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 3.8%, which is one of 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 15,000 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 16.4% through 2026.

North Dakota at a glance

Population 755,393
Per Capita Income $33,071
Unemployment Rate 2.7%
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

3,490 Employees2016
4,960 Employees2026
North Dakota 29.6% increase
1,397,700 Employees2016
1,537,600 Employees2026
United States 9.1% 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

\ $38,260

Payroll Clerks

\ $41,440

Credit Counselors

\ $54,460

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $64,930

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $63,940

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $60,550

Budget Analysts

\ $68,800

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $93,890

Financial Managers

\ $119,240
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. East Central North Dakota nonmetropolitan area
  2. Bismarck
  3. Far West North Dakota nonmetropolitan area
  4. Grand Forks
  5. West Central North Dakota nonmetropolitan area
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in North Dakota

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1 Eide Bailly Fargo, ND $224
2 Brady, Marts & Associates Grand 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 Requirement N/A
Citizenship Requirement No
Residency Requirement No
Social Security # Requirement Yes
Education Requirement for Licensure Bachelor's degree (150 hours)
Participates in International Programs Yes
Hours in Accounting 24 semester hours
Exam Sitting Requirements 120 hours
Experience Requirements 1 year of accounting experience
Ethics Exam AICPA Ethics Exam

Candidates seeking CPA Exam review programs contact 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

  • 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


2701 S. Columbia Road
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Phone Number

(800) 532-5904

North Dakota Society of CPAs


2701 S. Columbia Rd.
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Phone Number

(701) 775-7100