The below information is summarized from the NC State Board of Education Policy Manual on Public Schools Finance Officers. For the full policy, please visit https://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/policy-manual/finance-officers
Public School Finance Officer Qualifications:
After June 30, 1986, the minimum qualifications of candidates for finance officer are three years of professional experience in a business-related field combined with one of the following:
a. a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year college or university with a concentration in a business-related curriculum (accounting, finance, or business administration, etc.) including a minimum of 9 semester hours in accounting, or
b. a baccalaureate degree in a non-related concentration with a minimum of 24 semester hours of business-related courses, 18 hours of which must be in the courses specified in Section 2.2, or
c. a graduate degree in a business-related field, or
d. a Certified Public Accountant licensed in North Carolina.
Recommended College Curriculum:
The following college courses provide the basic competencies:
• Accounting Principles and Procedures
Principles of Accounting I and II
Accounting Systems and Internal Control
• Business Management Concepts and Practices
General Organizational Management
Business (or Organizational) Communications
Public School Finance Officer Certification Process:
Certification Process for School Finance Officer after June 30, 1986
a. A candidate for school finance officer after June 30, 1986, must meet the minimum requirements for the position as set forth under in the State Board of Education Policy (Section 2.1) and be certified by the State Board of Education.
b. A candidate must submit a college transcript, resume reflecting work history and letter of recommendation from the local superintendent to the Associate Superintendent of Financial and Business Services for review. If qualifications have been met, a recommendation is submitted to the State Board of Education for certification approval.
Certification after June 30, 1986 will no longer carry the designation of SFO I or SFO II, as all school finance officers employed and certified after this date must meet the requirements above.
Interim Finance Officer
It is the responsibility of the local administrative unit to obtain prior approval from the Associate State Superintendent for Financial and Business Services to appoint an interim finance officer. If a vacancy occurs in the position of finance officer in the local administrative unit, an interim finance officer may be appointed. The individual(s) serving as the interim finance officer must have a minimum of two years experience in public school finance. The interim finance officer position shall not exceed six months. If the six month period is exceeded DPI shall reduce the state Central Office Administrators allotment for the period of time a certified finance officer is not employed. This loss of allotment will be based on the amount paid to the previous certified finance officer, regardless of the funding source.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE):
a. All certified finance officers must complete 24 contact hours of approved CPE credits during each fiscal year. Any CPE hours earned in excess of the 24 hour requirement (up to a maximum of 24 hours) may be carried forward only to the next fiscal year.
b. It is the responsibility of the finance officer to complete 24 hours of approved CPE within each fiscal year. The Associate State Superintendent of Financial and Business Services will transmit an electronic report on CPE credit to each finance officer at least semi-annually reflecting credits applied for approved professional education participation. In addition, a monitoring/warning letter will be sent on March 31 to any finance officer who appears in danger of not meeting the 24-hour requirement by the end of the fiscal year.
If any finance officer fails to meet the requirement by the end of the fiscal year, and there are no approved extenuating circumstances, a warning letter will be sent on July 31 to both the finance officer and superintendent giving the finance officer one month to obtain required CPE credit. If the situation is still not rectified, letters will be sent on August 31 to the local board chairman, superintendent and finance officer as notification that state funds will be withheld. The amount to be withheld from the current year state Central Office Administrators allotment will be the finance officer’s salary cost for the entire time of non-compliance in the current fiscal year (regardless of the source of funding for the position). The Department of Public Instruction will require a refund from the LEA, if applicable, for up to one prior year’s cost of the non-compliance.
Once the CPE requirement is fulfilled, the current year state funding of the Central Office Administrators allotment will no longer be reduced in the amount of the finance officer’s salary cost, effective the month following compliance.
c. If a finance officer is unable to meet the requirement of 24 hours of CPE per year by fiscal year-end due to extenuating circumstances (such as an extended illness) as approved by the Associate State Superintendent of Financial and Business Services, the deadline will be extended for up to three months following year-end. It is the finance officer's responsibility to meet the requirement within this three-month period and submit documentation to DPI. If the finance officer does not meet the requirement by the end of this period, written notification will be sent to the superintendent and board chairman of the local school administrative unit, and the current year state Central Office Administrators allotment will be withheld from paying the finance officer's salary for the entire period of non-compliance (regardless of the source of funding for the position). Once the CPE requirement is fulfilled, the current year state funding of the Central Office Administrators allotment will no longer be reduced in the amount of the finance officer’s salary cost, effective the month following compliance.
d. A finance officer may receive CPE credit for classes taken for other related professional designations, such as for Certified Public Accountant. Except for classes arranged by NCASBO and DPI with various sponsors and presenters, it is the responsibility of the finance officer to submit the documentation for any class conducted by other sponsors. Acceptable documentation includes a certificate of completion, an attendance record, or a letter from the sponsor verifying the finance officer's attendance and CPE granted. A blank attendance form is provided following this policy and can be used when the sponsor of a class does not provide the aforementioned documentation. The form must be completed and signed by the sponsor or the instructor. Registration forms and class descriptions do not validate a finance officer's attendance in a class, but may be requested in addition to the certificate of completion.
Certificate Suspension and Revocation:
a. Upon presentation of evidence that a certified finance officer has demonstrated gross negligence or incompetence, the State Board of Education may place the individual on probationary status for up to one year. State funds shall not be used to support the position during the probationary period. Upon demonstrating satisfactory improvement in performance, the State Board of Education may reinstate an individual from probationary status.
b. In the event the State Board of Education considers the revocation of certification to be necessary, certificates may be revoked in the same manner and for the same reasons as set forth for other licensed professional staff members.
Continuing Education Attendance Report
(For Certified Finance Officers Only)
This form certifies the undersigned has completed, for the hours indicated, the course listed below.
Unit Name and Number
Instructor or Sponsor
Date of Attendance
Total Continuing Education Credit Hours
Relates to Standard #_______________
Instructor or Sponsor Signature
Sponsor Identification Number
NCASBO Executive Director
6609 Glendower Road, Raleigh, NC 27613
Include Documentation to Support Attendance