How to Become a CPA in North and South Dakota

For people who are hoping to get their CPA license in North Dakota or South Dakota, the economic realities and biggest industries are important to know. For North Dakota, as is true for many states, the largest industry is finance including insurance, real estate, and rental revenue. The largest contributor to growth for the state domestic product was mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. There is a lot of crude oil extraction from the Dakotas, and there is a lot of controversy about the act of drilling for more in the area.

For South Dakota, they had the same largest industry in finance but claimed educational services, health care, and social assistance for their largest contributor to growth. These are the reasons it is great to earn a degree that will allow you to earn your CPA license. The company with the largest earnings in South Dakota is Poet, LLC in Sioux Falls, SD. The largest company on the North Dakota side is MDU Resources Group located in Bismarck.

The Dakotas is a name people use to refer to North Dakota and South Dakota collectively. Together they were called the Dakotas when they were the Dakota territory prior to achieving individual statehood, and the term still references the climate, culture, food, and traditions that the states share. The two states are in the high plains section of the Midwest. Wounded Knee is a historical marker in the region, and currently, the Dakotas is home to the Standing Rock Reservation. North Dakota’s capital city is Bismarck, and the largest city in the state is Fargo, and Sioux Falls is South Dakota’s biggest city. South Dakota’s state capital is Pierre. South Dakota is known for being the home of Mount Rushmore, as noted on their state flag. Pictured is also a sun surrounding the state seal on a light blue background. North Dakota’s flag looks very similar to the unit banner that the state troops carried in the Philippine-American War.

Accounting Programs in the Dakotas

The colleges and universities that offer accounting programs in the South Dakota are
Dickinson State University, University of Jamestown, Mayville State University, Valley City State University, Rasmussen College, Minot State University, University of Mary Bismarck, North Dakota State University, and the University of North Dakota. These programs offer associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. For South Dakota, the universities that offer accounting are Augustana College, Dakota Wesleyan University, Mount Marty College, Northern State University, Presentation College, University of Sioux Falls, National American University, Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, National American University, and South Dakota State University. According to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the average CPA Exam first time pass rate among bachelor’s degree holders for North Dakota is 62.1%. The same for South Dakota is 55.9%. For such rigorous accounting and business programming, graduating from them shows they have what it takes for a supercharged accounting career. 

Becoming a CPA in the Dakotas

The education requirements in North and South Dakota to become licensed as a CPA are not unlike most other states. For South Dakota, students must complete 24 semester hours in undergraduate or graduate accounting. These hours must include elementary principles of accounting or an equivalent course, and one course each in taxation, intermediate or advanced accounting, cost accounting and auditing. To become licensed in South Dakota the total education required is 150 hours; 120 for the bachelor’s degree which is a must, and another 30 in advanced accounting coursework. Within 100 days of completing the education requirements in South Dakota, the CPA exam must be completed.

To be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam, applicants in South Dakota do not need to have a social security number, but they must have one to eventually become licensed. Unlike most states, South Dakota does not require a minimum age, citizenship, or residency in the state to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. After Education and taking the Exam, CPA license applicants are required to gain experience in the profession prior to licensure. The experience requirement in South Dakota is one year of experience that can be achieved through employment in public practice, government, academia or industry. This experience must be supervised by a licensed CPA, and be performed on a full-time basis. A little more than a quarter of this year or 2,000 hours must be in the area of attest services, or a combination of auditing, compilation or review. The last step before licensure is that applicants must pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam.

The education requirements in North Dakota to become licensed include students completing 24 semester hours in undergraduate or graduate accounting also. In the North of the Dakota twins, the course principles of accounting, or an equivalent introductory accounting course does not count toward these 24 hours. There is no particular age requirement, and the applicant does not need to be a citizen or have established residency in ND. A social security number is required to sit for the CPA Exam and to become a North Dakota CPA. The exam must be completed within six months of completing the education requirement. Upon passing the Uniform CPA Exam year of experience gained earned through an internship or while apprenticing under a licensed CPA. It can also be earned through employment in government, industry, academia or public accounting. LIke in many other states, applicants must pass the Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure given by the AICPA.

North and South Dakota Post Licensure Requirements for CPAs

In North Dakota and South Dakota, CPAs must keep up with the changing laws and financial times by completing Continuing Professional Education credits. These can be in the form of workshops at conferences specifically put on by accounting boards or professional organizations, but there are other ways to earn the required number of hours in the Dakotas as well. Licensed accountants must earn 120 hours per 3 years, with a minimum of 20 per year, if they are working in public practice. If the licensee is not in public practice they must earn 60 hours per 3 years, and 16 of those hours must come each year.

CPAs can also receive CPE for their part in instructing a university course in accounting, working in government accounting, and preparing and teaching workshops. Up to 6 hours of ethics are required during the three year period, and these courses must be approved by NASBA. Credit for teaching is limited to twice the amount of credit people who take the course will receive. Credit for preparation and instruction of a college or university course is allowed and is also limited to twice the credit students and participants receive. CPAs who are attending university or college can earn CPE credit, and the amount is calculated at the rate of fifteen hours per semester hour of earned in the university setting. If you were taking two graduate level accounting courses, as in an online postgraduate certificate for example, and they were worth 3 semester hours each, you would be able to claim (6 hours x 15 hours) 90 of your 120 hours for the three years.

In South Dakota, a licensed CPA who is employed by a college or university may not claim more than 60 hours of CPE credit during a reporting period for their role in instructing college/university courses. The South Dakota Board of Accountancy may approve credit for the writing of published articles, books, or CPE programs to include credit for research and writing time. The article, book, or CPE program must be formally reviewed by an independent party. This type of credit is limited to fifty (50%) percent of the hours required in a reporting period.