Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in North Carolina can be a rewarding and challenging career. It requires commitment, hard work, and dedication to the profession. The process of becoming a CPA in North Carolina involves obtaining an education, passing the CPA exam, and completing the necessary experience requirements. This article will provide an overview of what it takes to become a CPA in North Carolina. With the right preparation and guidance, anyone can become a successful CPA in North Carolina.
CPAs in North Carolina
More and more folks are finding the Carolinas ideal for outdoor living and a comfortable way of life. The Tax Foundation reports that North Carolina is one of the top ten states in the nation for its stellar business tax climate. North Carolina is also a top three on CNBC’s yearly Top States for Business ranking. It’s a very attractive state for organizations to incorporate and set up operations. And even better, it means North Carolina is an ideal place to be a CPA.
The “First in Flight” state is home to 13 Fortune 500 companies. This number is very impressive for a relatively small state. Large corporations like Lowe’s, Bank of America, and Nucor, create a steady demand for CPAs in the state. The U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net tracks hiring trends. It estimates North Carolina will experience job growth for accounting and auditing jobs from now until 2030.
These positions will show up across the spectrum of accounting concentrations. Professionals with investments are retiring in North Carolina. They are growing in number at pace with the general demographic trend in the United States. These people will need financial advice and estate planning professionals. Large organizations need auditing and compliance positions filled. Investors utilize tax management advising and structures.
If any of those accounting roles sound up your alley, follow the steps in this article to learn how to become a CPA in North Carolina.
- Getting an Education in North Carolina
- Taking the Uniform CPA Exam in North Carolina
- Gaining the Needed Experience in North Carolina
- Getting your CPA License in North Carolina
Getting an Education in North Carolina
Start by contacting North Carolina colleges and universities. Request information about the accounting programs offered that sound interesting. You need 150 credit hours of college and at least a bachelor’s degree to become a certified public accountant in the state of North Carolina. This is according to the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners.
The standard undergraduate degree in accounting consists of 120 semester hours. Pursuing a post-baccalaureate certificate or accounting master’s represents the best way to get thirty additional credits. Many relevant programs are available entirely online. There are specialized five-year CPA track programs. These degrees feature a blended undergraduate and graduate curriculum designed to give future CPAs the 150 semester hours needed to meet North Carolina’s CPA requirements.
Next, you will want to meet degree and coursework requirements. These are outlined by the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners. The 150-credit hours of college can be earned through bachelor’s and master’s work. The requirements need to meet two primary functions:
The combination of a bachelor’s degree and additional credits earned through a bachelor’s minor or post-bachelor education meets one of three specific curriculum requirements:
Accounting Concentration 1:
- Thirty semester hours of bachelor’s accounting coursework.
- Only six semester hours can be in accounting principles.
- Only three semester hours can be in business law.
Accounting Concentration 2:
- Twenty semester hours of graduate-level accounting coursework.
Accounting Concentration 3:
- An equivalent combo of bachelor’s and master’s level accounting courses.
- Only four semester hours of graduate income tax courses apply to credit in any of the three concentrations.
In addition to the accounting concentration options described above, Students must have twenty-four semester hours of business courses. This amount must include at least three credit hours in eight of the following study fields:
- Computer technology.
- International environment.
- Social science/humanities.
Taking the Uniform CPA Exam In North Carolina
Candidates are eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Examination in North Carolina provided they are:
- Citizens of the United States (or have declared the intent to become citizens).
- Resident aliens or citizens of a foreign jurisdiction that extends relevant exam privileges.
- At least eighteen years of age.
- Of good moral character.
- Meet the educational requirements, including holding a bachelor’s degree that fulfills 120 of the 150 credit hours required for a North Carolina CPA Certificate .
Gaining the Needed Experience in North Carolina
The North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners makes candidates fulfill an experience prerequisite before they become licensed CPAs in North Carolina.
Future CPAs are encouraged to contact their business school’s career center. Business school representatives will help these applicants find qualifying experience opportunities. Applicants can fulfill their experience requirements in one of these ways:
Complete a year of experience in a public accounting practice under the supervision of a licensed CPA.
Complete a year of experience in an accounting practice under the supervision of a licensed CPA.
Complete four years of full-time accounting teaching experience at an accredited college or university.
Teaching courses outside the accounting field does not count towards any experience credit. Unacceptable courses include (yet are not limited to):
- Business law.
- Computer applications.
- Personnel management.
Candidates who teach accounting principles cannot count more than two years of their total four years for the experience credit. At least two years of teaching in accounting must include advanced accounting courses.
Nine semester hours must be taught in at least two of the following areas:
- Intermediate financial accounting.
- Advanced managerial accounting.
- Income tax.
Complete four years of self-employed accounting experience.
Complete four years of non-CPA supervised accounting experience.
Complete an equivalent combination of the five options listed above. This combination must be suitable for North Carolina’s Board.
How can you make sure your hourly calculations qualify to meet the requirements? Remember that one year equals fifty-two weeks of full-time employment. There is a minimum of at least thirty hours a week. Candidates working part-time must record their hours on an Experience Affidavit. There should be a record of the part-time hours worked for each week.
Getting Your CPA License in North Carolina
Once they pass the Uniform CPA Exam, and complete the educational requirements to fulfill the Board’s experience requirement, candidates are ready to apply for their North Carolina CPA Certificate. (Under the NC Board’s definition, “certificate” means “license” in North Carolina).
Applicants must pass an open book exam on the North Carolina Accountancy Statutes and Rules within one year of applying for certification. This includes Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. To satisfy this requirement, applicants may complete an eight CPE (continuing professional education) hour course on the subject before applying for a certificate. The North Carolina Association of CPAs is the organization that offers courses meeting this requirement.
Once You are a CPA in North Carolina, Stay Current Through Continuing Professional Education
CPAs must maintain current and valid CPA certificates in North Carolina. They must comply with the state’s CPE requirements. How is this done? I am glad you asked.
Complete Forty CPE Hours Annually
At least two CPE hours must be in behavioral or regulatory ethics and conduct. Twenty CPE hours can be carried over to the following year. These required CPE hours cannot be used to satisfy the ethics requirement.
Candidates can select from CPE programs included on NASBA’s National Registry of CPE sponsors. The North Carolina Board of CPA Examiners qualifies many fields of study:
- Accounting and Auditing.
- Governmental Accounting.
- Governmental Auditing.
- Personnel/human resources.
- Regulatory ethics.
- Behavioral ethics.
- Personal development.
- Consulting services.
North Carolina CPAs are not required to provide details of every course during the annual license renewal process. The Board audits licensees’ CPE records to check compliance with the Board’s rules. This is in conjunction with the annual license renewal period. If selected for the CPE audit, CPAs must respond to the Board within the specified time frame of 30 days. They must provide certificates of completion for every CPE course claimed for credit.
Becoming a CPA in North Carolina has Many Advantages
CPAs in North Carolina have the chance to do essential work after years of education and hard work. Professional organizations like the North Carolina Association of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) offer excellent resources for practicing accounting professionals. One of these organizations is local, while the other is national. They offer members professional development opportunities and high-quality continuing education. CPAs in North Carolina enjoy unique networking and guidance opportunities when joining supporting organizations.
Future CPAs in North Carolina should consider pursuing a specialization when choosing a master’s degree in accounting. Concentrations allow students to go in-depth and get expert training in business fields that interest them. The possibilities for specialization are many. Imagine fusing your general accounting degree with an emphasis on environmental accounting, finance, auditing, information systems auditing, or forensic accounting.
There has never been a better time to consider becoming a CPA in North Carolina. Consider the education, exam, and experience you need to work in this exciting field. Make sure to research which business schools in the state offer high-quality programs. You can study on campus or find an entirely online program from one of North Carolina’s best business schools.
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