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What is Accounting?

Two students talking with each other and walking up steps into the Price College of Business

Accounting is often described as the language of business. The function of accounting is to measure a company’s economic activities and communicate the results of those activities to decision makers. Sometimes, a decision maker is inside the company (for example, a manager at a coffee shop deciding how many pounds of coffee beans to buy or a restaurant manager considering where to open a new location), but some decision makers are external to the company (like an investor deciding whether or not to buy a particular stock or a bank deciding whether or not to give a company a loan). Either way, all of these decision makers rely on the information produced by accounting.

Accounting majors with an undergraduate degree are immediately employable at corporations, banks, government agencies, and small businesses. Other careers in Accounting require specialized state licenses that Accounting students obtain after completing a graduate degree or additional graduate courses. For example, many Accounting students become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) by completing additional coursework and passing the CPA examination after they graduate. (Learn more about CPA careers.) In addition, specialized credentials like Certified Fraud Examiner or Certified Financial Planner may be attractive to Accounting graduates who wish to enter certain professions. Also, an Accounting major is an excellent undergraduate degree for students who plan to go to law school or an MBA program. 

So, what's my degree?

An Accounting undergraduate student at the John T. Steed School of Accounting graduates with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

Students at OU also have the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in Accounting. The Steed School of Accounting offers both a Master of Accountancy degree to students who have already completed a Bachelor’s degree or an accelerated five-year BBA/MAcc degree program (Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Accounting and Master of Accountancy degree). For students interested in taking the CPA examination and starting their careers in public accounting, our five-year program is designed to ensure that students meet the CPA education requirements of most states, including Oklahoma and Texas. 

Do my interests fit?

Accounting students typically have interests in:

  • Financial/Data Analytics
  • Finance or Mathematics
  • Business or Business Consulting
  • Planning and Decision-making
  • Forensics/Fraud
  • Technical Communication

How can OU Accounting help me?

As one of only two Accounting schools in Oklahoma to receive separate accreditation from the AACSB, the Steed School of Accounting's mission is to lead the development and dissemination of accounting knowledge through research, education and service. The faculty in the nationally ranked John T. Steed School of Accounting includes award-winning teachers and recognized experts in current accounting research issues. These faculty give students a hands-on education that prepares them for successful careers. The average CPA pass rate of OU Accounting students is regularly at the top of the Big XII and well above the national average. The Steed School of Accounting has a long tradition of accounting success, as many of its graduates have gone on to become leaders in accounting and other business fields.

OU Accounting students are in high demand. Our annual career fair is regularly attended by top accounting employers from Oklahoma and Texas and offers nationwide opportunities. In addition to full-time positions after graduation, student internships are encouraged and regularly available as paid part-time or short-term positions. These internships give students the opportunity to receive college credit and learn more about the careers they will seek after graduation. Upon graduation, our students are well prepared to enter the job field or continue their education. Our placement in relevant graduate programs or full-time employment is consistently high for our BBA graduates and often near 100% for our BBA/MAcc graduates. 

How can I get involved? 

Join the OU chapter of Beta Alpha Psi. BAP is an international honor organization and is the primary campus student organization for Accounting majors. BAP holds regular events throughout the year offering informational, networking, and social opportunities for Accounting students. In addition, BAP sponsors a popular “Meet the Firms Night” each spring where Accounting majors interact with accounting recruiters in a casual environment.

Accounting students are also well-represented in premier Price College of Business student organizations like the JCPenney Leadership Center and the Student Business Association.

What courses will I take?

The Steed School of Accounting curriculum includes courses in financial accounting, cost accounting, taxation, auditing, and accounting information systems. As business majors, Accounting students also complete courses across other key complementary areas including finance, management information systems, management, and legal studies. Advanced accounting electives for graduate students incorporate data analytics, accounting theory, research techniques, and professional development. 

Wait, I can have a minor?

Accounting undergraduate students have the opportunity to minor in other Price College of Business areas or in various non-business programs. Typical minors for an Accounting student include:

View the full list of available minors.

How can I study abroad?

Many Accounting students study abroad. In addition to all OU campus-wide programs, there are a number of study abroad options sponsored by Price College that are designed to fit into Accounting students’ degree plans. Accounting students can explore Europe (including London, Brussels, and Edinburgh) through the International Financial Statement Analysis short program. Also, Accounting majors may join other business students in taking courses in accounting, finance, and entrepreneurship during a summer program at the Arezzo, Italy campus or can fulfill non-accounting business requirements in summer programs in Spain or France. Business electives programs are also open to Accounting students in Costa Rica and Asia. Visit the Steve Dolman Family Study Abroad Office website for the Price College to learn more about the many courses and locations available to business students.

What kind of career can I pursue?

  • Public Accounting: audit, tax, or consulting
  • Financial planning, estate management, or investment advising
  • Corporate or small business accounting, finance, or treasury
  • Risk management/controls auditing
  • Forensic accounting/fraud investigation

How much will I make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

Program Accreditation

The Michael F. Price College of Business has been accredited since 1926 by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The John T. Steed School of Accounting was the first school in Oklahoma to receive separate accounting accreditation from the AACSB and remains one of only two Oklahoma institutions holding separate accounting accreditation. The Steed School of Accounting offers accredited undergraduate, Masters (residential and online) and PhD programs.

Michael F. Price College of Business

OU School of Accounting
Phone: (405) 325-3611