Introduction

While it’s one of the least populous U.S. states with one of the smallest economies, North Dakota has experienced major growth in the 21st century, with one of the fastest growing GDPs in the nation. From 2006-2016, the state experienced real GDP growth of 5.5%—more than five times the national average. North Dakota also boasts an unemployment rate of just 2.4%, which is the lowest in the country. Home to a diverse economy that encompasses agriculture, food processing, petroleum, and technology, North Dakota has become increasingly desirable for CPAs, employing more than 3,800 of them in total—a huge number for a state so small. The Bureau of Labor Statics projects accounting jobs to keep pace with North Dakota’s booming economy, growing 15.5% through 2024.

North Dakota at a glance

Population 757,952
Per Capita Income $33,071
Unemployment Rate 2.2%
Fortune 500 Companies 0
Licensed CPA Firms 157

Accounting Programs in North Dakota

Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in North Dakota, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.

Accounting Salaries and Employment

Employment opportunities for accountants and auditors in North Dakota is expected to grow a whopping 19.2% between 2012 and 2022, leading to more than 4,500 potential positions. CPAs in this state can also look forward to earning more than their peers in other states, with the average annual wage ranging from $36,580 to $110,370, varying based on degree level, licensure and specialty.

Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks are major areas for accountants seeking employment. Firms such as Eide Bailly located in Fargo earned $170.50 million in revenue last year.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

3,800 Employees2012
4,530 Employees2022
North Dakota 16.1% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

North Dakota Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $36,580
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $39,130
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $43,170
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $57,890
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $65,750
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $56,230
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $63,200
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $0
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $110,370
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $104,810
$126,660
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Fargo, ND
    $56,840
  2. Bismarck, ND
    $56,900
  3. Grand Forks, ND
    $56,320
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in North Dakota

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Eide BaillyFargo, ND$224
2Brady, Marts & AssociatesGrand Forks, ND$30

Accounting Today named these firms among the highest performing in a multi-state region. Rankings as based upon reported net revenues from 2014. Source: Accounting Today, "Top 100 Firms and Regional Leaders"

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in North Dakota

CPAs in North Dakota must sit for the uniform CPA exam prepared by the AICPA as well as meet the eligibility requirements listed below. All four sections of the exam may be taken individually in any order, and applicants will retain the credit for any sections they passed for 18 months after their initial test date – an applicant must therefore pass all four sections within a rolling 18 month period.

Any candidates who have passed all parts of the CPA exam elsewhere may transfer their scores. Similarly, CPAs holding a certificate from another state may receive reciprocal licensure.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in North Dakota

Candidates seeking eligibility for CPA licensure in North Dakota must fulfill the qualifications listed below:

  • Be of good moral character
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Examination
  • Complete Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course
  • Complete 1 year of experience meeting relevant conditions
  • Provide accounting credentials
  • Pay applicable fees
  • Meet the 150 hour educational requirement or be within 6 months of doing so
  • Complete at least 24 credit hours of accounting courses
  • Complete at least 24 credit hours of business courses
  • Participate in international programs
Age RequirementNone
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting24 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting courses (principles of accounting or equivalent courses do not count toward the required accounting)
Exam Sitting RequirementsMust be within six months of completing education requirement
Experience Requirements1 year of experience gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public accounting.
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure

Candidates seeking CPA Exam review programs contact mail@ndcpas.org or 701-775-7100. The Society offers an exam preparation course, with a discount for members.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in North Dakota

Total:$952
  • Application Fee $120
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $208

Special Fees: Other fees may apply, such as a re-examination fee, registration fee and initial licensure fee.

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Board of Accountancy is an independent body responsible for reviewing the entrance qualifications of CPA candidates, for registering firms and CPAs, for maintaining and monitoring continuing education and addressing consumer concerns.

Students who are planning to become CPAs and those CPAs who are licensed may join the North Dakota Society of CPAs, which is a statewide association of 1,800 members. The Society’s goal is help its members providing advocacy, resources, involving members and equipping them with tools necessary to better serve the public and their clients.

North Dakota State Board of Accountancy

Address

2701 S. Columbia Road
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Phone Number

(800) 532-5904

North Dakota Society of CPAs

Address

2701 S. Columbia Rd.
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Phone Number

(701) 775-7100

Email

pr@ndscpa.org