CPAexcel’s students learn from the top team of CPA Review Course Professors in the country. These professors author the content, deliver the lectures and mentor those students who have elected to receive Professor Mentoring services as part of their CPA Review Course. We decided to ask our CPA Review Course Professors a few fun questions to get to know them better. This week, we feature Dr. Charles Davis.

CPAexcel: What one thing do you wish all of your accounting students knew before coming into your class?

Dr. Davis: I wish my students at least knew the basics of the material to be covered each class period.  I constantly emphasize that if they are prepared and have read the material—at least have made a reasonable stab at it—then they would learn so much more and enjoy the class so much more.  In order to be mentally involved and engaged, the student must first have familiarized him/herself with the material.  If not, the class is a relatively passive experience.

CPAexcel: Which accounting topic do your students currently find the most challenging?

Dr. Davis: Accounting for leases with all the variations of residuals, purchase options, payment schedules, each requiring present value analysis, is the most challenging area I have encountered.

CPAexcel: What do you say to students who ask, “Why should I major in accounting?”

Dr. Davis: To have a tremendous variety of career options in a field that is both intellectually challenging and people-oriented.

CPAexcel: What’s the most enjoyable accounting concept to teach?

Dr. Davis: Accounting for pensions because it exemplifies so many theoretical concepts and also has several controversial issues—controversy always increases student interest.

CPAexcel: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the accounting teaching field during your career?

Dr. Davis: Two things:  (1) the huge increase in number and complexity of accounting standards requiring much more decision-making on the part of the professor as to coverage, and (2) the decline in student preparation—seems like they want to learn it all just by sitting through class.

CPAexcel: Does your family ask you to do their taxes?

Dr. Davis: Yes and I always decline because tax is not my specialty.  Some people not familiar with accounting seem to think all accountants are tax experts.

CPAexcel: What do you do for fun when not teaching? Or, how do you relax?

Dr. Davis: Bicycling, especially looking for new places to explore, and hiking either through the wilderness or through interesting cities are my favorite activities.  I would always rather exercise outside than in a gym which seems too much like work.

Bio Snapshot

California State University, Sacramento: Professor of Accounting


  • PhD., University of Illinois (1979)
  • Master degree, University of Illinois (1974)
  • Bachelor’s degree, University of Illinois (1972)

Professional Certifications

  • CPA

Areas of Interest

Teaching: Financial and managerial accounting, accounting information systems
Research: Most issues within financial accounting including standard setting, improvements in financial reporting, international accounting standards, and accounting aspects of information systems.

Dr. Davis is the recipient of university teaching awards for his courses in financial and managerial accounting. He also has taught at the University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, and Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration.

He is the faculty advisor to the MS Accountancy program at CBA. He has also taught in several educational and professional development programs including calculus for MBA students, CPA Review Courses, seminars for international groups from Russia, Turkmenistan, Latvia, and technical lectures in financial reporting for accounting professionals.

His research focuses on standard setting, improvements in financial reporting, international accounting standards, and forensic accounting. Dr. Davis currently serves as the faculty advisor to the MS Accountancy program at CSUS. He is a co-author for Intermediate Accounting published by McGraw-Hill Irwin and has “Big 4” experience. He has contributed many journal articles in accounting and other business subjects and continues to consult to the business community.

Dr. Davis has published in several domestic and international academic and professional journals in the area of accounting and health care finance. In addition, Dr. Davis is a co-author of Intermediate Accounting, published by McGraw-Hill (2002), a mainstream accounting text used by many universities in the US and internationally. Prof. Davis also has written several online accounting educational packages and has reviewed twelve academic accounting texts.

Dr. Davis has been involved in many consulting engagements in the area of financial reporting, real estate feasibility, EDP auditing and accounting systems, and has “Big Eight” accounting experience (now the ” Big Four”). He is the recipient of teaching awards at California State University, Sacramento and the University of Illinois.