How to Become a CPA in North Carolina | Unlocking Your Potential

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
WebinarCare offers informative content for educational purposes only, not as a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. We may earn commissions if you use the services we recommend on this site.
WebinarCare is led by Steve Bennett, a seasoned expert in the business world. He's gathered a team that's passionate about giving you reliable advice on everything from starting a business to picking the right tools. We base our tips and guides on real-life experience, ensuring you get straightforward and proven advice. Our goal is to make your business journey smoother and more successful. When you choose WebinarCare, you're choosing a trustworthy guide for all things business.
North Carolina CPA

In North Carolina, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those interested in finance, accounting, or aspiring Limited Liability Company owners. CPAs are in high demand and enjoy lucrative salaries, job security, and growth opportunities. In North Carolina, as in any other state, aspiring CPAs must fulfill certain educational, experience, and examination requirements to become licensed. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to Becoming a CPA in North Carolina and provide valuable tips and resources to help you succeed.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you gain knowledge through thorough research and market study. Before you become a CPA, all the steps in this article must guide you.

What is a CPA?

A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a professional accountant who meets the educational, examination, and experience requirements to become licensed in North Carolina. CPAs are accounting, finance, and taxation experts, providing valuable services to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

In North Carolina, CPAs are licensed and regulated by the North Carolina Board of Accountancy, ensuring that they adhere to strict professional and ethical standards. CPAs in North Carolina offer a range of services, including but not limited to:

  • Tax planning and preparation for individuals, LLCs, and corporations
  • Financial statement preparation and analysis
  • Auditing and assurance services
  • North Carolina Business Consulting
  • Internal control and risk management
  • Forensic accounting and fraud investigation

As a CPA, one can work in various sectors, including public accounting firms, North Carolina Corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or as a self-employed professional. Regardless of the specific role, a CPA has the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise to help clients navigate the complexities of financial management and make informed decisions.

To maintain their CPA license in North Carolina, CPAs must also adhere to continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, ensuring that they stay up-to-date with current accounting standards, tax regulations, and industry best practices. This ensures North Carolina CPAs provide their clients with the highest service and expertise.

To start an accounting firm, you must start an LLC in North Carolina. We reviewed some of the Best LLC Services for you to check out. This includes the top features and affordable prices.

LLC Service

Rating & Pricing

Top Features

Learn More

#1 Recommendation

$0 + State fee

  • Free LLC Formation

  • Legal Support

  • Highly Reputed Company

$299 + State fee

  • Single LLC formation package

  • Flat price for all services

  • Legal consultation

Becoming a CPA in North Carolina is not just about crunching numbers; it’s about providing valuable financial guidance to varied businesses. It’s about how to start an LLC and drive it towards success in this competitive landscape.

WEBINARCARE EDITORIAL TEAM

How to Become a CPA in North Carolina

Suppose you’re considering becoming a CPA in North Carolina. In that case, it’s important to understand the steps and requirements involved in obtaining your license and starting your professional journey. This step-by-step guide will walk you through becoming a CPA.

Step 1: Fulfill The Educational Requirements

The first step to becoming a CPA in North Carolina is to complete the necessary education requirements. The North Carolina Board of Accountancy requires CPA candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Additionally, candidates must complete 150 semester hours of college education, including specific coursework in accounting and business.

Accounting Coursework

In North Carolina, CPA candidates must complete at least 24 semester hours in accounting courses, including:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Taxation
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Governmental or Not-For-Profit Accounting

It is important to note that introductory accounting courses may not be counted towards the 24-hour requirement.

Business Coursework

In addition to accounting courses, CPA candidates in North Carolina must also complete at least 24 semester hours in business-related courses, such as:

  • Business Law
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Statistics

Some states also require specific coursework, such as North Carolina-specific ethics courses, so check with the North Carolina Board of Accountancy for any unique requirements.

Here is the coursework breakdown for becoming a CPA in North Carolina.

Accounting CourseworkBusiness Coursework
Financial AccountingBusiness Law
Managerial AccountingEconomics
AuditingFinance
TaxationManagement
Accounting Information SystemsMarketing
Not-For-Profit AccountingStatistics

Step 2: Pass The Uniform CPA Examination

After completing the educational requirements, the next step to becoming a CPA in North Carolina is to pass the Uniform CPA Examination on the NASBA website.

NASBA

The CPA Exam is a comprehensive, four-part test designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills in accounting and business. The four sections of the CPA Exam are:

  • Auditing and Attestation (AUD)
  • Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
  • Regulation (REG)

Each section of the CPA Exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 99, with a passing score of 75 or higher required for each section. The CPA Exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is offered at Prometric testing centers throughout the United States and, more specifically, in North Carolina.

CPA Exam Application Process

To apply for the CPA Exam in North Carolina, candidates must first create an account with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Once an account is created, candidates can submit their applications and send their official college transcripts to NASBA for evaluation. NASBA will then determine the candidate’s eligibility to sit for the CPA Exam based on their education and will provide an Authorization to Test (ATT) once approved. The required fee for the North Carolina CPA exam application costs $774 (4 exam sections) + $230 application fee.

CPA Exam Scheduling

Once candidates receive their ATT, they can schedule their CPA Exam sections at a Prometric testing center. The CPA Exam is offered during four testing windows throughout the year:

  • January 1 – March 10
  • April 1 – June 10
  • July 1 – September 10
  • October 1 – December 10

It is important to note that candidates must pass all four sections of the CPA Exam within an 18-month window, which begins upon passing the first section. If a candidate does not pass all four sections within this time frame, they will lose credit for the oldest passed section and must retake it.

Step 3: Complete The Experience Requirement

In addition to education and examination requirements, CPA candidates in North Carolina must fulfill an experience requirement to become licensed. The North Carolina Board of Accountancy requires candidates to complete at least one year (or 2,000 hours) of supervised work experience in accounting, auditing, tax, or management advisory services.

A licensed CPA must supervise the work experience with an active license in North Carolina or another jurisdiction with substantially equivalent requirements. It is important to note that the experience requirement must be completed within a timeframe of, at most, 36 months.

It is recommended that CPA candidates keep detailed records of their work experience, including dates, hours, tasks, and supervisor information. This documentation will be required when applying for licensure with the North Carolina Board of Accountancy.

Step 4: Pass The North Carolina Ethics Exam

Candidates must also pass an ethics exam before becoming a licensed CPA in North Carolina. The North Carolina Board of Accountancy may require a specific ethics course and exam, or candidates may be required to take the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam. This self-study course and exam cover ethical reasoning, independence, integrity, objectivity, and professional conduct. Candidates must score 90% or higher on the ethics exam to pass.

Step 5: Apply For Licensure

Once all educational, examination, and experience requirements have been met, CPA candidates can apply for licensure with the North Carolina Board of Accountancy. Candidates must apply, pay $100 initial license fee, $100 annual renewal, and document their education, examination scores, work experience, and ethics exam completion.

After the North Carolina Board of Accountancy reviews and approves the application, candidates will be issued their CPA license and can begin practicing as a Certified Public Accountant in North Carolina.

Recommended: Begin your journey to become a CPA with the first bold step by using Legalzoom’s LLC formation services. When you start an LLC with Legalzoom, you’re not just making a business transaction, you’re carving out a future in the accounting and business industry. Even making your own accounting firm, it is best to hire an LLC services. That’s why we recommend –

LegalZoom ($0 + State Filling Fees)

How Much Does a CPA Make?

The salary of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can vary greatly depending on factors such as years of experience, industry, company size, and job location. The average salary range for a CPA in North Carolina is between $60,000 and $120,000 annually.

Entry-level CPAs with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average salary of around $50,000 to $60,000 per year. As CPAs gain experience, their earning potential typically increases. Those with five to nine years of experience can earn an average salary of $70,000 to $90,000 per year, while CPAs with more than ten years of experience can earn upwards of $100,000 or more annually.

In North Carolina, CPAs working in metropolitan areas or specialized industries, such as finance or technology, may command higher salaries than those in smaller cities or industries with lower demand for accounting services.

Additionally, obtaining specialized certifications, such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), or pursuing advanced degrees can further increase a CPA’s earning potential in accounting and finance.

FAQs

What are the education requirements for becoming a CPA in North Carolina?
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required.
Does North Carolina require a specific degree or major to become a CPA?
No, North Carolina does not specify a particular degree or major for CPA candidates.
Are there any specific courses required to become a CPA in North Carolina?
Yes, the North Carolina Board of Examiners requires applicants to have completed at least 24 semester hours in accounting (including 3 hours in auditing).
How many credit hours are required to sit for the CPA exam in North Carolina?
150 credit hours are required in North Carolina.
Is an internship or work experience required to become a CPA in North Carolina?
No, but experience can help you as you move forward in the profession.
Does North Carolina accept exam scores from other states?
Yes, North Carolina does honor exam scores from other states.
Is North Carolina a two-tier or three-tier state for CPA licensing?
Two-tier.
Can I transfer my CPA licensure to North Carolina if I’m currently licensed in another state?
Yes, if you meet the North Carolina Board of Examiners’ reciprocity requirements.
What is the minimum age requirement to become a CPA in North Carolina?
There is no minimum age requirement in North Carolina.
How much does it cost to sit for the CPA exam in North Carolina?
The cost to sit for all four sections is $769.
What is the passing score for each section of the CPA exam in North Carolina?
A score of 75 is the minimum passing score for each section.
How long do I have to pass all four sections of the CPA exam in North Carolina?
Candidates have 18 months to pass all four sections of the exam.
Is there a residency requirement to apply for a CPA license in North Carolina?
No, there is no residency requirement.
What is considered acceptable continuing education for CPAs practicing in North Carolina?
North Carolina requires 40 hours of CPE per year, with at least 2 hours of ethic-specific CPE per calendar year.
How do I obtain the necessary fingerprint background check for North Carolina’s CPA licensing application?
You can get fingerprinted electronically through the vendor, MorphoTrust, appointed by the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners.
Can I take the CPA exam if I have a criminal history?
It depends on the nature of the criminal offense. Contact the North Carolina State Board of Examiners for more information.
How many times can I retake the CPA exam in North Carolina?
There is no limit to the number of times a candidate can retake the CPA exam in North Carolina, but sections can only be taken once per testing window.
How long does it typically take to become a CPA in North Carolina?
It generally takes 1-2 years to become a licensed CPA in North Carolina.
What is the experience requirement to become a CPA in North Carolina?
Applicants must complete at least 2 years of full-time experience in public accounting or related fields.
Does my experience need to be in North Carolina to qualify for CPA licensure?
No, licensed experience inside or outside the may qualify.
Are there any fees or dues associated with maintaining a CPA license in North Carolina?
Yes, there is an annual renewal fee of $50.
Who should I contact if I have questions about the certification or licensure application process in North Carolina?
Contact the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners at (919) 733-1422.
Are there any specific requirements for international candidates who want to become CPAs in North Carolina?
International candidates must provide a foreign credential evaluation from a US accreditation agency for their college or university degree
How often do I need to renew my CPA license in North Carolina?
Renewals are required every year no later than June 30th.
Can I practice public accounting without a CPA license in North Carolina?
No, in North Carolina you need a CPA license.
Does North Carolina offer a reciprocal license with other states?
Yes, there might have reciprocal licenses if the right qualifications are met.
What are the eligibility requirements for the CPA exam in North Carolina?
You must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with 24-semester hours of accounting courses.
Is our Colorado experience good in North Carolina for the CPA license?
It depends on the type of experience and when it was obtained.
Will my expired/inactive CPA license be valid if I move to North Carolina?
It’s possible, and it would depend on your existing license’s conditions.
What are the education requirements to become a CPA in North Carolina?
To become a CPA in North Carolina, you must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field from an accredited university.
Do I need to have a certain amount of work experience to become a CPA in North Carolina?
Yes, you need at least two years of verified accounting work experience to become a CPA in North Carolina.
Can I take the CPA exam before completing my work experience requirement in North Carolina?
Yes, you can take the CPA exam before completing your work experience requirement in North Carolina, but you cannot be licensed until you have completed the required experience.
How many hours of CPE do I need to complete to maintain my CPA license in North Carolina?
You must complete at least 40 hours of CPE annually to maintain your CPA license in North Carolina.
What is the cost of applying for a CPA license in North Carolina?
The cost to apply for a CPA license in North Carolina is $150.
What is the cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in North Carolina?
The cost to take all four sections of the CPA exam in North Carolina is $743.20.
How long does it take to receive a CPA license in North Carolina?
It generally takes 6-8 weeks to receive a CPA license in North Carolina after passing the exam and completing all requirements.
How many times can I take the CPA exam in North Carolina?
There is no limit to the number of times you can take the CPA exam in North Carolina.
What is the difference between a CPA license and a certification in North Carolina?
A CPA license allows you to offer auditing, accounting, and attestation services, while certification refers to recognition of a specialized skillset in accounting.
How long is the CPA exam valid in North Carolina?
The CPA exam is valid for three years in North Carolina after passing all four sections.
What are the ethical requirements for CPAs in North Carolina?
CPAs in North Carolina must adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct, which outlines ethical principles for the profession.
How often does North Carolina update the CPA exam content?
The content of the CPA exam is updated every year to reflect current accounting standards and practices.
Can I practice public accounting in North Carolina with a CPA license from another state?
Yes, you can practice public accounting in North Carolina with a CPA license from another state through a reciprocity agreement.
What is NASBA and how does it relate to my CPA license in North Carolina?
NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) administers the Uniform CPA Exam and assists in the licensing and professional development of CPAs in North Carolina and across the country.
Do I need to pass all four sections of the CPA exam at once in North Carolina?
No, you can pass the CPA exam sections one at a time in North Carolina.
What is the passing score for the CPA exam in North Carolina?
The passing score for each section of the CPA exam in North Carolina is 75.
How do I obtain my CPA license in North Carolina?
To obtain your CPA license in North Carolina, you must complete the required education and work experience, pass the CPA exam, and apply for the license through the North Carolina Board of Accountancy.
What is a “120 semester hour rule” in relation to becoming a CPA in North Carolina?
The “120 semester hour rule” requires a candidate to have at least 120 semester hours of college credit to be eligible for CPA licensure in North Carolina.
Can I receive my CPA license if I have a criminal record in North Carolina?
Having a criminal record does not automatically prohibit someone from receiving a CPA license in North Carolina, but each case is evaluated on an individual basis.
Is a Master’s degree necessary to become a CPA in North Carolina?
A Master’s degree is not required to become a CPA in North Carolina, but it may be beneficial in meeting the education requirements.
Can I apply for the CPA exam in North Carolina while studying in another state?
Yes, you can apply for the CPA exam in North Carolina while studying in another state.
What are the costs associated with maintaining a CPA license in North Carolina?
The costs associated with maintaining a CPA license in North Carolina include annual renewal fees, CPE fees, and potential penalty fees for any delinquencies.
How often does North Carolina change its rules and regulations regarding the CPA profession?
North Carolina updates its rules and regulations regarding the CPA profession as needed, but typically only makes major changes every few years.
Does North Carolina have any special requirements for CPA candidates designated as “international candidates”?
Yes, international CPA exam candidates must follow additional requirements, such as submitting TOEFL scores and obtaining an evaluation of their academic credentials.
Do I need to specialize in a certain area to become a CPA in North Carolina?
No, becoming a CPA in North Carolina does not require specialization in a certain area.
What is the first step to take when pursuing a CPA license in North Carolina?
The first step to become a CPA in North Carolina is to meet the educational requirements for CPA licensure and then apply to take the CPA exam.

Also Read

How to Save Money While Starting a Becoming Cpa in North Carolina

First and foremost, grasping the importance of budgeting is crucial. Creating a comprehensive budget to track and control expenses is an excellent starting point. By evaluating your income and prioritizing your expenditures, you will gain a better understanding of where your money is going. Ensure that you have a clear outline of your essential expenses, such as rent, utilities, and transportation costs, and try to minimize discretionary spending wherever possible.

In your journey to become a CPA, education plays a pivotal role. Tuition fees can be a significant burden, but there are ways to mitigate these costs. Look into community colleges and online courses, which often offer more affordable options for foundation classes. By completing prerequisite courses at cost-effective institutions, you can significantly reduce your overall education expenses.

Furthermore, textbooks can add up to a significant amount over time. Instead of purchasing new textbooks directly from the campus bookstore, consider checking online marketplaces or book rental services. These alternatives provide cost-efficient options that can help you save considerable sums of money, especially if you plan to resell the books once you have completed the courses.

While education is vital, obtaining practical experience is equally important for budding CPAs. Pursuing internships or part-time positions at accounting firms can provide invaluable professional exposure. However, unpaid internships couldn’t be a feasible option for everyone. Thus, exploring paid internship opportunities should be a priority. Seek out firms that offer competitive stipends or consider part-time jobs at local accounting firms while continuing your education. Such positions will provide you with a steady income stream, while also giving you invaluable insights into the world of accounting.

Additionally, networking is often overlooked but essential when beginning a career as a CPA. Attend networking events or join professional organizations related to your field. Building relationships with experienced professionals can open doors, present lucrative job offers, and possibly grant you access to scholarships or funding opportunities.

North Carolina specifically offers unique resources to aspiring CPAs. Research state-specific scholarships, grants, or loan forgiveness programs that could lighten your financial load. Utilize these programs to your advantage, as they are specifically tailored to help students from various backgrounds pursue successful accounting careers.

Lastly, managing personal finances requires a proactive approach. As an aspiring CPA starting out, it may be challenging to save substantial amounts of money. However, implementing small changes can still make a notable impact. Cut unnecessary expenses by preparing home-cooked meals instead of eating out, minimize entertainment expenses, and consider sharing housing costs with roommates. These seemingly small adjustments, when practiced consistently, will save you money in the long run.

In conclusion, becoming a CPA and starting a career in North Carolina can be an expensive endeavor. However, by adopting certain strategies and making informed financial decisions, aspiring CPAs can significantly reduce the financial burden. Implementing tactics such as budgeting effectively, seeking out affordable education options, pursuing paid internships, engaging in networking opportunities, and utilizing state-specific resources are ways to save money while embarking on this journey. Remember, implementing small changes today will contribute to your financial stability tomorrow.

Conclusion

Becoming a CPA in North Carolina requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are worthwhile. With a strong foundation in education and experience, as well as successful completion of the CPA Exam and ethics exam, aspiring CPAs can enjoy a fulfilling and lucrative career in accounting and finance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a licensed CPA in North Carolina and making a significant impact in finance.

Leave a Comment