Accounting and Finance

Accounting and Finance

For business owners, it's important to invest in a strong financial team - accountants, bookkeepers, financial analysts, and controllers - because it can mean the difference between the company succeeding or failing. As a result, industry leaders want skilled and service-oriented accounting and finance professionals on staff. Whether you're seeking a two-year degree to get started in this rewarding and high-earning field or to earn the 30 accounting hours needed to meet the educational requirements of the North Carolina Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (CPA), let Central Piedmont be your gateway to achieving your academic and career goals.

What You Will Learn

Central Piedmont will provide you with the training you need to meet the needs of today's competitive and dynamic global business environment. With an Associate in Applied Science degree in accounting and finance, you will learn to assemble, analyze, process, and communicate essential information about financial operations. Our courses not only focus on accounting and finance, but also ethics, business law, computer applications, financial planning, insurance, marketing, real estate, selling, and taxation, giving you a comprehensive understanding of the industry you want to enter.

With the guidance of our quality instructors, you will:

  • develop communications, computer applications, financial analysis, and critical thinking skills
  • learn to create and maintain an accounting system, applying U.S. generally-accepted accounting principles
  • prepare basic personal and business income tax forms.

Upon completion, you will be prepared to secure an entry-level accountant, financial analyst, bookkeeper, controller or another related position with a variety of organizations, including accounting firms, small businesses, manufacturing firms, banks, hospitals, school systems, and governmental agencies.

Why Choose Central Piedmont

The accounting and finance program at Central Piedmont has been ranked third among all community college programs in the nation. We intend to become the national leader in workforce development for accounting, and it is our mission to encourage, engage, and empower accounting students through innovative programs, partnerships with local business employers, relationships with alumni, excellence in teaching, and career skill building. 

As a Central Piedmont accounting and finance student, you will:

  • learn from our knowledgeable faculty, most of whom are certified public accountants (CPAs), who have experience working in both corporate and governmental organizations
  • enjoy the flexibility of our class schedules, smaller class sizes, personalized attention from our instructors, and less expensive tuition
  • have the opportunity to learn from experienced guest speakers who will share important life lessons to help you on your academic journey

In addition, Central Piedmont offers professional accounting certificates to provide you with the 30 hours of accounting courses within the 150 semester hours of education required to sit for the North Carolina CPA exam. These certificates may be counted toward the college's Associate in Applied Science degree.

Many of our students choose to work toward becoming a CPA because according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best accounting and finance job prospects are available to individuals who have this professional designation. In fact, a recent Institute of Management Accountants survey found certified public accountants earn 24 percent more annually, have higher starting salaries, greater job security and flexibility.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

The Details

  • Program Options

    Choose from:

    • Associate in Applied Science in accounting and finance - accounting
    • Associate in Applied Science in accounting and finance - finance
    • several certificates in accounting and/or tax; certificates may be applied toward the associate degree

    The college catalog details the accounting and finance program options currently available at Central Piedmont as well as program eligibility and course requirements.

    Associate in Applied Science

    Completing the accounting and finance degree may prepare you to transfer to a four-year institution. Always contact the institution to which you wish to transfer to determine which credits, if any, from the Central Piedmont Associate in Applied Science in accounting and finance may transfer. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Professional Accounting Certificates

    Central Piedmont also offers professional accounting certificates to provide you with 30 hours of the accounting courses within the 150 semester hours of education required as part of the educational requirement for candidates to sit for the North Carolina CPA exam; these certificates may be counted toward the Associate in Applied Science.

    CPA Exam Requirements

    Please note that completing the Associate in Applied Science or the professional accounting certificates alone will not qualify you to sit for the CPA exam. In general, the educational requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam as a North Carolina candidate is a bachelor’s degree (with at least 120 hours) including (or supplemented by) at least 30 semester hours in accounting.

    The Associate in Applied Science courses do meet the requirements of the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners. However, no more than six semester hours of accounting principles and no more than three semester hours of business law will be counted toward the 30-hour requirement. Please contact the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners for information about the requirements to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam as a North Carolina candidate and to be licensed as a North Carolina CPA.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer accounting and finance course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Accounting and Finance Program Requirements

    • entrance exams are not required to attend Central Piedmont, but minimum scores on placement exams are prerequisites to take certain business courses
    • a minimum score on the mathematics placement exam is a prerequisite for the MAT (mathematics) course required in the A.A.S. degree program
    • a minimum score on the English placement exam is a prerequisite for all of the ENG (English) courses required in the A.A.S. degree programs
    • a minimum score on the algebra test and the reading comprehension test are required for ACC 120. If you do not achieve the minimum scores, you will be required to complete certain developmental courses before being allowed to register for the curriculum courses in the area of study for which you did not score high enough
    • you should make an appointment to take these placement exams as soon as possible after submitting your Central Piedmont application
    • you will not be permitted to register for the required MAT and ENG curriculum courses unless you have achieved the minimum score on the appropriate placement exam or have successfully completed the appropriate advancement studies course(s)
    • if you have completed relevant coursework at another institution, you may be able to put that credit toward your business degree.
    • recommended Associate in Applied Science in accounting and finance degree plan (PDF)
    • recommended professional accounting certificates plan (PDF)

    If you attend full-time (1416 credit hours per semester plus one or two summer terms), you should be able to complete the associate degree in two years. You may also take classes part-time, but it will take longer to complete the degree. For detailed information on accounting and finance course and program requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog.

  • Locations

    Please note that while some required courses are offered at other campuses, the majority of the program must be completed at Central Campus. Course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm where courses are available using Schedule Builder.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab and Online)
    • Online

    Most classes are offered in evenings, but please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. You may need to take a few weekend classes (not all courses are available on weekends). Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm course delivery methods using Schedule Builder

  • Accounting and Finance Careers

    Completing an accounting and finance degree at Central Piedmont will prepare you for entry-level accountant, financial analyst, bookkeeper, controller and other related positions in many types of organizations, including accounting firms, small businesses, manufacturing firms, banks, hospitals, school systems, and governmental agencies.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best accounting and finance job prospects are available to professionals who have a college degree or certification, especially a CPA. This high demand equates to higher starting salaries, job security, and flexibility. Central Piedmont offers professional accounting certificates to provide you with 30 hours of the accounting courses within the 150 semester hours of education required as part of the educational requirement for candidates to sit for the North Carolina CPA exam. According to a recent survey by the Institute of Management Accountants, certified accountants earn 24 percent more than those who are not. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach for detailed accounting and finance career opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

    Gainful Employment

    Federal education regulations (34 CFR668.6(b)(2)) require colleges to provide specific information about programs that prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. 

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Accounting and Finance Scholarships

    In particular, students who plan to enroll in an accounting and finance degree program should apply for the following Central Piedmont scholarships:

  • Resources

    Accounting Tutoring (Central Campus)

    Visit the Academic Learning Center for information on accounting tutoring.

    Join Our LinkedIn Page

    Leadership Opportunities

    My Enactus QC

    My Enactus QC is a student organization which operates under the Division of Business and Accounting. It is designed as a natural extension of a student’s academic activities for a more enhanced learning process. Participating students approach their education with a greater sense of ownership and purpose. Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. An annual series of regional and national competitions provides a forum for teams to showcase the impact of their outreach efforts and to be evaluated by executives serving as judges. National champion teams advance to the prestigious Enactus World Cup to experience excellence in competition, collaboration and celebration. My Enactus QC is the name of the Enactus club at Central Piedmont Community College. Our purpose is to enable progress through entrepreneurial action. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of My Enactus QC create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. The experience not only transforms lives, it helps students develop the kind of talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in an ever-more complicated and challenging world. We benefit students through: 

    • helping students develop their entrepreneurial talent and perspective
    • providing employer contacts and serving as a resume builder
    • extending beyond the classroom, helping students make a difference in their communities
    • global mindset

    College and university ENACTUS chapters have an opportunity to compete nationally in competitions that showcase how students are transforming lives and enabling progress through entrepreneurial action. Competitions are dramatic, energy-filled events where teams showcase the collective impact of their community outreach efforts. Students present their projects and are evaluated by business leaders serving as judges who rank them on how successful they were at using business concepts to improve the quality of life and standard of living for those in need. The winners of these national competitions are then invited to compete at the prestigious Enactus World Cup. In the United States, the competition process begins with the National Exposition competition held in St. Louis, Missouri on May 15-17, 2016. After two days of activities progressing through the opening, semi-final and final rounds of competitions, one team will be named the Enactus United States National Champion and be invited to represent the United States at the Enactus World Cup. Interested students should complete an  Interested students should complete a MyEnactus application form (PDF) and return to Mike Grier, faculty advisor, at mike.grier@cpcc.edu.

    Walmart Women's Economic Empowerment Partner Project with The Sycamore Project

    The Sycamore Project is operated by a woman who while extensively trained in the arts has struggled with fundamental and key business concepts. This has so far led to an inability to gain secure footing for the organization of which she is in charge to ensure that the excellent work that is done in the community continues. The successful empowerment of this entrepreneur will have a significant ripple effect in enhancing the quality of life of people she serves in the community.

    Project Concept

    The Sycamore Project provides dance, theater and film arts education primarily to youth in underserved communities and adults. The organization, which is headed by an arts trained female, has encountered difficulty with sustainability. While very well versed in the arts it is felt that the lack of sustainability is due to a lack of business and organizational skills. The project concept is to make the Sycamore Project sustainable.

    Project Execution

    The objective will be to infuse basic business and economic concepts and practices into the organization in an effort to re-direct it from one that operates from project to project to an ongoing operational design.

    The Harvey Cummings Project

    Harvey Cummings has compiled and employed a band (company) to run business as The Harvey Cummings Project. He has booked numerous events and related contracts since 2007. Harvey, a young entrepreneur has been stifled by an inability to engage sound managerial and accounting processes to ensure that his abilities and contracted employees can accomplish more with their company in the local and national music industry. Harvey Cummings II teaches free classes for students at local CMS schools and volunteers with his band by providing entertainment at community events. Successfully empowering this small business, The Harvey Cummings Project, will significantly enhance the lives of the company and all of the patrons and community members it serves. There will be nothing that prevents us from following up with our contact for this project as needed.

    Project Concept

    The Harvey Project provides live music of multiple genres for corporate events such as for the Carolina Panthers, the Congressional Black Congress and NASCAR to name a few. The band volunteers their time and talent to youth that would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn music, and in underserved communities. The organization is run by a classically trained with a dual degree yet has encountered difficulty with sustaining the business skills required for longevity in the industry. The project concept is to make the Harvey Cummings Project sustainable by implementing sound business and accounting practices and marketing efforts.

    Project Execution will include the following anticipated measurable outcomes:

    • A consistent established process for documenting accounting and contracts
    • Established processes to document media and marketing
    • A calendar of events routinely updated and placed with various media outlets
    Business and Accounting Student Leadership Series
    • this free event open to all Central Piedmont students is an immersive experience in various business and accounting discipline from which you will come away with a greater understanding of how the discipline relates to you personally and professionally. The series culminates with Business and Accounting Week.

    Business and Accounting Week

    Central Piedmont's Business and Accounting Week is an annual event, typically held each spring, that provides a deep-dive into hot topics in the business world that allows you to learn from and network with experienced industry professionals.

    Mock Interviews

    Benefit from interviews and feedback from industry professionals who are Central Piedmont business and accounting advisory board members.

  • Related Programs

    • Business Administration
    • Office Administration
    • Paralegal Technology
  • Admitted Students: Find Your Faculty Advisor

    Students at Central Piedmont have a faculty advisor for each program of study offered. Find your faculty advisor based on your last name: