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Les Merritt

Les Merritt

Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Plannerâ„¢

Les Merritt is a life-long resident of North Carolina who became the first Republican challenger to defeat an incumbent Democrat on North Carolina’s Council of State. Les is a certified public accountant, a certified financial planner and holds the Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 securities registrations. Additionally, he is the first CPA to serve as state auditor. Prior to being elected state auditor, he served as president of Merritt, Petway, Mills and Hockaday, an accounting and auditing firm with offices in Zebulon and Raleigh. Les was Wake County Commissioner from 1994-1998 and served on the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors. He is the past president of the Zebulon Elementary School PTA, Zebulon Rotary Club and Zebulon Lions Club.


  • B.A. in Accounting, 1979, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.
  • B.A. in Economics, 1974, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.


  • State Auditor of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C. (January 2005 – January 2009)
    • First CPA elected to serve as State Auditor of North Carolina.
    • Managed an agency with more than 200 employees.
    • Member, North Carolina Council of State.
    • Member, Local Government Commission.
    • Worked to transform the Office of the State Auditor into a more pro-active agency.
    • Increased the Office of the State Auditor’s emphasis on performance audits by 50%.
    • Reduced a backlog of unfinished investigative audits, some more than three years old, by 76%.
    • Launched a new Investigative Task Force to expose fraud, waste and abuse in state government.
    • Created a new initiative that trained more than 12,000 personnel from state-funded non-profit and other grant recipients on compliance and reporting issues.
    • Developed a new, innovative “strategic auditing” process to help identify unusual trends and potential problems in state spending. The strategic auditing process uses existing hardware, software and skills in the Information System Auditing Division to analyze millions of state transactions in a pro-active manner.
    • Launched a new initiative in January 2008 to follow up with previously audited agencies to ensure that they are making needed changes.
  • President/Partner, Privately Held Accounting Firms, 1984-2005
    • Worked directly on hundreds of audits.
    • Personal and business income tax preparation.
    • Estate and financial planning advice and services.


  • Bob Privette, CPA, 1982-1984
  • McGladrey & Pullen (formerly Lowrimore Warrick & Co.), Wilmington, N.C., 1979-1982

Bank Management

  • Central Carolina Bank, 1974-1977

Certifications / Registrations

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA), 1981-present
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP), 1988-present
  • Series 7 Securities Registration
  • Various Insurance Licenses

Community Leadership

  • Wake County Commissioner, 1994-1998
  • Zebulon Elementary School PTA, Past President.
  • Zebulon Rotary Club, Past President
  • Zebulon Lions Club, Past President
  • Zebulon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (1990’s)
  • Zebulon Baptist Church, former Deacon