigh, NC 27605-2827
Annual CPE Requirement
As a requirement for continued licensure, all active status CPAs must complete a specific number of CPE minutes, including at least 50 minutes of regulatory or behavioral professional ethics and conduct [21 NCAC 08G .0401(e)] by December 31 of each year. There is no CPE requirement for an individual whose CPA license is inactive.
Active status CPAs report their CPE by completing the annual license renewal [21 NCAC 08G .0406]; the Board may audit CPE information submitted by a licensee who applies to renew their CPA license. If a CPA fails to complete the CPE requirement before the end of the previous calendar year but completes it by June 30, the Board may issue a Letter of Warning to the CPA for the first such failure within a rolling five-calendar year period. For the second such failure within a rolling five-calendar year period, the Board may deny renewing the CPA’s certificate for at least 30 days and until the CPA meets the reissuance requirements in 21 NCAC 08J .0106.
To receive credit for a learning activity (an educational endeavor that maintains or improves professional competence),
- the CPA must attend or complete the activity and receive a certificate of completion [08G .0403(a)(1)];
- the learning activity must meet the requirements of the Board’s rules on CPE; and
- the learning activity must increase the professional competency of the CPA.
Each CPA should participate in learning activities that maintain or improve (or both) their professional competence in an accounting area in which they practice, are planning to practice, or in the area of professional ethics. Because of differences in the education and experience of CPAs, a learning activity may contribute to the professional competence of one CPA but not another. Each CPA must exercise judgment in selecting learning activities and choose only those that contribute to that CPA’s professional competence.
The Board does not register CPE sponsors or approve specific CPE activities. CPE sponsors in good standing on NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors comply with 21 NCAC 08G .0403(b).
CPE activities completed in the calendar year that a certificate is approved may be used for that year’s requirement, even if the individual completed the minutes before the Board granted their CPA certificate. An individual may use CPE minutes completed as part of an application for reinstatement or reissuance to meet the annual CPE requirement. If a CPA completes more than the required number of CPE minutes in one calendar year, the extra minutes, not to exceed 1,000 minutes, may be carried forward and treated as minutes earned in the following year. Although a CPA cannot use carry-forward minutes to satisfy the annual ethics requirement, they can carry forward “extra” ethics minutes as general CPE. A licensee may check their carry-forward CPE minutes through the Board’s website. Please contact Cammie Emery if there is a discrepancy in the carry-forward minutes.
A CPE sponsor determines the amount of credit for all self-study activities based on the average completion time or a word count formula. Please direct questions about the recommended minutes to the activity sponsor. The Board does not require licensees to complete QAS-approved self-study activities, nor does it require in-person education.
Credit for a learning activity will not be allowed by the Board unless the activity is
- in one of the fields recognized by NASBA;
- is developed by an individual who has education and work experience in the activity subject matter; and
- uses current, accurate instructional techniques and materials.
Learning activities completed at accredited colleges and universities; formal self-study activities; formal education activities conducted within an association of accounting firms; technical sessions at meetings of national and state accounting organizations; and professional development activities of national and state accounting organizations may qualify as acceptable continuing education.
A CPA may claim CPE credit for teaching a learning activity for CPAs or authoring a publication if the preparation to teach or write increases the CPA’s professional competency and is in one of the NASBA-approved subject areas. The Board does not allow CPE credit for self-directed reading or researching accounting journals, periodicals, or reference guides and manuals; examinations designed to assess the comprehension of reading material; examinations for other designations; or ethics activities for other professions.
Please contact Cammie Emery with questions about the CPE requirement.
21 NCAC 08G .0401(e) requires all active North Carolina CPAs to complete at least 50 minutes of CPE on regulatory or behavioral professional ethics and conduct. The ethics activity may be in a group or self-study format. The Board only accepts an ethics activity (regulatory or behavioral on professional ethics and conduct) offered by a CPE sponsor on the NASBA National CPE Sponsor Registry toward the annual ethics requirement. An ethics activity offered by a CPE sponsor not registered with the NASBA National CPE Sponsor Registry is not compliant with 21 NCAC 08G .0401(e); the Board will not accept it toward the annual ethics requirement. North Carolina-specific ethics courses are not required.
CPE Requirement for Non-Resident CPAs
A non-resident North Carolina CPA may satisfy the annual CPE requirement by completing the requirement in the jurisdiction they are licensed and work or reside. A North Carolina-licensed who lives or works in a jurisdiction that doesn’t have a CPE or ethics requirement must comply with North Carolina’s requirements.
A non-resident North Carolina CPA whose primary office is in North Carolina must complete at least 50 minutes of CPE on regulatory or behavioral professional ethics and conduct. The ethics activity may be in a group-study format or a self-study format. Any ethics CPE activity (regulatory or behavioral on professional ethics and conduct) offered by a CPE sponsor on the NASBA National CPE Sponsor Registry will satisfy the Board’s annual ethics CPE activity requirement. All other non-resident licensees may meet the ethics CPE requirement by completing the ethics requirement in the jurisdiction in which they are licensed as a CPA and work or reside. North Carolina-specific ethics courses are not required.
If there is no ethics CPE requirement in the jurisdiction where the non-resident licensee works or resides, they must complete at least 50 minutes of CPE on regulatory or behavioral professional ethics and conduct. The ethics activity may be in a group or self-study format. Any ethics CPE activity (regulatory or behavioral on professional ethics and conduct) offered by a CPE sponsor on the NASBA National CPE Sponsor Registry will satisfy the Board’s annual ethics CPE activity requirement. An ethics activity offered by a CPE sponsor not registered with the NASBA National CPE Sponsor Registry is not compliant with 21 NCAC 08G .0401(e), and the Board will not accept it.
Annual Audit of CPE Records
In conjunction with the annual license renewal period, the Board audits licensees’ CPE records to ensure compliance with the Board’s rules. If selected for the CPE audit, the licensee must respond to the Board within the specified time frame (usually 30 days) and provide completion certificates for each CPE activity claimed for credit. 21 NCAC 08G .0401(i) requires a CPA to maintain records substantiating the CPE credits claimed for the current year and each of the four prior calendar years.
If a licensee does not comply with the CPE requirement, the Board staff will refer the matter to the Board’s Professional Standards Committee. The Professional Standards Committee may recommend the Board take disciplinary action, such as forfeiture of the licensee’s certificate for one year with a $1,000.00 civil penalty, against the CPA.
Please contact Cammie Emery with questions about the CPE audit.