INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—When Big Four accounting firm Deloitte Touche selected several professors from across the country to offer instruction at the firm’s Hyderabad, India location, among them was Bill Kulsrud, associate professor of accounting and the Katz, Sapper & Miller Faculty Fellow at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis.
“It was a terrific opportunity and turned out to be an eye-opening experience,” said Kulsrud, who has provided continuing education to Deloitte employees for many years.
Deloitte has a substantial presence in India and is growing rapidly, according to Kulsrud, who points out that Deloitte and other national accounting firms such as Ernst and Young, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and KPMG are expanding their practices.
“The demand for global tax services is strong,” he said. “Companies all over the world need to understand the tax environment in which they operate and plan accordingly.”
For three weeks last spring, Kulsrud taught 35 Indian students lessons in U.S. tax. In order to serve international clients, firms must have employees with diverse skills.
“Deloitte’s objective was to give their Indian students the same experience that a U.S. student would have in a tax class in the U.S.,” said Kulsrud. “Essentially, they wanted to duplicate the experience.
“They train their employees and then they move into positions where they may do U.S. tax as well as taxes from around the world,” he explained. “It’s not much different than saying, ‘I’m going to become an expert in California taxation.’ I don’t necessarily have to be in the State of California to become an expert.”
Deloitte invited Kulsrud to teach again next year. He is grateful to have the opportunity to teach accounting in the second most populated country in the world.
“India is a fascinating country and, in contrast to Europe, so much different than the U.S. I would encourage everyone to put it on their top ten places to visit. On the teaching front, what I did wasn’t much different than what I would do in an undergraduate class here. It’s just a different culture. Unfortunately, my jokes didn’t translate very well,” he laughed.
During his visit, Kulsrud was able to see some of the well-known landmarks. “Everyone says you must go to the Taj Majal, so I went. It was nothing short of incredible. However, the drive from Delhi to Agra was almost as interesting as you see almost every mode of transportation known to mankind—from people pulling carts to sacred cows wandering the highway. Amazing.”
Kulsrud also visited the India School of Business.
“It’s much like an MBA program we offer here,” he recalled. “They go about it in a very similar fashion. Some basic things are different; almost all their undergraduate degrees are three-year degrees. They often earn their MBAs in the fourth year, in a one-year program.”
Kulsrud is the faculty chair of the Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) and Master of Science in Taxation (MST) programs at Kelley Indianapolis. He helped create both programs, the latter of which is the only one of its kind in the State of Indiana.